The impact of e-commerce on truck manufacturing.

There’s little doubt digital online buying – a.k.a. the ‘Amazon Effect’, is impacting traditional retailers, especially since Walmart has stepped up to the plate to compete with Amazon in this competitive e-commerce space.  While consumers enjoy the benefits of their e-commerce ‘warfare’, another dynamic to the ‘Amazon Effect’ being brought into the forefront is truck and trailer manufacturing.

The supply procedure of any online purchase is run ‘not as a marathon but rather as a relay,’ says Bruce Sauer, of Truck/Body Builder. Adding, “Track coaches typically assign their fastest, most reliable runner to anchor the final leg of the race. It’s where many relays are won and lost”. His clever analogy highlights the importance and emphasis supply chain management and 3PL (third party logistics) companies are putting on the ‘final mile’ – the shipping, handling and delivery phase, of any e-commerce order.  Retailers need to be paying attention too.

Delivery vehicles are being re-designed to have better maneuverability at distribution and fulfillment centers moving away from full truckload models to more ‘metro-friendly freight patterns.’  Additionally, vehicles will likely be lighter and also get better gas mileage; ‘optimized’ so as to maximize cargo space and keep drivers comfortable, safe and able to conduct their job most efficiently. E-commerce has created a ‘trucking revolution’ that has really only just begun.

Since the physical size of the United States remains enormous, trailers will remain to play a vital role says Brent Yeagy, president and chief operating officer at Wabash National, a leading producer of commercial trucking equipment.  However, “E-commerce is not linear,” Yeagy says, “It’s growing exponentially. And its implications for the trucking industry promise to be more disruptive than 99% of us can even fathom at this point.”

Consumer expectations are also a big influencer. AlixPartners, LLP recently found in their 2016 Consumer Shipping Survey, seventy-five percent of e-commerce consumers are ‘greatly impacted’ by free shipping when they are making purchasing decisions. ‘Free and fast’ are what consumers expect and this expectation is another reason delivery vehicle manufacturers are rethinking their designs.

Simply put, a consumers’ last impression of a retailer is based upon their interaction with the ‘delivery company’.  An all out effort to streamline the supply chain down to redefining the design of the delivery truck, are underway.  Ultimately, consistent and reliable order fulfillment and delivery are imperative to any successful e-commerce retailer’s sustainability – especially in the competitive U.S. market.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
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Phone: 360-380-6900
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Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: Alix Partners, LLP article: “Final-Mile Delivery: What Do Online Shoppers Want? And How Should Retailers and Their Logistics Partners Respond?”)

(Source: Truck/Body Builder, “How the shipping model of e-commerce is impacting truck body and trailer manufacturers –the ‘Amazon effect’ of fast, free shipping re-routes truck body/trailer builders’ thinking”.)

Omnichannel Consumer

Evolving beyond ‘multi-channel retailing’, omnichannel is all about creating ‘a seamless consumer experience’ and is being called ‘the future of retail’.

A recent survey from the Harvard Business Review states omnichannel consumers are “shoppers who engage with retailers across multiple touchpoints” adding “[they] are driving boosts in conversion rates both online and offline” making them one of the most if not, THE most valuable consumer in the retail market.  One of the reasons they’re so valuable is because consumers shopping from multiple resources versus from just one allows multiple opportunities to buy.  Further, the survey reportedly states, “[omnichannel consumers have] become increasingly reliant on more than one channel to aid in their purchasing decisions.”  Therefore, consumers are getting to know brands and establishing their loyalties across these multiple digital and in-person channels as well.

The phenomenon is forcing retailers – both traditional brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce merchants, to supply multiple (digital) shopping tools in order to attract ‘the larger audience’.  In the case of the ‘physical retailers’, it’s in their best interest to invest in multiple digital omnichannel tools as well as their online counterparts since digitally promoting ‘in-store visits’ has been proven to increase foot traffic into stores.

It’s becoming more and more apparent Business to Consumer (B2C) companies must consider an omnichannel marketing strategy but one significant factor in their marketing strategies often overlooked is logistics.  “You can’t have marketing without logistics,” says Jim Pettinger, president of UCanTrade, Inc.

Recall that at the center of any omnichannel approach is the consumer.  Retailers (physical &/or online) need to plan for a ‘seamless consumer experience’.  They need to ensure an easy shopping experience – products are easily found, ordering & payment transactions are simple and smooth; the consumer receives what they ordered intact, quickly and can return it just as easily if they change their mind.

