Noelle and Chris are chit-chatting on a bunch of different topics on this episode of Taylor Talk. Amazon prep services for FBA, the future of eCommerce, and helping feed the Cincinnati community with an excellent local nonprofit Last Mile Food Rescue. There’s also a new segment called “Corporate Chris,” where Chris breaks down his least favorite corporate email phrases. Want to be on an episode or have a topic you want our team to cover? Email us email@example.com. Listen now here!
Last Mile Food Rescue!
If you’re in the Cincinnati area, please look at the fantastic work Last Mile Food Rescue is doing to help out the community. Have 90 minutes, a car and a drive to make a change? Download our app and sign up to rescue perfectly good food from ending up in landfills and transport it to one of our nonprofit partners that fight food insecurity in our Greater Cincinnati community. Download the Last Mile app on iOS or Android and discover what happens when you go the mile. Last Mile Food Rescue Website.
Before any big race, you’ve got to prepare, right? From mile training, getting the perfect shoes, hydration, setting up a fire playlist, to resting preparation is critical! While we aren’t a team of runners (some of us do run the occasional marathon) ready to race, we’re a team of Amazon FBA prep experts. We are here to ensure your brand meets all FBA requirements before shipping to an Amazon fulfillment center. There’s a lot that goes into making sure your products, pallets, labeling, etc., are all up to Amazon standards. That’s why teaming up with a partner like Taylor that lives, breathes, and practices Amazon requirements so that your orders will be correct every time.
Taylor’d Prep Services
Labeling (FNSKU, expiration, etc.)
Bundling single items into Amazon “sold as set” multipacks
This award recognizes outstanding executives whose accomplishments leverage supply chains for competitive advantage
Fort Atkinson, WI — March 17, 2021 — Supply & Demand Chain Executive, the only publication covering the entire global supply chain, announces the winners of its 2021 Pros to Know award.
This award recognizes outstanding executives whose accomplishments offer a roadmap for other leaders looking to leverage supply chain for competitive advantage. This year’s list includes individuals and teams from software and service providers, consultancies and academia, trucking and transportation firms, professional development agencies, sourcing and procurement divisions, and more, all who have helped supply chain clients and the supply chain community at large prepare to meet many of today’s—and tomorrow’s—challenges.
“While many companies have struggled to re-gain their footing as a result of COVID-19, this year’s Pros to Know winners stepped up to the plate to deliver innovative solutions and programs in a time of crisis and need. These winners collaborated, optimized, developed, educated and played a critical role in the survival and success of their company amid a global pandemic,” says Marina Mayer, Editor-in-Chief of Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Food Logistics. “I am honored to recognize these individuals and teams, and extend my utmost gratitude to everyone in the supply chain industry for their time, efforts and innovations to keep our nation’s supply chains afloat.”
Go to www.sdcexec.com to view the full list of all 2021 Pros to Know winners.
About Supply & Demand Chain Executive
Supply & Demand Chain Executive is the only supply chain publication covering the entire global supply chain, focusing on trucking, warehousing, packaging, procurement, risk management, professional development and more. Go to www.SDCExec.com.
At Taylor, we know your products have important places to be, like a child’s 5th birthday, signing the papers for a new car, running a marathon, or happy hour. We’re here to help make sure they get there, from getting your products to Whole Foods or Ralphs to creating multipacks so people can enjoy more of your brand. We help brands explode & we go where you need us.
Noelle and Chris are back on the pod talking all things grocery and CPG trends. From which pandemic-related consumer behaviors are temporary vs. here to stay to the future of national grocery chains. Not to mention they talk groundhogs (yep), Kim Kardashian, and the NY Mets. Want to be on the next episode or have a topic you like us to cover? Inbox us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a west coast based brand? Maybe you’re in California soaking up the sun or Portland, Seattle even? San Fransisco, we see you! While the west coast may be the best, and we aren’t even on a coast there is one thing the midwest has over the west coast. No, it’s not an abundance of corn. It’s actually the perfect place for your brand’s supply chain. Crazy right? Don’t believe us or need more convincing? Watch the below video!
Last week, our Monroe teams underwent their 5th Safe Quality Foods audit scoring a 98% up from the 97% they achieved in 2020. This is an outstanding accomplishment, and we appreciate the dedication to food safety and food quality. A special kudos to Shaun Fehr, Deidra Gunner, Jeffery Godfrey, Jerod Brewer, Edward Gibson, Elias Wesler, Ronnie Zak, Liz Switzer, Stephen Hannah, and the entire Monroe team! During a pandemic, too, which is excellent! We will be adding yet another championship banner.
