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Processes, Third Party Logistics
Taylor Logistics Inc. Blog

Some might say that 2019 was the year of customer experience (CX). In fact, according to the 2019 State of Service Report from Salesforce, 80% of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products or services.

Logistics Customer Experience CX

Customers don’t just buy a product or service — they buy an experience. Creating a unique, efficient, and personalized experience can have a tremendous impact on business growth. As a third-party logistics company, we have two types of customer experiences to focus on. Our customers’ experience and their customers’ experience. Acting as an extension of our customer’s team and as an integral part of their supply chain, we must focus on not only their needs but also the needs of their customers. One way we do this is by upholding brand image and expectations. Omnichannel distribution and fulfillment are ever-present in the retail industry, with a growing number of consumers taking advantage of the convenience e-commerce provides. With multiple procurement channels available, it is just as important for brands to ensure their customer experience is the same across all channels. As the ‘last touch’ before a product arrives on a consumer’s doorstep, it is the job of the 3PL to ensure all products arrive in pristine condition and create a visually appealing, ‘unboxing’ experience for the consumer. ‘Unboxing’ was born out of a combination of the omnichannel phenomenon and the use of video on social platforms. Customers may never see your trucks, your warehouse, your committed drivers and operators, or even their products. This is why leaders are finding customer service is so important — it’s what your customers will remember about their experience with you.

Taylor-Logistics-Technology-Fulfillment

The supply chain can make or break the customer experience. And to thrive within e-commerce, businesses must invest in supply chain technologies. Those that create integrated, transparent and responsive supply chains are capable of delivering exceptional customer experiences profitably. At Taylor, by combining hands-on support, technology, logistics services, and a dependable partnership, we are creating an optimal experience for our customers and our customer’s customers. 

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Processes, Third Party Logistics
Taylor Logistics Inc. Blog

The new year is upon us, and with the end of 2019, we reach the end of the decade. Over the years, logistics has gone through a massive transformation due to changes in customer demands and new technological innovations. Companies need to deliver their products quicker than ever before, at a low cost, in a sustainable way. Below are the 2020 supply chain management trends that will further these shifts.

Supply Chain Digitization


The implementation of new digital technology in logistics will continue to be priority. Smart, efficient supply chain systems that eliminate silos create transparency and enhance responsiveness. This ecosystem will depend on several critical digital technologies—including logistics platforms, analytics, robots, and even 3D printing. The ultimate goal for companies exploring supply chain digitization? Real-time, end-to-end visibility that provides a competitive advantage, streamlines processes and exceeds customers’ expectations. 

Taylor Logistics Cincinnati, Ohio Digital Supply Chain. Warehouse automation

Internet of Things


Internet of Things (IoT) is coming of age, as prices decrease, research shows the number of businesses using IoT devices increased from 13% in 2014 to 25% in 2019. The IDC forecasts 13.6% annual growth through to 2022. IoT enables organizations to control inventory, automate stock reordering, and keep track of deliveries, all in real-time. Sensors can foresee wear and tear on equipment, supporting timely ordering of spare parts. Untimalety IoT will increase supply chain transparency. 

Building a Greener Supply Chain


The drive towards environmental sustainability is putting increased pressure on logistics managers. Green supply chain management practices can be included in every link of the supply chain from product material sourcing, product design, and manufacturing processes after the product’s useful life. Some sustainability practices are simple – like energy-efficient lighting in the warehouse and planning delivery routes to minimize mileage & fuel consumption. But developing a truly green supply chain requires complete methodological shifts to most companies’ current supply chain practices.

The Normalization of Omnichannel Supply Chains 


In response to customer demand, businesses will make significant strides towards offering an omnichannel buying experience for customers. An integrated view of all customer channels and inventory, along with dynamic delivery and fulfillment options and seamless customer service interactions. The switch from single- and multi-channel supply to omnichannel supply requires a complete rethink of supply chain logistics.

Improving Customer Experience


Instead of thinking like operations, putting on the marketer and customer success hats and prioritize the delivery experience the customer receives – branding, UX, speed of delivery, transparency, visibility. Logistics leaders should then focus on reducing these pain points in their teams by investing in technologies that simplify staff workloads and reducing complexity that makes the customer journey as effortless as possible.


In conclusion, the 2020 supply chain management trends focus on technology bringing new possibilities to supply chain management and bringing discrete areas of the supply chain closer together. Which of the new trends will you be adopting in the new year?

