It takes a lot of bandwidth to operate a retail business. Whether you are an online retailer or run a brick-and-mortar business, you depend on the efficient movement of freight to maintain your operations. Logistics is the main component of any retail operation, from receiving inventory to shipping orders directly to customers. The amount of resources a retailer spends on operating its supply chain is unknown to most casual shoppers. This is an area where working with an experienced 3PL can be incredibly beneficial for any retailer.
What’s the Role of a 3PL?
There are multiple roles that today’s third-party logistics providers take on for their clients. For retailers specifically, they are essentially outsourced agent that takes care of numerous supply chain functions. Partnering with a 3PL allows a retailer to focus on driving sales, improving customer service, and other daily operations that help them increase sales and, thus, make more profits. Specifically, a 3PL can handle several specific logistics functions, including:
A 3PL allows you to analyze your labor, transportation, and spacing needs depending on your business parameters. Businesses that focus more heavily on seasonal sales can benefit from this practice. You can always ramp up deliveries, warehouse space, and any other logistics a 3PL can provide when consumer demand dictates.
Many companies assume that outsourcing to a third party by default means spending more on service fees. However, all the efforts of a 3PL will eventually save you money. Ultimately, the overall cost will be less than an in-house supply chain management. A 3PL is a one-stop shop for most of your supply chain needs. You do not have to invest in warehousing, technology, or a logistics team.
Bulk Shipping Rates
Shipping rates, especially spot rates, can fluctuate weekly depending on several outside sources, even daily in some cases. As a result, retail companies need stability in the market to ship their products. Bulk shipping rates help that happen. This is where 3PLs can help, especially since many retail companies need the negotiating power of a 3PL.
3PLs have contacts throughout the country. If your business grows, a 3PL can offer additional resources from those within its network to assist that growth. At Taylor, we have a carrier network of 60,000+. With a carrier size that large, we can find you lanes and capacity to move your freight.
Each year, Robert Handfield, Ph.D. of North Carolina State University, predicts what’s in store for global commerce and supply chains for the next 365 days. While these predictions are perhaps not completely original, his takeaways and supporting evidence are worth considering. Please see the full article from NCSU here.
Inflation will persist.Jason Miller from Michigan State is an expert at navigating the many different publicly available government database, and interpreting the tea leaves. He writes a weekly blog on Linked In which I follow religiously. He is the most accurate forecaster I know, because unlike many speculators and economists, his observations are based on actual data! He believes that inflation isn’t going to go down going into 2023 – but will persist. He writes that“While it is good news that we are starting to see the inflation of goods slow down, I would caution anyone who expects goods to go through a deflationary cycle that the data (to me) isn’t pointing in this direction to a meaningful degree. Data below from three series from the BLS PPI program obtained from FRED (with call codes after the labels), all set such that 100 = January 2019. Implication: the best-case scenario I see for the price of finished goods is that their prices stay relatively unchanged from the 3rd quarter of 2022….we are going to see meaningful deflation in finished goods prices as we move into 2023, which will in turn impact PCE price index that the Fed monitors for consumer inflation.” Unfortunately, this also means that the Fed will likely keep interest rates high through much of 2023 – and will likely increase rates again in February and June. Inflation is indeed going down slowly– but not as fast as the markets would like.
Inventory will remain bloated for the first half of 2023, – and supplier relationships will be tested. Here again, my prior blog notes how much inventory we have in supply chains today – and how certain parties are pushing back their excessive demand forecasts, and punishing their suppliers. For instance, a large apparel brand requested about 20 of their largest textile mills (many in Pakistan, Singapore, China, and other regions) to travel all the way to San Francisco for a “Vendor Summit”. They then sequestered each individual in a room, and two individuals came in and told them that they needed to reduce their prices by 20%. Walmart is moving their vendors from FOB (Free on Board) to domestic buying, and the shift is happening fast. Walmart will pay more for domestic sources, but will not be burdened with the inventory and purchasing FOB. They are also canceling orders, decreasing quantities, and deducting off invoices, which they claim as “chargebacks” for “late deliveries”, from shipments which were received as late as last year. These kinds of behaviors by buyers will come back to bite them in the future…
Despite having more inventory – we won’t stop having shortages. Unfortunately, a lot of the bloated inventory is stuff that consumers don’t want – or can’t afford. But that doesn’t mean we will stop having shortages of critical materials. One reason for this is that the COVID crisis in China is escalating to incredible levels, and that is shutting down a lot of manufacturing hubs. In particular, a lot of maintenance parts for equipment, replacement parts for appliances, automobiles, and larger (>48 nm) chips are still produced in Asia – and we will continue to see shortages of these component parts. That means that repair may take longer than you think. Labor and material shortages for factories are going down – but still are at a much higher rate than they were in 2019.