What is SQF?
The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a rigorous and credible food safety and quality program recognized by retailers, brand owners, and food service providers worldwide. Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the SQF family of food safety and quality codes are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all food supply chain sectors – from the farm to retail stores. This rigorous farm-to-fork food safety and quality certification also help food producers assure their buyers that their food products meet the highest possible global food safety standards.
Why is SQF important for your brand?
This farm-to-fork food safety and quality certification helps food producers assure their buyers that food products have been grown, processed, prepared, and handled according to the highest possible global food safety standards. It can immediately improve your standing in the eyes of new partners and deals. For everyone at Taylor, this achievement is an excellent validation of our hard work and our team’s commitment to safe food operations. For you, it means increased protection in the event of recalls, improved operational efficiencies in our work together, managed risks, and peace of mind with certified due diligence.
Are you looking for a potential fulfillment partner? Choosing a 3PL is like finding a new business partner. The company you pick can make – or break – your business. It’s critical to find a fulfillment company that offers the services you need. Click the guide below for questions to ask when searching for a new partner so that all of your needs are met.
The decision to change your third-party logistics provider (3PL) provider can be a time-sensitive process that requires a lot of consideration and planning. It can be an excellent move that will help grow and push your business forward. We’re covering everything you need to know for a seamless transition!
When is it time to switch?
Are your customers receiving damaged products? If your current provider is messing up orders in any capacity, this can significantly impact your reputation. We absolutely do not want that; it’s time to change!
Think about all that’s changed in the past couple of years; TikTok has taken over; consumers expect one-day delivery, and we can purchase anything from our phones. Can your 3PL keep up with the constant shift? Suppose your fulfillment provider hasn’t improved or expanded their technology, operations, or facilities since you started working with them. In that case, they might not be thinking ahead. It’s time to change!
Has your business significantly grown? It’s critical to find a team that will scale with your business. If your current 3PL can no longer handle the volume, it could be time to switch.
Do you feel like you have a reliable team that understands your specific business needs and will jump through hurdles for your business? You need that person you can text at any time of the day, even though they are in an entirely different time zone—a person who knows the ins-and-outs of your products, your brand, and your mission. A team that can collaborate to solve and issues that might arise. If you don’t have this kind of support system, it might be time to switch.
When should you make a change?
When changing providers, it’s wise to consider the timing of the transition. Many merchants search for a new provider to coincide with starting a new calendar or fiscal year. Ideally, switching during a quiet period operationally is best. It can also be helpful to transition to a new provider before adding a new product line or entering a new market. If your needs truly aren’t being met, then switch now!
At Taylor, we helped hundreds of brands throughout the past challenging year with capacity, resources, expertise, and solutions to better their business. In 2020, we remained agile, kept operations moving with a record volume of orders, and all while keeping our team safe. Specifically, Team Taylor:
Kept all fulfillment centers open and operating safely
We are saying goodbye to 2020 with a look back at the past 12 months. This year was unlike any other; we couldn’t have done it without our outstanding and resilient team and our customers’ support. This year’s Wrapped covers everything from new safety precautions, a record for direct to consumer orders, and miles covered by our brokerage team. Goodbye, 2020 & Happy and healthy New Year! View our yearly company report here: https://info.taylorlogistics.com/taylor-logistics-2020-in-review-wrapped
When you win a championship, sometimes you get a ring, and sometimes you get a banner in the stadium to showcase your winnings. At Taylor, we go the banner route; we’re proud to showcase our success in the championship of food safety, SQF audits.
What is an SQF Certification?
SQF stands for safe, quality food. It’s an internationally recognized system designed and administered by the SQF Institute. The institute sets the standards for companies in the foodservice industry. They’re designed to keep food production and preparation safe.
What are SQF Standards?
These are standards put in place to ensure that companies manage food safety risks appropriately. A company may apply for certification as a way to assure clients that they are practicing good hygiene and handling food correctly.
Basic food hygiene, like workers washing their hands before handling the food, make the world safer for all of us.
What are the SQF Levels?
There are three levels in total:
Level 1: This applies in cases where there are fewer risks, and it is the most basic level.
Level 2: Here, they set more rigorous standards. GFSI has created the benchmarks. Level 2 is a food safety plan that is HACCP certified.
Level 3: This is the highest standard and includes the same processes as Level 2. It’s a more comprehensive application of the rules.
