Posted on 15/01/14, filed under 3PL, Supply Chain Logistics | No Comments
How well did your supply chain perform over Christmas?
Is your New Year resolution to improve the efficiency of your logistics?
A well-run supply chain is vital to the success of a business; any failures or incompetencies can lead to unhappy customers and loss of business.
An exceptional logistics strategy is important for businesses providing products and services to customers. Such a strategy will guarantee your service levels are at their highest at all times, especially where any changes or problems arise. The bottom line for businesses with a supply chain is to provide an excellent service for the lowest cost.
Here are our top tips to improve your logistics:
1. Be clear on the purpose of your logistics – clearly articulating the purpose and the goal of your logistics and how it supports the whole operation is the foundation of a successful logistics plan.
2. Understand the degree to which logistics impacts operations – know what factors are crucial, e.g. timely deliveries, and what constraints you may have, e.g. budget, resources and your existing network of providers.
3. Align your logistics plan with your business’ mission – for instance, if your business mission is moving goods faster than your competitors, then your logistics should be based on speed not costs, or if your business mission is quality, then your logistics goal should be striving to achieve 100% fulfillment on orders. Tailor your logistical processes, infrastructure, information systems and organisation of people with your company’s mission.
4. Utilise your competencies – if you don’t have the in-house knowledge or skill to manage your own logistics, it’s easier and safer to outsource to a third party logistics company. Having a 3PL company at your disposal with their established IT resources and experienced transportation management solutions, will allow you more time to focus on your strengths and other key parts of running your business.
5. Practice demand-driven logistics – this is all about matching the demand of your products with their supply. Replacing inventory with information enables you to provide a better service to your customers and delivers strategic benefits to your entire supply chain.
6. Gain visibility to optimise service and cost – it is all about low cost and delivering a great service and this is achieved by having end-to-end visibility of your network. Partnering with a 3PL company helps you build a solid transaction and information foundation because they have the people, processes and technology needed to execute and gain the visibility required to monitor cost and service performance.
Speak to the team at RT Page now about improving your supply chain in 2014. Our team has over 50 years’ experience in warehousing and supply chain logistics. Call us now on 01903 736300 or visit our Contact Us page.
Posted on 17/12/13, filed under Uncategorized | No Comments
Jack Frost has made a grand entrance this year and while the frosty mornings may make the world look pretty, frost and ice present potential issues that could affect your warehousing and supply chain. Even without adverse weather, Britain’s roads become busier at this time of year, as Christmas shoppers hit the high streets and millions of online purchases are trucked the length and breadth of the country to bring joy to their recipients.
The Christmas rush means it’s even more important that you’re prepared to deal with what the UK’s winter weather may throw at you. At RT Page we know that being prepared for harsh winters can prevent your productivity being affected.
Prepare for delays externally and internally
The snow and icy weather can wreak havoc with warehouse logistics, both internally and externally. Roads can become dangerous causing traffic to frequently build up or slow, or roads to be closed completely. These can result in delays or potentially cancelations of deliveries and ultimately unhappy customers. Delays and lack of productivity can also occur inside the warehouse if staff are unable to travel into work.
Prepare your customer communications
Ultimately, delays due to the weather may be unavoidable, so consider how you’re going to communicate delays and problems to your customers before it’s too late. Plan how you’ll alert customers that a delay is likely or has occurred and pre-empt an apology, possibly with an offer, such as money off their next order or refunding their delivery charge.
How did you manage to tackle issues such as delays last year, do you have any plans this year? With issues like lack of staff or customers not receiving their order on time, it is all about foreseeing potential problems and preparing for them in advance.
To help you manage your orders and logistics during the lead up to Christmas read our 4 Must-Knows for Ecommerce Businesses This Christmas.
Need some advice for your warehousing logistics before the Big Freeze? Speak to the experts at RT Page to find out how we can help manage your business during the winter weather. Call us now on 01903 736300
Posted on 02/12/13, filed under 3PL | No Comments
Today’s ever-changing business and economic environment can make you question what is better – managing your logistics yourself or outsourcing them to a professional company?
Handling logistics yourself may seem like an attractive proposition, with many seeing it as a way to save money (by not outsourcing), however it can end up costing you more if problems occur that then decrease productivity. In-house logistics is also often hampered by a lack of resources and competence.
Outsourcing logistics may at first seem like the costly option, however the benefits to businesses of third party supply chain logistics are becoming more and more apparent. Once viewed as simply a service provider, 3PL providers are increasingly becoming long-term strategic partners to their clients.
Equally, 3PL firms do not offer a one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave solution to your logistics. The best in the business, like RT Page, will tailor their services to your business needs, and work in partnership with you to give you the best possible service, allowing you to remain in control. Perhaps there are some logistics you would rather keep in-house and others you would outsource and not have to worry about – order paperwork comes to mind!
