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Halloween is this weekend; pumpkin-spiced everything has been taking up menu real estate at your local coffee shop for some time, and turkey is right around the corner. So not only is it the start of the holiday season, but it’s also the start of peak shipping season. Our experts give pointers on how to succeed during this busy season and how 2021 is already shaping up differently from years past.

What is peak season shipping?

There are four seasons of freight shipping and the peak season of shipping starts at the end of the summer. This time is considered a peak shipping season because there is a combination of demand from different markets. Businesses start stocking up for the upcoming holiday season, there is back-to-school shopping time, and retailers try to sell out their inventories from the summer season. During this peak time, freight rates are at the highest, and the capacity is tight.

What are the four seasons of freight shipping?

  • The Quiet Shipping Season (January – March)
  • The Produce Shipping Season (April – July)
  • The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)
  • The Holiday Shipping Season (November – December)

How to be successful throughout the peak shipping season

Knowing the market


The key to navigating peak shipping season is to understand the truckload demand and market specifics across various industries. In 2020, demand was low, and freight rates were higher than usual. In 2021 however, shippers are less cost-sensitive, and freight volumes are extremely hot. If you plan to work with high-quality carriers, start navigating the market during spring and early summer. Create a proper shipping strategy to help you define the market trends and successfully ship goods. 

Utilize Technology


During the peak shipping season, you need every advantage you can get! Here’s an example, you can efficiently utilize a transportation management system (TMS) to optimize route planning and ensure efficient deliveries. You can also use other supply chain technology to automate warehousing processes and inventory control, providing up-to-the-minute data on your entire operation.

Work with reliable a 3PL 


Reliable 3PL here, and we will make sure you have fast and reliable shipping services. Our team knows that freight, more often than not, is time-sensitive, and capacity can be tight. So we work with a wide variety of professional, high-quality carriers to ensure your products are delivered timely and with ease. 

Talk With Taylor


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B2C Fulfillment, Customer Experience, D2C, Data, eCommerce, eCommerce Fulfillment, EDI, Food & Beverage, Food Grade, Fulfillment, Inventory Management, ISDT, Key Performing Indicators, Ominchannel, Operations, Packaging, Processes, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Technology, WMS

There are several marketplaces for eCommerce sellers, but one of the largest in the game is Shopify. Why has Shopify snowballed? Its bulletproof no-code design allows sellers to set up a store, sell, accept payment, manage inventory, showcase product pages, and connect with partners. 

Are you using Shopify and looking to transition your fulfillment to a third-party logistics provider? Yes, it might sound a bit intimidating, but we promise it’s easier than you think! Your Shopify inventory dashboard will match your logistics partner WMS inventory, returns will be seamless, and you can focus on your core business by leaving the logistics to a 3PL (cough, cough, Taylor). 

Shopify x 3PL Partner


Just like Shopify, your 3PL is here to help your business grow. A logistics partner can help with fulfillment management, inventory control/ planning, transportation, and excellent parcel shipping rates. Utilizing outsourced logistics, you’ll have more time to launch new products, make some TikToks, expand your brand, and focus on your business goals. 

Find a 3PL Who Loves a Shopify Integration


A solid 3PL will have a Shopify integration widget that enables sellers to manage their Shopify storefront, design, new products, sales, etc. but connect it to a 3PL to handle fulfillment and shipping. In addition, the integration will allow sellers to see real-time inventory info within the Shopify dashboard. So selling out products will never be an issue; it will also help you forecast future demand. 

Here’s how it works, when orders are placed through Shopify, it will go straight into the 3PLs warehouse management system. Making order management simple because it’s automated, there’s no need to upload a spreadsheet, download, or even click the mouse. Once you set up the Shopify store and connect via EDI, orders will flow directly to the fulfillment center and will be processed. The advantage of partnering with a logistics company is that you have real people handling your inventory and business. You can call on your personal assigned rep, tech superuser team, operations managers, and even the COO. There’s no call center, no putting in a ticket, no waiting for support. 

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B2B Fulfillment, B2C Fulfillment, Customer Experience, eCommerce, eCommerce Fulfillment, Food & Beverage, Food Grade, Food Safety, Freight, Freight Brokerage, Freight Technology, Internet of Things, Inventory Management, Key Performing Indicators, Ominchannel, Operations, Processes, SQF, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Taylor Information, Team Taylor, Technology

First things first, let’s define what it means to be nimble. 

nim·ble | /?nimb?l/ | adjective

Quick and light in movement or action; agile.

It might not be a term you use in everyday jargon, but hey, it’s a great word, and it translates exceptionally to the eCommerce supply chain world. How? Well, nimbleness relates to how quickly an eCommerce business can adjust to ever-changing expectations in speed and delivery. To maintain customer expectations, stay competitive, and grow, a nimble supply chain must also react promptly to delays, changes, and unexpected consumer patterns.