Talk With Taylor
Our SQF-certified warehouses are the perfect place to store your food product while you’re waiting for orders to come in. When you make a sale, it’s already here, and we’re ready to ship it for you. Talk with our team today!
Raise your hand if you have an Amazon Prime account? Oh wow, 150 million hands raised? In the 25 years since Amazon was launched, it has become a household name, and is the biggest eCommerce site in the world. Having your products sold on Amazon immensely increases your audience. Amazon allows sellers to fulfill orders themselves or let Amazon handle fulfillment. Let’s dive into your options as an Amazon seller.
Lot’s of Acronyms to Digest When Talking Amazon Shipping; Let’s Break it Down:
Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)
Self-fulfilled order processing route, like Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM)
Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
What is Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)?
FBA means Fulfilled by Amazon, you sell it and Amazon ships it.
The seller sends bulk products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers for Amazon to pick, pack, and ship products once sold.
What is Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM)?
Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant is a fulfillment method in which an Amazon seller is responsible for fulfilling its products purchased on Amazon.
FBM can be more cost-effective if you can ship orders for a more sensible price compared to what FBA will charge by using your delivery partners and network, or your 3PL’s network.
FBM is a great Amazon seller shipping option it allows you the freedom to run your business as you like in terms of scalability, fulfillment methods, and inventory level control.
What is Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)?
Similar to FBM, you store, pick, pack, and ship your products to the customers yourself and handle all communications with the customer.
However, this shipping option also allows you access to prime customers, competing with businesses that pay the enormous fees for FBA.
SFP is ideal for sellers who have warehouse space and staff that can handle the order fulfillment or companies with a 3PL that can offer scalability and flexibility. To be successful as an SFP seller, you need to make sure that it would be more profitable for you than FBA or FBM.
Becoming an SFP seller streamlines your fulfillment process as you only need to manage inventory in your warehouses, instead of managing that inventory as well as additional inventory in Amazon’s warehouses.
Partnering With A 3PL | Amazon Fulfillment
Have experience with the program. Dealing with SFP requirements can be difficult.
Your 3PL should have advanced software that integrates directly with Amazon and gives you real-time visibility into order status and metrics.
You need a 3PL who is focused on customer service. Putting your SFP reputation into someone else’s hands is a leap of faith. Make sure you pick a partner who’s on your side, 100%.
Amazon Solutions Experts
Our team knows that all of the Amazon seller shipping options can be complicated and overwhelming. It can be challenging to decide which option is best for your business, especially when one option doesn’t fit all. It depends on the product you are selling, fulfillment capabilities, profit margins, and more. Our team knows how to meet Amazon’s stringent requirements for whichever option you choose. We have the solutions to help you scale your business, and we have the technology to execute the specifications for any Amazon shipment.
Talk With Taylor
Remember, the holiday season is around the corner. If you don’t have your fulfillment partner in place soon, you could be left out in the cold. Contact us today, and leave Black Friday and Cyber Monday to us. Fill out the form below and we will be in touch ASAP!
As a supplier or manufacturer, you may need to manage regular demand, seasonal spikes, and special promotions with strategies that allow you to meet your customer’s in-store requirements without burdening your inventory pipeline. Custom displays, created in the warehouse just before shipping, are a proven working strategy. Not only do custom displays help with your inventory pipeline, but they are an essential marketing tool for several suppliers on retail floors.
A lot of displays have come through Taylor’s facilities across a variety of industries and a wide range of customers. From temporary projects to those that are more permanent, and they range in size from large pallet and floor displays to small counter-top displays. To evolve with special project demands, Taylor has launched a new team, the ISDT team or In-Store Design Team. This newly organized unit was created to be solely designated to the operation and building of point-of-purchase (POP) display units.
Along with the creation of the ISDT, Taylor offers other unique warehousing and fulfillment capabilities. Taylor has created a non-siloed operation system comprised of top of the line logistics services for their customers. Taylor’s transportation group, in alignment with their brokerage department, can manage inbound and outbound transportation using the most efficient modes. Taylor aligns all processes with design and technology allowing them to be there for you throughout the entire process to the retailer.
The COVID-19 Crisis has highlighted the importance of keeping preparedness supplies on hand for future emergencies. Taylor’s network allows us to reach 70% of healthcare providers in the United States within 24 hours from our 400,000 square feet of warehousing space.
Shipping Solutions That Fit Your Needs
Low Unit of Measure shipping (LUM) provides PPE customers with products in the lowest unit of measure—typically an “each.” This shipping method is for clients that want to decrease total supply chain costs by having orders picked and packed for a specific location.