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Operations, Processes, Sustainability, Third Party Logistics
Taylor Logistics Inc. Blog

It’s important for our business to invest renewable energy technologies and sustainability in all aspects of our logistics business. Importantly, when using road transport, we plan each journey to establish the most efficient route so that we can reduce the number of miles traveled and avoid empty trucks on the road. Taylor has implemented a Green Logistics program for several years; by doing so, our team reduces fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions by:

Optimizing Routes


Until electric and other more sustainable vehicle options, route optimization is one of the best ways to reduce the environmental impact of transportation and distribution. Artificial intelligence can work with GPS devices to optimize local, national, and global shipping routes. Advanced analytics update routes in real-time, to take account of congestion and other issues.

Simplifying Supply Chain Processes


Supply chains can be improved through significant changes, but it’s more common to see results through small, iterative improvements. Useful analytics and reporting combine with machine learning to continually improve processes throughout the supply chain. Every change that reduces waste speeds up delivery or enhances quality makes an incremental improvement to sustainability.

Monitoring Existing Environmental Risks


Climate change and other environmental factors already impact many supply chains. Issues such as wildfires in California, rising sea levels, water scarcity, and lower agricultural yields have a profound impact on the efficiency, quality, and speed of the supply chain. Supply chain technology helps to predict these risks and allows supply chain managers to mitigate their impact and put contingency plans in place.

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Operations, Processes, Third Party Logistics
Taylor Logistics Inc. Blog

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than 185 million people are expected to shop over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. This time can be a stressful time for retailers and the transportation industry, and the days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically the peak period of the rush. Massive volumes of e-commerce purchases are putting more and more pressure on business and logistics managers each year. Whether your business manages your supply chain in-house or uses a 3PL partner, supply chain planning in peak seasons like this requires the use of supply chain industry best practices.

The Origin of Black Friday 

The term “Black Friday” was first associated with financial crisis and shopping sales. Jim Fisk and Jay Gould, two wall street financiers, bought a significant amount of US gold in the hope of the overall price soaring and turned to be able to sell it for massive profits. On Friday, September 24, 1869, in what became referred to as “Black Friday,” the US gold marked Crash and Fisk, and Gould’s actions left Wall Street barons bankrupt. In the later years, the post-thanksgiving period became associated with the name. 

Although this is the origin story, there is one black Friday tale that also attributes to its name. When stores recorded their accounting details, they noted profits in black and losses in red. The story goes that many shops were “in the red” throughout most of the year. Still, they later “went into the black” the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers bought a significant amount of discounted merchandise for the holiday presents.

Supply Chain Best Practices for Holiday Shopping 

 Use your 3PL’s Value- Added Services


Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the times of year that your third party logistics provider will become an extra benefit to your business. Using value-added services such as kitting and packaging to prepare high-demand items ready to go, and kit pre-package many of them in preparation for holiday shoppers. A 3PL can typically also provide temporary storage overflow inventory for the peak seasons. 

Take Care of Your Employees. 


The holiday season is the worse time to lose employees. Due to to the high-stress environment of a warehouse or fulfillment center and the longer holiday hours, this time of year is at high-risk for employee turnover. This is not a time to slack on your promise to company culture. Try and keep the work environment as light as possible and maintain open communication by having conversations with employees to make sure they feel appreciated during such a critical time for logistics.

System Integrity 


Peak season is not the time of year when your system can go down; all systems must be running up to speed. During the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period, your order management, distribution, allocation, replenishment, and financial systems will be subject to a level of transactional activity that can be many orders of magnitude higher than ever before.

Training 


Employee training throughout the year is critical so that they can jump into whatever role might be the most in-demand during the holiday peak season. Not only does routine training empower your workforce, but it also improves team morale. 

Focus on Customer Experience


While optimizing supply chain efficiency with standardized processes and automation, supply chain professionals should focus on the customer experience. Customers gain trust in businesses that can handle the busiest of shopping days. 

Statistics/ Trends According to NRF

People ages 18-24, 88% t say they are likely to shop and particularly enjoy the social aspect. Similarly, 84% of those ages 25-34 plan to shop. That compares with 69% of holiday shoppers overall.

Of those planning to shop, there is an almost even split of people who plan to start their shopping in-store 47% compared with those who plan to start online 41%. Those under 25 are even more likely to say they expect to start shopping in-store 52%.