In this riveting blog post, you will learn how critical it is for your supply chain to be nimble, what it means for your business, plus some strategies and best practices to improve your eCommerce supply chain. 

What does it mean to have a nimble supply chain?

Having a nimble supply chain means how quickly and efficiently an eCommerce company can react to consumer trends and market changes. It also relates to the ability to forecast, maintain, and bounce back from unforeseen events. Here are some ways to create a nimble supply chain:

Optimize and improve logistics operations efficiently


Working with an amazing 3PL (cough, cough, Taylor)


Gain visibility into operations and real-time access data


Quickly implement the latest technology and automation

How to meet and exceed market demands 

We’ve said market and consumer trends six times by now. But, for a good reason, one of the most significant benefits of having a nimble supply chain is that it enables you to consistently meet customer demand around fast, affordable shipping, despite fluctuations in order volume. To develop supply chain “nimbleness,” a company needs to consider different ways to guarantee customer satisfaction despite possible disruptions or sudden changes in the market. Here are some examples of staying on the cusp of consumer trends by having a nimble supply chain: 

Integrating logistics automation and technology


Working with an amazing 3PL (cough, cough, Taylor)


Having a mix of parcel carriers 

Cut costs

One essential part of running a successful eCommerce operation is finding ways to optimize logistics costs, including:

Warehousing and storage fees 


Labor


Order fulfillment


Shipping + parcel costs 

There are several ways you can optimize costs and keep your business nimble from sourcing products closer to home to reduce transportation costs to using an excellent 3PL partner like Taylor. 

Get a 3PL partner

Cough, cough Taylor. But in all seriousness operating your own warehouse network, investing in technology, and improving operations is highly time-consuming and costly, and it doesn’t always directly tie to driving revenue. Taylor is a solutions-based third-party logistics provider that offers a full suite of supply chain services like fulfillment, packaging, kitting, FBA/FBM, transportation, drayage, and shipping. Partnering with #TeamTaylor can help you worry less about making your supply chain nimble, so you can focus more time on other initiatives, such as generating sales, product development, and marketing.

Contact Team Taylor


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Carriers, Cold Supply Chain, Drayage, Flatbed, Flatbed Transportation, Fleet, Food & Beverage, Food Grade, Freight Brokerage, Intermodal Transportation, Inventory Management, Leadership, Operations, Port Services, Retail, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Technology, Third Party Logistics, Transloading, Truck Driving

If you’ve seen higher than expected freight rates, we hear you, we see you. There’s a couple of potential factors for these increases. Since Q2 of 2020, the freight markets have shown robust growth, which has raised rates dramatically. While this is good news for carriers and manufacturers, it has caused CPG shippers to pay the price in rising freight rates. In this week’s blog, our team analyzes the various factors that are driving up freight rates and why they are happening.

Factor 1 | Port Congestion 


With pandemic-related consumer shopping habits, many West Coast ports operated at maximum capacity during the summer. In 2021, the uptick in imports has compounded the situation and caused even more congestion. March retail sales increased by 9.8% sequentially and 14.3% year-over-year. A 27.7% jump led to an increase in sales of food services. With more imports on board, shippers should brace for capacity constraints. As the produce season gets underway, rates will also rise.

Factor 2 | Produce Season


The start of the produce season typically occurs in February in the southern US. By spring/summertime, it has reached the majority of the US. During this time, capacity is tightened as refrigerated carriers dedicate a lot of their space to hauling produce. Other products that can ship via dry van or on refrigerated trucks will move to van transport, thus increasing freight rates across the board.

Factor 3 | Reliance on Split Shipments 


eCommerce brands have been comprehensively using split shipments for years. Firstly goods need to be picked from inventories across different locations. With not enough room on a single truck or plane for an entire shipment, it may have to be divided into individual boxes and delivered individually. Split shipments happen to occur even more often during cross-country or international shipment of goods. The more the shipments, the costlier the shipping costs; therefore, the trend ends up being a pricey affair and often harmful to the shipping ecosystem.

Counter Rising Rates with these Techniques: 

Advance Planning


One of the most effective ways to combat these high freight rates is planning shipments far in advance. Cargo cost is increasing every day. To avoid paying surged charges and avail early bird facilities, companies have to plan their shipments well in advance strategically. Working with a team of transportation experts (Like Taylor) that uses digital platforms to leverage data on the freight costs to predict rates and trends affecting the rates will help to plan and lower costs. 

Work With A Team Of Experts

Work with a dedicated logistics team to ensure conditions do not endanger profitability. Teaming up with a partner like Taylor can help your organization correctly forecast costs and find more favorable pricing through consolidation or mode optimization services.

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B2B Fulfillment, B2C Fulfillment, eCommerce Fulfillment, Fulfillment, Inventory Management, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Third Party Logistics, Warehousing
Inventory Management

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!


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