Taylor recognizes its critical role in the healthcare supply chain during crises such as natural disasters and pandemics. To prepare for an emergency or disaster, our team will help to develop a plan for emergency orders, prepare surplus stock items, and determine pre-approval for substitutions for critical supplies and custom packaging and kitting.
Full Suite Of Values Added Services Ready To Assist
The opportunity in food and beverage eCommerce is vast from convenient access to a wide selection of products to subscription-based services. To excel in this complex environment, retailers and food and beverage companies need to improve their eCommerce fulfillment capabilities. Here are some things to consider when venturing the eCommerce landscape.
Optimize Distribution Network
For efficient eCommerce fulfillment, products should be positioned as close to your customers as possible. Strategically located fulfillment centers can help to reduce transit costs and transit time. Utilizing two or more centrally located distribution centers can help meet consumers’ delivery expectations – often using two-day ground service.
Leverage Valued-Added Services
As in any industry, value-added services can offer many benefits for the manufacturer, retailer, and consumer. For the food and beverage companies, seasonal or promotional kitting, subscription boxes, and custom pallet displays can diversify your product offerings and increase sales.
Anticipate Space and Staffing Needs
eCommerce order fulfillment typically demands three times the labor of conventional warehousing operations. It’s crucial to plan accordingly to ensure capacity for maximum potential volume.
With inventory distributed across multiple locations, it is critical to understand where products are and how they move. A comprehensive view of stock across all fulfillment locations, physical stores, warehouses, vendors, and in transit is critical for optimizing your eCommerce. Since inventory must be immediately available and accessible, it is vital to identify fast-moving items to prevent stock-outs and back-ordered items. Not to mention if a product is out of stock in one location, having a single inventory view helps determine another potential source from which to fulfill orders.
How can we help?
Food and beverage eCommerce comes with an added layer of complexity. That’s why so many food and beverage companies turn to tech-enabled solutions partner like Taylor to help with eCommerce fulfillment and logistics. Here’s how our solutions can help your company:
SQF-Certified Fulfillment Centers
A benefit of outsourcing your fulfillment to Taylor is working with a company that already holds a Safe Quality Foods certification. Taylor has a network of SQF-certified fulfillment centers granting our teams as food safety experts.
Established Distribution Network
Ready access to our conveniently situated facilities moves products closer to end customers to save time and money.
With flexible staffing and food-grade warehouse space, Taylor can accommodate fluctuating order volumes without a permanent overhead investment.
Taylor offers more food and beverage supply chain solutions that just fulfillment. Utilizing our multiple service offerings can help increase efficiency and streamline your processes.
Taylor’s warehouse management system and fulfillment automation allow us to provide real-time visibility, efficient order routing, and better accuracy. Our WMS also integrates with several eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce.
As we continue to see an increase in food and beverage eCommerce businesses and as more consumers begin relying on eCommerce food and drink deliveries, optimizing your supply chain is becoming more important than ever before.
Talk With Taylor
Learn how our solutions teams can help your food and beverage eCommerce while you grow your business. Fill out the form below:
When you know how shipping zones fit into your order fulfillment plan, it can help you better understand how they transform shipping costs and delivery time. Determine whether you can offer customers affordable shipping options and what you’d have to do to make that possible. See how much of an impact shipping zones have on your company’s profit and take significant steps to reduce shipping costs. In this blog, we’ll start by explaining what shipping zones are and then dig deeper to see why they’re essential in eCommerce order fulfillment.
First things first! What are shipping zones?
Shipping zones are the geographic areas that carriers ship to, ranging from Zone 1 to Zone 8 for domestic shipments within the United States. Shipping carriers use shipping zones to measure the distance a package travels – from the point of origin to the destination. The location from which an order is shipped is the point of origin and located in Zone 1. The address it’s shipped to is the destination zone. The destination zone number will depend on how far it is from the point of origin, with Zone 8 being the farthest away.
Most shipping carriers determine shipping zones based on the distance from where the package is shipped from, to the destination:
Shipping Zones Calculated
Shipping zones are calculated based on where a package is shipped from. Meaning that two separate points of origin shipping to the same destination can often be shipped to different zones. Tools for determining shipping zones for your orders:
USPS Domestic Zone Chart: Go to the tab “Get Zone for ZIP Code Pair.” Then enter the zip code you’re mailing from and the zip code you’re mailing to, and you will get the shipping zone for your destination.