The top reasons consumers are planning to shop include:

65% The deals are too good to pass up 


28% Tradition 


22% It’s when they like to start their holiday shopping 


21% It’s something to do over the holiday 

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Operations, Processes, Warehousing
Taylor Logistics Inc. Blog

Kitting is a standard value-added service offered by most third-party logistics companies. However, kitting is most commonly used in the e-commerce space; therefore, those outside the industry most likely are unfamiliar with kitting. Our team created this guide to help you better understand fulfillment kitting services, best practices, and how it applies to your supply chain. 

What is kitting?


Defined, kitting is a service that combines various single items into one unit for sale, such as a subscription box containing multiple items. It is a beneficial eCommerce merchandising tool because it enables e-retailers to do more with the items in their inventory. Elaborate kits can include up to 20 different products, with the capabilities of a great warehouse management system it can accurately manage your inventory, as products morph from units to kits. Here are some different types of products that are typically kitted and assembled:

Cosmetics

Nutritional Supplements

Electronics

Subscription Box Programs

Supermarket Displays 

Promotional Items 

Benefits of Kitting? 


Kitting services provide companies with many benefits such as a reduced number of purchase orders, decreased management costs, better utilization of space, and more rapid response to customer orders. The following items are additional benefits to kitting fulfillment services: 

It can save you overhead costs

Allows you to focus on your core business 

You don’t need to hire an in-house staff

Reduces shipping mistakes 

Volume Flexibility 

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Freight Brokerage, Processes

Peak Season kicks off in October and lasts through the holiday shopping season. Carriers know that this time of year offers a heavy and steady flow of freight loads to move. During peak months, there is a significant surge in the loads available. At Taylor Logistics, we do everything we can to make the process as simple as possible for our customers. Our experts comprised a few best practices to use to make freight shipping even easier. Here are cost-effective strategies you can implement to help your freight stand out in today’s market.

Establishing a Carrier Program: One of the most important relationships is the one you create with your carrier base. Carriers have compelling value propositions in the markets they serve — carriers value consistency. If you’re happy with the overall relationship, provide incumbents with an opportunity to keep that freight.


Communicate Quickly and Effectively: The faster you communicate about upcoming loads, the more likely you are to secure a truck. Talking with carriers ahead of time about anticipated surges and decreases in your freight volume can also help them plan and prioritize your shipments.


Flexibility: If possible, become flexible in your pick-up and delivery times, so you can create a larger pool of trucking companies available to move your freight. For some shippers making operational changes that allow for deliveries and pick-ups on weekends increases flexibility. Most drivers do not operate on a traditional workweek schedule, so working with receivers and shippers that offer flexible hours allows for loads to be moved more efficiently and promptly.  


Increase Efficiency: There are several ways to cut costs examine your transportation and supply chain for ways to increase your performance while saving money. Are there less-expensive routes you can use for shipments that are not time-sensitive? Would other modes of transport like intermodal or less-than-truckload be more economical than truckload freight?


 Tap Your Third-Party Provider’s Range of Services: Warehousing, fulfillment, transportation, technology—the more you can obtain from a single provider, the more seamless, scalable, and cost-effective your supply chain will be. Organizing the logistics function helps to ensure that you provide consistent service and offer better predictability and reliable deliveries. 


Taking a more strategic approach to truckload procurement helps align the business goals and outcomes of both carriers and shippers. It can result in significant savings and extraordinary service levels over time. To learn more about our freight services click here.

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Processes, Technology, Warehousing

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. 

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Processes

On the October episode of Taylor Talk, customer relations coordinator Rhonda Mettey discusses Taylor’s transportation logistics processes. How they’ve changed throughout the years, the bumps and hurdles along the way, and how we’ve become the Nation’s Most Progressive Family Owned Logistics Company. Click the links below to listen!


https://open.spotify.com/show/5zuY4PDq5aevnkVoIyq0v5

https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy84OTgzZGI4L3BvZGNhc3QvcnNz

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/taylor-talk/id1454424870?ign-mpt=uo%3D4&mt=2

https://overcast.fm/itunes1454424870/taylor-logistics-presents-taylor-talk
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Freight Brokerage, Processes, Third Party Logistics

Before working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, it’s essential to understand the functionality of that relationship. What responsibilities can a 3PL  take off your plate, and what will still be in your wheelhouse? 

Here’s a breakdown of how Taylor Logistics freight brokerage works, along with critical points surrounding our value-added services and essential points for how we can help you. 