Mexico will become a destination hub for many companies in the US – but within reason. As I noted in a prior blog, and as discussed in the New York Times today – Mexico is a great option – but the capacity isn’t there yet. More importantly, the supply chain isn’t there yet! I spoke to a CPO who mentioned that his CEO was a big proponent of bringing all supply to Mexico – but despite this fact, we are still largely dependent on China for raw materials! As pointed out in the NY Times – even apparel manufacturing in Mexico is largely dependent on fabric produced entirely in China! As such, it is unlikely we are going to lose our dependence on Chinese products. Price is still the determining factor here. Chinese manufacturing is of such scale, that moving it to the US or Mexico is unlikely.
The US Government will play more of a role in promoting domestic supply chains. Not only did the US government, pass the CHIPS Act – but they are actively promoting the domestic production of semiconductors.As noted in one of my blogs, however, producing a fab plant is a good step – but the supply chain for chips is still largely in Taiwan. There is massive flux in the chip industry – which seems to be on a different cycle than most demand cycles. What was once a one year backlog has shrunk and chips are now readily available – to the point where semiconductor companies are cutting back on capital investment! This will continue to be a real problem – and I believe we will see “capacity as a service” models begin to emerge in the chip sector – where buyers will reserve capacity based on actual forecasts, not guesses or bets on what they think they will need next year. This will stabilize production – and lead to improved availability and assurance of supply.
Healthcare supply chains will remain strained. Despite having a lot more PPE in warehouses, hospitals are still struggling with a lot of shortages. Jim Wilson, an expert in medical intelligence, advocates that hospital monitoring programs is a critical area of government investment. One area is generic drugs – such as amoxycillin. We wll have shortages of baby formula as well. For this reason, I believe the government should be creating incentives to increasingly healthcare supply chain. To address this issue, one recommendation I am advocating would be to create government industrial policies that are targeted at supporting a domestic “stop gap” manufacturing capability. Secondly, partnerships should be developed with distributors to enable visibility into their inventory systems, and ensure they enter contracts which set aside inventory for government allocation under different conditions of duress. This will require a set of common data standards and a common architecture to create a dashboard and control tower. In addition, a multi-agency materials inventory portfolio based on in-depth supply market analysis is needed. At a minimum, this should include specialists in the following categories: semiconductors, precious metals, electric vehicle batteries, medical supplies (PPE, gowns, gloves), medical devices, pharmaceuticals, plastics and resins, medical equipment, biologics, healthcare personnel, and respiratory products. This will require team of supply market analysts with special knowledge of these categories, that track the condition of critical supply markets for medical supplies, the supply risks within those markets, and acquisition strategies to manage the risks. Multi-tier supply chain mapping can provide clues as to critical points of risk that can “shut down” the US healthcare sector, based on multiple forms of risk assessment.
Growth in 2023 will be positive – but lean. As noted in a lecture by the Economist which I attended, the greatest risks looming ahead are concentrated in 2023. Next year will see some positive growth but only 1.7%, reflecting slowing growth in the US in China and recession in Europe. Global monetary tightening will take some time to kick in – likely in the second half of 2023. The US will likely see only 0.5% growth in 2023, the EU 0.4%, which in turn will impact other regions of the world. China will likely see a modest rebound after the 2022 slump, moving to only 5% growth. However, there are always risks that will move the needle, including the escalation of the Ukraine war, more COVID-19 variants, spikes in energy prices, and sovereign debt pile-ups.
Government regulation of Artificial Intelligence will increase. As I noted in a blog of a recent SAS INNOVATE conference, Henry Kissinger described AI as the new frontier of arms control during a forum at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 16. If leading powers don’t find ways to limit AI’s reach, he said, “it is simply a mad race for some catastrophe.” The former secretary of state cautioned that AI systems could transform warfare just as they have chess or other games of strategy — because they are capable of making moves that no human would consider but that have devastatingly effective consequences. This is true not just in warfare, but also in supply chains. As we move towards a digital future where we increasingly will be ceding control to machines who call the shots, not humans, what are the risks of doing so? Increasingly, more and more data is being stuffed into the cloud, which certainly allows us access to more readily access reams of data which can be processed by algorithms for decision-making. We have to be able to trust these algorithms to make the right decisions. But driving towards AI standards to increase trustworthiness is easier said than done. The UK has also begun pursuing this goal, as has the EU, who are likely to explicitly define AI and how to use it. The government will begin to mandate a more comprehensive approach, which spans the entire organization. Three primary elements determine the fiduciary responsibility for trustworthy AI: Duty of Care, the Business Judgement rule, and Duty of Compliance Oversight. These pillars are required to understand the historical biases that so often find their way into AI algorithms, which have created historical injustices and inequities, meaning that the government is surely going to step in.