FedEx Zone List – Select “Yes” & “Domestic” when generating a rate sheet. Enter the zip code of origin. Choose the shipping service type, whether that’s Same Day, 2-Day or Ground. Download the zone chart to Excel.
How does increasing the number of fulfillment centers affect shipping zones?
If a company distributes its products across multiple fulfillment centers that are geographically close to its customers, it can reduce the amount of time in transit for many of their orders.
Strategic Fulfillment Warehouse Locations
If you ship a high volume of products, it might make sense to place your inventory in many warehouses around the US. The amount you save by reducing the number of shipping zones could be substantial. Many eCommerce businesses would be stretched thin by the need to stock several warehouses when having multiple fulfillment centers. By choosing strategic fulfillment warehouse locations, you can place your products within a few zones of your customers. At the same time, you can get within a two-day delivery range for most of your customers. Did you know Cincinnati is one of the ideal locations for an eCommerce operation? Learn more here.
Talk With Taylor
Taylor Logistics is a technology-focused automated order fulfillment provider. We use powerful analytic tools that help route each order to the fulfillment center that is closest to the end destination. There are many benefits to working with a 3PL if you are seeking logistics support, we’d love to hear from you. Chat with us!
Last month three of Taylor’s fulfillment centers underwent an extensive Safe Quality Food (SQF) audit. The results are outstanding with our team in Bellevue having 100% on their first-ever SQF audit and our team in Monroe with 97% at both locations. An exceptional job by all members of Team Taylor. We appreciate your expertise and knowledge of food safety practices.
The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a rigorous and credible food safety and quality program recognized by retailers, brand owners, and foodservice providers worldwide. Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the SQF family of food safety and quality codes are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain – from the farm all the way to the retail stores. This rigorous farm-to-fork food safety and quality certification also helps food producers assure their buyers that their food products meet the highest possible global food safety standards.
Achieving SQF certification is a testament to your hard work. It is also a credible demonstration of your commitment to food safety – something that will help your team and your customers sleep better at night.
For eCommerce startups, fulfillment strategy is a shifting target. If you start small, your first warehouse could be your garage or even a spare bedroom. As you grow, you might rent warehouse space and hire staff to pick, pack, and ship your orders. Eventually, you’ll probably outsource your storage and shipping to a third-party logistics provider.
When you choose your fulfillment provider, an important consideration is the location. You need fulfillment warehouses close enough to your customers to get your products delivered quickly. But you don’t want to spread your products among too many warehouses, or your inventory cost can go up. Here is a guide to help you develop your fulfillment warehouse plan.
Where Are Your Customers?
The strategy for where to locate your eCommerce fulfillment will largely depend on where your customers are. Map where your eCommerce orders are being delivered. Are your customers centered in certain areas or spread out evenly across the country? Answers to these questions will help you determine the best fulfillment warehouse locations for your business.
We’re in the age of two-day shipping to even the same day in a lot of our nation’s cities. If your e-commerce site delivers through Amazon or eBay or competes with those platforms, fast delivery is a must. eCommerce is moving closer to offering consumers the satisfaction of getting a purchase right away. As usual, Amazon leads the trend with one-day and even same-day shipping. In the future, an Amazon drone may drop off your purchase within a couple of hours.
Our Location Strategy
At Taylor, we’ve established our warehouses and fulfillment centers in the prime area of Cincinnati, Ohio. The strategic placement of our warehouses and fulfillment centers allows us access to large and rapidly-growing consumer and customer bases. The proximity of the many interstates and expressways branching from the city of Cincinnati is incredibly advantageous for moving both national and international freight. 70% of the US population is less than 24 hours’ drive.
Cincinnati has three interstate highway systems I-75, I-74, and I-71 as well as two interstate connectors I-275 and I-471
Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is a key cargo destination with nine carriers
Amazon’s Prime Air Hub is located at CVG
Cincinnati is the nation’s largest inland port handling 220 million tons of cargo per year
Talk with Taylor
Fulfillment may not be the most exciting part of your eCommerce business plan, but it’s one of the most important. When your e-commerce supply chain is running smoothly, so is your business. Please chat with us today!
As businesses and operations scale, they need to examine the accuracy of their inventory management and forecasting processes. Demand forecasting goes beyond simple estimates of product demand, looking into intricate patterns overtime to produce more accurate and timely predictions. Through better demand, an organization will be able to manage inventory better, increase revenue, and improve customer support. As businesses and processes scale, they need to investigate the accuracy of their inventory management and forecasting processes.