What is a freight brokerage? 


Our brokerage helps customers with ready to haul freight find qualified carriers to haul the load. Typically freight brokers do not provide the truck or the shipping but provide the essential service that will help the shipper find the carrier. However, In addition to our brokerage out parent company Taylor Distributing in Cincinnati, OH has a full fleet of trucks ready to assist our customers with any intermodal/drayage needs.


Shipping Expertise – This is what our freight brokers do best, working with our brokers allows you access to their knowledge of best practices and latest technology.


Communication – We can track and log each step of the journey of your product. Our team is in constant contact with drivers, and we have access to GPS/EDI technologies to maintain the status of an order.


Flexibility and Scaleability – We provide our customers more, or less capacity based on their business from industry trends to seasonality. We are also connected to service providers nationwide, and we can quickly respond to flux, linking you to resources without any added risk.


Save time, Resources, and Money – Partnering with Taylor, is like having a dedicated shipping department without the expense of your own department.  Using our freight brokerage allows you to focus on your core business.


It’s a Partnership – Taylor works for you, we put our customer’s interests first, because when you succeed, and your business grows, so does ours.


Technology  –   We have invested in the latest technologies to improve our customer relationships, efficiency, and processes. Our technologies include: 

  1. Transportation Management Systems (TMS)
  2. GPS Tracking
  3. Reporting Software
  4. Quick Pay/E-Pay
  5. Electronic Data Integration (EDI) Software
  6. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
  7. Data Analysis Tools
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People, Processes, Team Taylor

Although Taylor’s taglines have changed throughout our nearly 170 years in business, they’ve always been geared around our founding year. From “Since 1850″ to the longer ” Your Trusted Partner Since 1850″ we’ve never shied away from telling people our age. However, through recent research amongst our customers as well as industry experts, it came to our attention to rethink our tagline and our overall branding. No, we’re not getting rid of “Since 1850″, but it’s no longer our primary talking point. It’s moved to the secondary so we could talk about our processes and people first. We are thus repositioning our brand to the new era of ” The Nation’s Most Innovative Family Owned Logistics Company.”

Why the change? We asked our customers why they like working with Taylor. What sets us apart from the thousands of other logistics companies out there? Two key points stood out to us the most the first being the fact that we are a family owned and operated business, and the second being our innovation. Taylor is a mid-sized family owned business currently in 6/7th generation ownership. We provide a level of customer service that large corporations cannot. But more importantly, we are progressive; we stay up to date on our software, processes, and technology. But it doesn’t just stop there; our company culture is progressive. We rely profoundly on education and our quality program. Our quality program is a massive part of how we stay on the cusp of innovation not only is it apart of our mission, but it is also in our values. At Taylor, we have a saying: 85% on improving processes and 15% on innovation. That’s what makes us the Nation’s Most Innovative Family Owned Logistics Company.

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Processes, Team Taylor, Technology

Employee education is an essential key to the success of your organization- it’s a fundamental way to set your business apart from the competition. Employees who feel their company is invested in their careers are likely to stay longer and work harder. On top of employee satisfaction training allows your employees to become more versatile and bolsters the value of that employee. There countless benefits to the importance of employee development, such as– a more competitive workforce, increased employee retention, and higher employee engagement.

At Taylor Logistics, we make sure all staff members in any role are equipped with the tools they need to succeed. We have memberships to many professional logistics, warehousing, management, and quality organizations that allow our employees to benefit from their classes, webinars, and discussions. Organizations such as The Resource for Warehouse Logistics (IWLA) which offer various course offerings throughout the year. A number of our staff members have attended IWLA courses including their Essentials of Warehousing and Rate Class. All classes are closed with a course exam and upon a passing grade are complete with a certificate adding value to that employees’ career.

Along with classes, our upper management will send several employees a year to various conferences in our particular fields. It’s a part of the Taylor model not only to learn and grow from these opportunities but to gain a new network from them. Through these various organizations and conferences, we have expanded our industry contact list, which allows for continuous brainstorming and mentorship.

Training doesn’t have to be as complicated as sending someone to a class for a certification or to a conference but can be a tutorial on creating a PowerPoint Presentation or on Adobe InDesign formatting. If there is an area an employee is looking to improve in, we try and provide the tools necessary for their success. The importance of training our employees – both new and experienced – cannot be overemphasized in our organization.