3PL provides businesses with a reliable logistics advantage and maximises profitability through combined knowledge and resources. Outsourcing can even optimise your in-house logistics and as a result, management of entire production operations is made easier, ultimately bringing about savings in logistics costs.
Benefits of Outsourcing:
- Outsourced 3PL providers can fully manage your supply chain logistics, so you can focus on your business.
- Having a reliable service to manage your logistics and maintain your good reputation.
- Saves you time and money by having experienced professionals with special resources and facilities, which reduces and eliminates any supply chain failures.
Having a 3PL provider as a strategic partner can take your business to the next level and increase its productivity, efficiency and reliability.
Posted on 15/11/13, filed under 3PL, Pick and Pack, Storage Space, Supply Chain Logistics, Warehousing | No Comments
Annual Inventory – a physical count of all warehouse products conducted on a yearly basis.
Batch Picking – simultaneously selecting stock items to fill multiple orders. The orders are batched together to reduce the amount of journeys to the same locations within the warehouse.
Cross-dock – products that are not put away, or stored, in the warehouse. Instead stock is temporarily stored at the dock to be delivered or placed on another vehicle to be shipped.
Dispatching – carrier activities such as arranging for fuel, drivers, crews, equipment and terminal space.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) – exchanging information with the client via IT, including orders, invoices, shipping forms and other documents. EDI reduces costs, time delays and errors due to eliminating paper-based information.
Fulfilment – picking and processing orders for shipping from a distribution or warehouse.
Gross Weight – the total weight including the weight of the container and packaging (tare weight) and the weight of the goods (net weight).
Handling Costs – the costs of moving, transferring, preparing, and handling inventory.
In-house Damage – a product that is damaged whilst it’s stored in the warehouse (e.g. dropped product).
Just-in-Time (JIT) – an inventory control system that coordinates demand and supply so materials arrive just in time when they are needed in order to reduce storage and holding costs.
Kitting – assembling products or components into defined units in the warehouse.
Logistics – planning, implementing and controlling procedures to make processes efficient and effective, such as storage of goods, services and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption to fulfil customer requirements.
Manifest – a document which includes descriptions of individual orders contained within a shipment.
Net Weight – the weight of the product excluding packing materials.
Order Picking – gathering a customer’s order from the items in storage.
Putaway – the time it takes to put stock in its final location from the time it was unloaded.
Quality Control – ensuring that goods and services or purchases meet the product or service specifications.
Replenishment – moving or resupplying inventory from an upstream storage location to a downstream facility in which picking is performed.
Slotting – determining the optimal placement and location for products in the warehouse judging by its dimensions and how often it is picked.
Third Party Logistics (3PL) – when a company’s logistics operations are outsourced to a logistics management company.
Unplanned Order – orders that do not fit into the volumes determined by the plans developed from the forecasts.
Variable Cost – a cost that fluctuates with the volume or activity level of the business, i.e. how much the product is being used or produced.
Warehouse Management System (WMS) – a software programme that determines putaway, replenishment and picking in order to manage the movement and storage of product in the warehouse.
Zone Picking – dividing a picking list by areas (zones) within a warehouse to increase efficiency and rapid order picking.
Posted on 24/10/13, filed under 3PL, eCommerce tips, Storage Space, Supply Chain Logistics, Warehousing | No Comments
It happens every year. Christmas seems moons away and then all of a sudden it’s upon us. If you’re an ecommerce business then getting prepared for the Christmas rush early is essential to success.
Ensure your marketing and supply chain is in order and business will run smoothly, but failing to make a head start on these Christmas preparation must-dos will leave you quivering in the wake of your competitors. Read on to find out more:
1. What, if any, promotional offers are you going to run?
If you were in business last year then this will be easy. Review what sold well on its own last Christmas and those items that could use a little extra push – those with a high profit margin for example. This will make deciding upon promotions easy.
2. Do you need to order in extra stock?
A check of your stock levels should be a top level priority when organising yourself for Christmas. During this busy period it’s always better to overstock, rather than run out of goods completely two weeks before the big day. Speak to your warehouse management companyas you may need to increase the number of pallets and storage space.
3. What changes need to be made to your delivery service?
The Christmas period will undoubtedly have an impact on any existing service level agreements which you have in place, from warehousing through to transport and delivery. Speak to every party to work out how much of an adjustment you need to make to your delivery promises to your customers. If you employ a warehouse management companythird party logistics (3PL) company this will be much easier, as it’s all managed under one roof.
4. What are the last order dates?
Make sure you know the last order dates before Christmas and inform your customers, both to cover your back in case orders don’t arrive in time and as a marketing tactic.
Need help with your warehousing and logistics chain this Christmas? Speak to the experts at RT Page to find out how we can help manage your Christmas rush. Call us now on 01903 736300.