What is Inventory Forecasting?
Inventory forecasting involves mapping and maintaining stock levels required to complete customer orders. You do this by estimating how many products you’re likely to sell over a specific period. Managers use past sales data – taking into account future promotional campaigns, various external factors, and holiday items – to accurately predict inventory levels.
Advantages of Forecasting in the Supply Chain
Current forecasting technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help companies plan. Instead of having to adjust your inventory based on customer needs manually, you can use past samples of inventory data to determine consumer demand patterns. Even models such as holiday purchasing can be accounted for, helping modify your projected demand based on previous years as well as current market trends. It can be challenging to perform such forecasting manually, as large amounts of data need to be taken into account. A specific product or SKU may presently be in decline but may see a boost every holiday season. A manual or traditional model of inventory management may be limited to the past few months, and therefore recommend that you cut back on supply. An inventory management system digs deeper and will realize that the product’s demand will likely boost during the holiday season even though it’s currently in decline. While a business owner will be able to recognize these types of trends over their highest profit or most notable items, it’s unlikely that they will be able to notice those trends over hundreds or thousands of inventory items—and that could result in lost revenue. Advanced forecasting makes it possible to capture these insights, even over the most significant amounts of inventory and particularly complex inventory chains.
Talk With Taylor
Don’t turn a blind eye to inventory forecasting. Without proper inventory management, you could miss on the many cost-saving opportunities and benefits that come with inventory forecasting and supply chain management. Talk with Taylor today!
The beauty industry is a $532 billion sector of the economy that is experiencing rapid growth. This increase is mainly due to the rise of e-commerce and omni-channel sales, with projections reaching $390 billion globally by 2024, according to Forbes. From a vast number of SKUs with LOT tracking requirements to hazardous goods storage and handling compliance standards to shipping bulk orders to big-box retailers to the demands of B2C e-commerce, order fulfillment has never been more critical to one of the fast-growing and most competitive industries. A qualified third-party logistics company can utilize its warehouse network, technology, and transactional cost models to provide effective fulfillment solutions to health and beauty brands.
Compliance and Experience
Unlike technology products, which may only launch a new product one time a year, cosmetic brands usually release new products seasonally, plus exclusive holiday campaign products. Meaning you have a tight margin for keeping your customers happy without being left with an excess of out-of-style inventory. Understanding what is required in each stage of the fulfillment process and your precise brand needs should be a top priority. Due to the purpose and composition of these products, your logistics partner must have the appropriate local, state, and federal licenses, permits, certifications, training, and facility infrastructure to store, handle and ship health and beauty items correctly. Accurate, efficient, and reliable fulfillment and delivery are essential in maintaining the integrity of your brand in this fast-growing industry.
Inventory Management & Visibility
Products need to be ready to ship at the right time; brands and their 3PL partner need to think about the future. As stated earlier, health & beauty companies and their growing revenues show that demand is being generated, typically through new products and consumer trends. Brands want to make sure their products are readily available while they’re still popular. It’s this constant battle between supply and demand. A 3PL can make sure a company’s inventory remains uncontaminated and relevant once a company has developed its inventory. The best part is that the right 3PL can track all aspects of the supply chain in real-time. With reliable transportation and fulfillment, a 3PL partnership will make a cosmetics brand inventory much more manageable.
Are you thinking about partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) company? If you are new to outsourcing fulfillment, what goes on in warehouses and fulfillment centers may seem daunting. But the fulfillment process doesn’t have to be such a mystery! Our team is taking a look at the journey of an order through 3PL fulfillment.
Your 3PL can’t ship orders if they don’t have your inventory! The receiving of your product is one of the top warehousing operations that must happen before your 3PL can start fulfilling orders for your online store. Receiving refers to the acceptance of incoming inventory, followed by its storage. Once your 3PL receives the products, they store your items in warehouses and fulfillment centers. Each SKU has a separate dedicated storage location, either on a racking shelf, in a bin, or on a pallet.
The fulfillment process begins once your customer places an order. As soon as an order is sent to your 3PL through their WMS, it is assigned to the picking team. Using the most efficient picking pattern, the picker receives a picking list of items, quantities, and storage locations at the facility to collect the order products from their respective areas. 3PLs understand that your goal is to minimize cost per order for fulfillment services. The picked items for each order are scanned and set aside for packaging.
After the picker has collected all the products for the order, it’s time to get them securely packed up and ready for shipping. Items are compiled and placed – along with dunnage and any other extra materials – into the appropriate box or bag. The printed shipping label is then affixed. Take place at this stage to ensure what was ordered is what was picked. Checks include order accuracy, packaging appropriateness, and labeling accuracy.