Other classes, organizations, conferences, and certifications our staff attends:

IWLA, IANA, TIA, TMSA, WERC, Lean, SQF, Six Sigma

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Processes, Technology, Warehousing

The automotive industry has a very complex supply chain consisting of ever-changing variables in a fast-paced environment. At Taylor Logistics in order for our automotive customers to avoid pricey in-house solutions that are difficult to manage we’ve customized our business to better suit the industry’s needs.

We help manage international loads, sorting, warehousing, overflow, and inventory reporting services so you can focus on your core business. Not only does Taylor have expectational warehouse services, but our complex service portfolio can also handle intermodal containers, TL/LTL shipments and railcar services to support inbound and outbound movement of all goods and parts. All of our services are tailored to assist in a seamless transition to the finished product.

At Taylor Logistics, upgrades come standard. Here’s quick look at our warehousing services:

  • Transferring international loads to palletized loads
  • Transferring crated products to tray
  • Dry Van services
  • Dump and Destroy
  • Cross Dock Services
  • Labeling

To learn more about our warehousing options and services talk with a Taylor Representative today.

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Processes, Team Taylor, Warehousing

When storing another companies’ products in your warehouse it is crucial that your operations team has a system for sanitation and workplace organization. At Taylor we utilize the practice of 5S which stems from concept of lean management.

Here are the steps of 5S:

  1. Sort
  2. Set in Order
  3. Shine
  4. Standardize
  5. Sustain

5S: Sort

This requires all equipment and tools have appropriate areas within the warehouse. It’s important to sift through materials, keeping only the necessary items needed to daily complete tasks.

5S: Set in Order

It’s important to make sure all items have a designated location. Organize all workplace items in a logical way so they make tasks easier for employees. It’s also important to make sure each item has a specific spot to ensure that the team doesn’t put an item in the wrong place it also allows for managers to tell if something is missing.

5S: Shine

After items are sorted and set in order it is time to clean.  A clean and orderly warehouse ensures purpose-driven work place all team members. Look for potential safety hazards and hard to read labeling. Storage bins can be used for smaller items to prevent any loss.

5S: Standardize

Create a set of standards for processes and organization. For every item create rules for how and when they will be used. These standards can involve schedules, charts, lists, etc.

5S: Sustain

This step focuses on taking all of the previous steps of 5S and transforming them into ongoing habits to ensure continuous improvement. Sustaining a lean warehouse involves constant evaluation and discipline. The goal, after all, is to be as efficient as possible.

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Processes, Team Taylor, Third Party Logistics

Whether you’re a basketball fan or just choosing your March Madness bracket based off of mascots. Each year millions tune in to watch 68 teams compete in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. This basketball spectacle involves 67 games in 14 stadiums across 12 different states all within a 12-day period. To pull off March Madness it takes multiple resources to select arenas, reserve flights and hotels for teams, create contingency plans, and the list continues. With all this planning some of the logistics are arranged years in advance however with the one and done nature of the bracket other logistics are dependent on last minute variables.

When you think about the operations behind March Madness, it’s easy to draw parallels between the tournament and managing a supply chain. From teamwork to skill there is a lot to learn about what it takes to be the champion on the court or in business.

It’s without question that accuracy is one of the most important aspects to winning the championship title. Like any game of basketball, the way you win is by shooting baskets with great accuracy and scoring points. Accuracy is even measured from free throw shot percentage to how many three pointers were sunk. Accuracy also plays a massive roll in logistics operations. Operation managers are responsible for managing and maintaining company accuracy reports for order picking, on-time deliveries, and invoices. Data is extremely powerful when it comes to managing a logistics business and having accuracy data available for operations teams can significantly impact if your business is a “winner” or not.

Another key ingredient in winning the National Championship is knowing your competitor. Typically, teams in the bracket are facing off between teams they don’t typically play against in the regular season. It’s important to study up on who your opponent is, what kind of defense should you play? Who is the primary shooter? All of these questions are key in developing a strategy to advancing in the bracket. For logistics it’s important to understand your competition and how to differentiate yourself from the unbelievable amount of logistics companies out there. How fast can a product be delivered? How much does it cost to store my product? are questions that companies should ask themselves to set them ahead of the competition. It’s also important to make sure your company is constantly researching and educating themselves on industry trends. Combining accuracy with  knowing your competitors is the winning formula not only for the NCAA Tournament but for your logistics company.

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