Companies using off-shore manufacturers need to plan cost-effective, customer centric product and packaging designs.  In a time where consumer expectations are high, ecommerce is exploding and dimensional shipping is the norm, partnering with an expert in international shipping and handling can be invaluable. (Related article:  E-Commerce returns – Tips to reduce costs)
TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: http://omnichannel.me/what-is-omnichannel/http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-omnichannel-consumers-are-more-valuable-2017-1)

E-Commerce Returns – Tips to reduce costs

UPS reports high volumes of ‘holiday returns’ following 2016’s ‘unprecedented volume of online sales’.  E-Commerce returns present new challenges for sellers but in particular for Canadian e-commerce companies selling to U.S. consumers.

Even for U.S. e-commerce retailers it’s a struggle to find balance between often unanticipated reverse logistics costs and satisfying their customers’ high expectations for ‘an easy shopping experience.’  It’s especially difficult for Canadian exporters.  Canadians benefit by having a return address IN the USA – near the border, rather than discourage possible sales with a Canadian return address. (Related article: Return to Sender)

While each return is unique, some suggest including a pre-addressed, self-adhering ‘return label’ with each original shipment for easy return to your U.S. address with a suggestion to reuse the original packaging.  Recycling the original shipping box w/packing materials for reverse logistics purposes can reduce damage and shipping costs since most carriers ‘charge by dimensional weight standards’ (Related article: UPS / Fed-Ex Switch to Dimensional Weight).

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(source)

“Commodity” versus “value-added” order fulfillment

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

Third-party fulfillment warehouses have existed for many years, originally developing to handle “mail order” from various catalog companies, large and small. However, with the recent explosion of e-commerce and other internet sales, it’s become a whole new ball game. A major trend is the differentiation between low-cost, high-volume “commodity” sales, mainly to consumers, and higher-price, lower-volume sales, both to consumers and businesses (e.g., retailers). Typically, the latter require a variety of “value-added’ services because their customers have more clout and can request special services, such as unique packaging, price tags and point-of-sale materials. Unfortunately, many “newbies’ to the fulfillment game are caught in between because they have few sales and need “hand-holding” as they learn the ropes. We usually recommend they invest in some initial hand-holding from a value-added fulfillment company while they work through their initial marketing, product and packaging issues.

Naturally, the largest and most prominent example of a modern commodity fulfillment operation is “Fulfillment by Amazon” (FBA). If you’re new to the game, it’s worth doing some research via Google to fully understand the requirements and costs (fees, surcharges and returns).

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

In Praise of the Lowly Pallet

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to a recent article in Inbound Logistics magazine, “Some 80 percent of all U.S. commerce is carried on pallets, making them an indispensable part of nearly every supply chain.” They estimate there are over 2 billion pallets circulating around the United States of all sizes and makeup. The most common standard size of 40-inch by 48-inch is set by the grocery industry, but many other sizes are also used.

Many newer businesses using our third-party logistics services are not aware of the most common ramifications, including (1) fumigation requirements when receiving wood pallets from offshore, (2) the “art” of stacking wrapping and banding a pallet so it will withstand frequent handling and cross-docking along its journey, (3) the cost of pallets and shipping materials needed to properly palletize an outbound shipment, and (4) the issue of dealing with grossly oversize, cheaply stacked and non-reusable incoming pallets from suppliers trying to minimize their cost. As usual, pre-planning and consultation with experts is always a good idea.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Article Link: Inbound Logistics

Optimize For Customers. Optimize Your Business.

So much more than business analysis or software upgrades, optimizing your business means taking a global approach to reviewing the processes required to satisfy your customers’ needs.

By definition, to optimize, is to make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource).  “It is not something only for the big companies,” says Casian Glavce, General Manager at Hewitt Material Handling, “if you do not optimize, you’re not going to be in business.”  This is particularly true for small and medium exporters where the supply chain process is very involved and oversights can cripple a business.

Packaging optimization for example, which is often overlooked, can significantly impact a company’s transportation costs which ultimately impacts pricing, one of the most important decisions a business owner has to make.  Inefficient order fulfillment can also be costly.