You may rely on your 3PL to manage parcel shipping on your behalf; if your volumes are modest, there could be a significant cost advantage to shipping under your 3PLs negotiated agreements with carriers. The 3PL will negotiate rates based on its aggregate volume across many different clients.
While these are the primary functions of online order fulfillment, just about every aspect of the process is customizable. Many 3PLs offer additional value-added services such as kitting and packaging.
Your 3PL Provider
Learn more about how partnering with Taylor can help your business scale and how their non-siloed operation system, which is comprised of top-of-the-line logistics services, can help your supply chain.
Gathering the right data and calculating the right key performance indicators (KPI) is a no-brainer when it comes to improving fulfillment operations. KPIs help to identify bottlenecks, plan out warehouse operations, and measure overall customer satisfaction. If you partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to outsource order fulfillment, they should be instrumental in helping establish relevant key performance indicators and provide you with detailed reports. Whether the goal is to improve efficiency, reduce delivery time, or increase levels of customer satisfaction, there is an appropriate metric to measure progress and performance. The next question is what specific fulfillment metrics you should put in place to enable further discussion, which is what we’ll look at next.
On-Time Shipping Percentage: This refers to the percentage of orders which are shipped on time. Because as many as 70% of customers are less likely to shop with a retailer who does not meet the promised delivery window, this is a significant number to track.
Total Order Cycle Time: This refers to the average processing time from the moment a customer places an order to the moment that it is shipped. It includes all processes that fall within that window. As customers become more and more accustomed to same- and next-day delivery options, understanding how your operation performs and how you can improve your performance matters.
Internal Order Cycle Time: This specifically refers to the amount of time that it takes for your operation to process an order internally. Measuring the moment an order is released into the warehouse for processing to the moment that it is shipped.
Perfect Order Percentage: Perfect order percentage looks at several different metrics to determine what percentage of orders damage-free, ship on-time, complete, and with correct documentation. By understanding your perfect order percentage, you can take action to improve your order accuracy and other pain-points within your operation.
Take note of what’s coming into your warehouse—if you don’t account for what’s coming in, it’s impossible to be accurate about what’s leaving. Specific KPI’s for inbound metrics include:
Inbound orders received
It’s all about ensuring a quick turnaround from receiving your products to shipping them off to where their destination. This is where contract packaging services come in to play for your warehouse. Specific KPI’s for outbound metrics include:
Orders picked per hour
Lines picked per hour
Outbound order fulfillment
Taking stock of pertinent financial metrics can make all the difference when it comes to determining your long-term strategy. Make sure that you’re cutting lesser-valued services and streamlining your operations where you can. Specific KPI’s for financial metrics include:
Distribution costs (as a sales percentage and per unit shipped)
Omnichannel distribution is a multichannel approach taken by companies to give customers a way to purchase and receive orders from several sales channels with one-touch seamless integration. Omnichannel solutions provide seamless integration across all channels to provide a superior customer service experience. For example, giving consumers the flexibility to ship items from e-commerce sites to their homes or stores, which then creates supply chains that have strategic value, improving sales, and encouraging repeat purchases among consumers. Below are three beneficial omnichannel marketplace strategies in distribution and fulfillment.
In the omnichannel sphere, shipments from store locations are sometimes required to protect the quality of the customer experience. But every item that is shipped from a retail location depletes that store’s inventory and places additional strain on brick-and-mortar operations.
Omnichannel success begins by creating a unique view of stock across all stores and distribution centers. To satisfy customer needs, retailers must quickly deliver merchandise to customers—regardless of where those customers make their purchases.
Omnichannel return experiences require retailers to support returns at any location. So, regardless of where the order originated, you need a logistics strategy that allows your customers to return the merchandise at retail locations as well as distribution centers.
Over the past couple of weeks, our operations, IT, and superuser teams have been working vigorously to transition five distribution centers into e-commerce centers. This was a massive undertaking for our team because; e-commerce granted customers can break open cases, which was an entirely new process for us. Unlike a traditional brick in mortar stores that orders everything in cases, e-commerce customers like Amazon order everything in eaches, which means that we had to completely update every item in all five warehouses to handle both eaches and cases. Due to the different variables, our team also had to update all the quantities, volumes, weight, etc. to reflect the each or case. On October 12th, after a bunch of testing from our warehouse management system partner Zethcon our warehouses went live as e-commerce centers.