Electric vehicle parts will remain in short supply.In a recent blog, I noted how there is still a massive shortage of the so-called “green metals” required to meet the burgeoning demand for EV’s. Environmentalists and automotive companies have committed to converting all of their vehicles to electric power. GM has committed to 30 new electric vehicles by 2025. Ford is committing to an all-electric vehicle platform with zero emissions by 2035. But nobody is talking about the supply chain for these vehicles, and the capacity required to build them. Converting an entire supply base of automotive suppliers, who are all focused on building of combustion engine-powered vehicles, and moving them all to electric vehicles, will be a superhuman feat. What will happen to those manufacturers that can’t or won’t convert? They go out of business? And is there enough capacity to produce the new types of vehicles? And what raw materials are required to convert to EV in the future? I don’t think executives have really given any meaningful thought to the answers to these questions yet… I predict a rough road ahead for EV’s. Perhaps I’m a voice in the wilderness – except maybe for Toyota – they have the same doubts as I do.
Demand for supply chain graduates will go through the roof in the next two years. To summarize – global supply chains remain fragile – and we are in a period where things are starting to change. Supply chains will look very different in two or three years from what they are today.
This week, our Monroe team underwent a Safe Quality Foods (SQF) audit scoring an outstanding 97%. This is an exceptional accomplishment, as we continually strive for the highest standard in food safety for our business partners. A special kudos to the entire Monroe team. 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.
CINCINNATI — Taylor Logistics Inc. (TLI), a Cincinnati-based third-party logistics company, announced plans to open a new 415,000 sqft fulfillment center outside Cincinnati in February. At 9287 Meridian Way in West Chester, Ohio, the new location will be the companies fourth public multi-client warehouse in Cincinnati. The other three locations are located just down the road on International Boulevard. The new facility will contribute to Taylor’s 800,000 sqft of public warehouse space in the Cincinnati region.
“This location will serve as a new multi-client distribution center, enabling Taylor to support customers’ supply chains through the latest solutions, technology, and services. In addition, its proximity to the consumer and scalable size made the facility ideal for driving significant growth,” said AJ Raaker, Director of Warehouse Operations, Taylor Logistics Inc. “The Greater Cincinnati region has a robust logistics sector, and its location advantages are unparalleled.”
The brand new 415,000 square foot warehouse located on Meridian Way boasts several enticing factors, including a gated yard, fully racked, and being true to their business partners in the food, beverage, flavoring, and pet food spaces, the new fulfillment center will be certified by the Safe Quality Foods Institute (SQF) as food-grade.
In addition, World Park Four is conveniently positioned next to two major interstates, rail ports, and cargo hubs. The Cincinnati/N. Kentucky International Airport is located 30 miles south via I-75/I-275, CVG, DHL, Amazon Prime Air. The new facility will house Taylor’s full suite of value-added services, including pick & pack solutions, kitting, eCommerce fulfillment, packaging, product staging, and special projects.
About Taylor Logistics, Inc.
Taylor Logistics Inc. is the Nation’s Most Progressive Family Owned logistics company. From their founding in 1850 to today, Taylor is currently in sixth and seventh-generation ownership. Taylor’s passion is finding solutions for their customers through their various services. From warehousing both contract and public, freight brokerage, eCommerce, packaging, kitting, drayage, and trucking. All of which are customizable and technology-driven. Their 170 years of logistics experience have proven that they are not merely a vendor for your company – they are an extension of your team with a clear understanding of our responsibility to replicate your organization’s strategic business goals.
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.
A company’s people and culture is the one true advantage that can’t easily be replicated by its competitors. As the packaging line lead with TLI, your role is to create value and manage a new operation that transforms of our 170-year-old business.
The packaging line lead is responsible for driving improvements to existing processes as well as new process development. This person collaborates with kitting planner to develop process road maps, establish project priorities, guide direct reports in the timely completion of these projects, and fulfilling our efficiency model of speed to market, cost, and innovation.
Lead the first shift packaging line
Promote safe work habits and processes necessary to prevent personal injuries or accidents.
Provide training on safety and equipment operations
Train the packaging line people and monitor their performance, adjusting their tasks/position on the line to maximize the production line workflow.