UCT Ops Mgr, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

UCanTrade’s Operations Manager, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

JR White, director, solutions engineering at KNAPP explains, “With the ecommerce orders … items can’t just be dumped into a shipping carton willy-nilly. There is a logical order to the packing that prevents damage and ensures the order arrives neatly presented to the customer. In other words, the shoes are not on top of the shirts.  That’s the first thing the customer sees and if you screw that up they’re not going to like it. They’re going to complain about it online and then ten other people aren’t going to shop here—all because of one missed order.” Accurate, considerate order fulfillment dramatically impact a company’s sales and market sustainability.

Through an ‘export lens’, trade experts and government organizations can provide invaluable assistance to help you outline your ‘best, most effective’ plan, to both optimize for your customer’s needs while simultaneously optimizing your business goals and returns on investments.

Interested in doing business in the United States?  Learn more at our upcoming seminar, October 19, 2016 in Richmond, B.C. Canada.  (Click HERE for more information.)

(Related: Six Eyes On Every BoxHow Much Should I Charge My U.S. Customers? )

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source article)

Selling to big retailers? Beware of charge-backs.

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

In recent years, most “big box” retailers have followed Walmart’s lead by introducing “Vendor Compliance” programs. While understandable due to the huge volume of goods being received, the practice has also come under criticism for becoming a “revenue stream” rather than a reasonable business practice. Typical reasons for “fines” of $250 or more can include: early/late delivery, ASN/EDI violations, improper labels, purchase order violations, pricing errors, overages/shortages, broken pallets and damaged cartons.

Our advice to Canadians entering the US market has always been, “build your distribution channel from the bottom up”. There are thousands of local and regional retailers with whom you can build a “win-win” personal relationship while learning the ropes. And when you do venture into deeper water, make sure you negotiate profitable pricing and work with a third-party logistics company that can help you minimize delivery issues.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

UberRUSH expanding options for courier delivery

By: Jim Pettinger, President and CEO at UCanTrade, Inc.

Along with Amazon, Google and others, Uber has entered the market to provide low-cost local delivery service.  According to its website, “When you tap into the UberRUSH network, you pay only for the deliveries you make.  Nothing more.  And because couriers don’t need to make round trips, you can actually expand your delivery zone.”  Although possibly making UPS and FedEx a little nervous, like ride-hailing, the more likely outcome will be an overall increase in the volume of users and uses.  Additional info can be found in this article published by The Verge.

Subscribe to our TradeTips newsletter HERE and stay current on upcoming BC / WA Trade Events and Cross-Border News.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

B.C. Businesses Cut Cross-Border Costs

“Canadian companies want to consolidate several small shipments into a larger one to minimize customs clearance costs,” says Jim Pettinger, UCanTrade, Inc.’s president and CEO. “This is where UCanTrade can step in and provide cross docking services and work in conjunction with our client’s U.S. Customs Broker to expedite this process at a low cost.”

Further, UCanTrade’s state-of-the-art warehouse and shipping facility, conveniently located on I-5 only 10 minutes (24 km) from the border in Blaine, WA, is strategically positioned to help British Columbia businesses save money. Our cross-docking, ‘pick-and-pack’ and third party logistics (3PL) services, combined with years of cross-border experience, give our clients a competitive advantage. By eliminating the border, Canadian businesses lower their shipping and handling costs whereby increasing their profits.

Noteworthy, if you are making acquisitions in the United States, ask your vendor if they offer free delivery to addresses in the U.S.  If they do, call us for cross-docking services and you could save thousands on freight fees and international shipping charges.

Get in touch with the logistics experts at UCanTrade, Inc. today, and find out how your company can save money with cross-border cross-docking and 3PL services.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

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What in the world is Amazon doing now?

By: Jim Pettinger, President & CEO of UCanTrade, Inc.

Spend a little time on Google and you will soon discover that Amazon is slowly but surely expanding its logistics reach both vertically and horizontally. Vertically, by investing in ships, planes, trucks, drones and warehouses, and horizontally by establishing operations around the globe from Europe to Asia and beyond. And besides all that, they are tying it all together with a staggering array of “web services”.

Order fulfillment and international logistics services.

A recent example is their expansion into ocean freight forwarding as reported recently in this article distributed by Reuters. As a former stockbroker, I remain amazed how Amazon can make this happen with a reported P/E ratio over 500 as compared to Apple at a paltry P/E of about 15. Perhaps this article in Yahoo! Finance will clear it up for you.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Subscribe HERE to receive our TradeTips Newsletter – Cross-Border News & Upcoming Events in the Pacific Corridor