Systematically with this new change, our team was able to achieve:
Sending the ASNs to all customers no matter in which way they ordered in the UOMs that they want BOLs & packing lists are in the customer ordered UOM.
We are able to send a UPS tracking number with the order number to the customers that placed an order online.
We are able to pick all orders no matter the UOM and have it make sense to the picker.
Not for resale sticker communication to the picker when applicable for parcel orders.
Worldship integration with Zethcon’s WMS Synapse and more.
Our superuser team Scott Dowers & Nina Wilson exceeded all expectations by trial and error testing as well as SOP creation. Without help from their training program, the transition would not have gone so smoothly. Our EDI provider, Pinnacle, was also enormous as we had to re-write every single map. Not to mention, our operations Managers Randy Newman & Shaun Fehr, created packout lines that are running extremely efficiently.
One of our DC’s was able to ship out 175 parcel orders right after the implementation. Another special shout out to Jeffrey Godfrey & Jerod Brewer, who is leading the way for this implementation. Mitchell Blake & Tina Myers are fixing IC issues right on the spot, and with these changes, we see fewer and fewer errors. An outstanding effort from everyone on Team Taylor to get such a significant accomplishment completed across the entire network.
A warehouse typically refers to the establishment that a customer’s products are stored for a specified period. Warehouses generally are less high-energy than distribution centers. Sorting items, shipping them out, and replenishing stock are all a part of the daily functions. Distribution centers can act as warehouses too, but warehouses can’t double as a distribution center. Warehouses can be designed to receive goods directly from railways, airports, or seaports, and are usually equipped with forklifts and even cranes for moving and organizing products.
Distribution Center (DC):
A distribution center is slightly more complex than a warehouse in that it’s a more high-velocity operation as opposed to a static warehouse. Meaning that a distribution center offers more services to clients, whether they’re internal or external. A DC is generally thought of as demand-driven.
Fulfillment Center (FC):
A warehouse facility focused on order fulfillment in which the company fulfills its obligation to send a person a finished good. Typically refers to services of a store, either brick, and mortar or e-commerce: orders received, packaged, and shipped to end consumers.
Traditional forms of warehousing are not able to keep up with the ever-shifting retail landscape. Today’s consumers can review, compare, and purchase items faster than ever. New retail trends have led many consumers to expect low-priced — yet astonishingly fast — processing, shipping, and handling. To achieve this new level of speed for customers, warehouses today look much different than they have in previous years. For instance, the size of the warehouses has increased significantly over the years. E-commerce has required businesses to not only stock a more extensive selection of items but also have additional space available for the technology and equipment facilitating the various high-speed processes taking place. Warehouses today also require much taller interiors to allow for vertical integration of storage, conveyor systems, and so on.
A New Way of Picking Orders
Warehouses used to be able to ship vast quantities of items to other businesses for sale. However, the model has shifted drastically as the new point-of-sale is in consumers’ palms — in the form of mobile phones, tablets, and other devices — rather than brick-and-mortar locations. For warehouse management, this means trends in purchasing are more challenging to predict, and now warehouses must stock more items. Furthermore, those employees and robots working in the warehouse must be able to efficiently pick and package individual items rather than load the entire pallet.
Manage All Order Types Under One Roof
There is no longer this notion of splitting up different order channels amongst various distribution centers (DC). In the past orders from different retailers came from one DC, all while online orders came from another center. There was even separation from small parcel shippers that operated using less-than-truckload to those who were shipping out entire palettes. Now with the use of a sophisticated warehouse management system, all the different functions of an e-commerce operation can be handled under one roof. Thus improving customer’s efficiency as well as overall cost.
Is it possible to utilize your warehouse space by over 100%? A Taylor warehouse location in Monroe, Ohio has over 13,000 locations, capacity and pallets with nearly 570 staged inventory. This warehouse is solely dedicated to one customer with two different types of products (cans and bags). During the February facility utilization report printed on 2/13 Operations Manager Shaun Fehr found a shocking figure that the space utilization was 101.15%.
How is this possible? Due to the high demand of the customers products it was a high priority for our operations team to figure out how to add more inventory with limited space. They came to the conclusion to put two pallets into locations that would normally just have one pallet. The below chart shows capacity as 13,158 and total palettes as 13,309 with this new configuration we are able to store 151 more pallets of product.
We continue to refine our practices in order to produce seamless and efficient work for our customers. It is important to us to focus on reducing cost and increase service throughout the DC network for our business partners.