Help lead the packaging line to meet or exceed targets, develop plans to deliver process improvement goals
Ensure productivity is maintained on all processes
Continually minimize the number of quality issues
Proactively stage projects to ensure productive changeovers and minimize downtime
Confer with Planner and/or HR to resolve workers’ problems, complaints and grievances
Inspect materials, products, and equipment to detect defects and malfunctions
Recommend and implement measures to motivate employees and improve production methods, equipment performances, products’ quality and efficiencies
Drive innovation of system-level and component-level packaging activities from initial concept through production
Ensure that the customer receives the required level of quality and service.
Covers all aspects of packaging, distribution, and inventory management.
Focus on timely completion, associate productivity, and accuracy
Experience/knowledge of the industry
Ability to lead and coach teams to optimal performance
Strong Familiarity with WMS, 5S and process improvement tools.
Experience with material handling equipment is required. Forklift certification, preferred.
Effective leadership skills in planning, organizing, controlling, communicating, and problem solving.
On this episode of #TaylorTalk we have an exciting guest, Liz Switzer Taylor’s OBM. There’s a ton to discuss as it’s the longest episode yet! We discuss the meaning of kitting, breaking corporate molds, applying previous bartending and serving opportunities to future jobs, and the true meaning of pivoting. Listen here.
Chris and Noelle are back on Taylor Talk chatting about probiotic sodas and seltzers, kitting, PR boxes, mental health awareness month, getting rid of the phrase “new normal,” and discussing eCommerce vs. e-commerce. Tune in now click this link.
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.
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. We are your supply chain management experts.
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!
From the Taylor Talk podcast vault: Transitioning to eCommerce fulfillment with Grant Taylor, while this episode initially aired months ago, it seems more relevant now than ever.
Our operations, IT, and superuser teams have been working vigorously to transition five distribution centers into eCommerce centers. This was a massive undertaking for our team because; eCommerce granted customers can break open cases, which was an entirely different process for Taylor.
Our production, kitting, and packaging team at our public warehouse World Park One operated at over 100% efficiency optimization last week. How is running at 160% yes 160% efficiency even possible? Especially during the busy holiday shipping season? Well, let’s break it down.
Our Operations Business Manager, Liz runs time studies on various customer kitting and packaging projects using general cycle time formulas, which can be used to calculate the time needed from receiving the product from the bins to having it “ship ready.” In addition to performing time formulas, here are some other ways our team stays productive:
Our production team has optimized the floor to make it simpler for employees to locate all parts in one place, which ultimately boosts worker efficiency and productivity.
We print shipping labels beforehand, which cuts out the need to weigh and label individual items at the time of shipping.
There are particular techniques and sequences we use to ensure that profitability is not consumed by poor planning. First, pick each case and pallet in separate zones by separate individuals for fast parallel picks. Second, combine a set of picks into one wave set with options to auto-ship or move to packaging with secondary quality assurance checks. Third, license plates are automatically assigned during picks for optimal staging, kitting, packaging, shipping, and site transfer receipts. Fourth, institute a short pick, unpick canceled orders or partially staged picks with a hold status. Fifth, order picks with routes are automatically distributed in the reverse stop order. Seventh, we review FIFO (First In, First Out), FEFO (First Expired, First Out), primary pick, or hybrid models.
The pandemic has accelerated eCommerce growth in the US this year, with online sales reaching a level not previously expected until 2022. Not to mention the shipping delays, this eCommerce volume is producing. That’s why it’s critical for our teams to be operating at the highest efficiency levels, to ensure our customers’ products are getting to the consumer on-time and mistake-free.
Warehouse kitting is a simple but effective order fulfillment strategy that can save your business time and money! Please contact our fulfillment experts with any questions. We are happy to consult with you on how to provide a kitting solution to meet your specific needs.
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.
Retail POP Displays — Visual merchandising is key to any successful marketing strategy, and POP Displays are central to its success. In retail, one of the most effective ways to catch the consumer’s eye is to get your products off the shelves and into high-traffic areas. Match that with high-quality visual graphics and stable construction, and the possibilities are endless! Taylor offers a wide range of custom options for your POP display (Retail POP Displays) needs. Our ISDT (In-store Design Team) can help you create a display that fits your unique product, no matter what shape or size.
At Taylor, we understand that potential sales revenue is lost if your POP materials or brand promotional products do not reach your store locations on schedule. Count on us to make it happen. We are strategically located at America’s crossroads so that stores receive your displays quickly, no matter where they are located.