3PL Third Party Logistics – A Strategic Expansion Partner

Doing Business in the U.S.A.

Successful international business expansion to the United States hinges on thoughtful, well informed pre-planning and reliable cross-border partnerships. Domestic and foreign accountants, immigration and business lawyers, customs brokers and logistics (marketing, warehousing, order fulfillment and distribution) specialists all play key roles in a Canadian company’s export success into the U.S.A. (Cross-border Resources).

Trade laws, regulations and policies dictate financial, business, immigration and import/export options and – under expert council, allow companies a certain level of decisiveness.  Logistics however, due to the nature of supply chain management, makes the deduction of risks and cost variables much more difficult to identify, particularly in a foreign market as large and diverse as the U.S.

Are U.S. Sales Worth the Risk?

The short answer is yes. Americans are back to work and they’re buying. Not only are they buying domestically but they’re buying foreign goods and services in greater quantities as well. In addition to the strong economy, exchange rates always make selling into the states beneficial (Exchange Rate). When the Loonie is low, you can invest Canadian capital more economically, and when it’s high, you can earn a premium on your USA sales. In addition to Americans shopping and favorable exchange rates, foreign manufactures are very anxious to sell into the booming USA economy too. Importing quality goods from Europe and Asia into the USA is another terrific business opportunity to consider. (Read more: “Eight reasons to expand to the USA – today!”)

How Do You Choose the Right Logistics Partner?

With so many 3PLs (Third Party Logistics) to choose from it’s important to match the logistics company’s expertise with your specific requirements. Like UCanTrade, Inc. many companies for example have multiple locations ‘dedicated to certain types of fulfillment’. In addition to expertise and warehousing capabilities the following questions will help determine how a 3PL ‘measures up’:

  • What are their order fulfillment strengths? B2B, B2C or both.
  • Which categories of goods do they specialize in handling? I.e. hard goods, pharma, food etc.
  • What types of shipping/handling methods do they use? I.e. ‘kit assembly, continuation plans’ etc.
  • Does their technology and systems support your fulfillment needs?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What size companies do they typically serve and how does that compare with your business?
  • Can they manage scalability and growth?

It’s very important that once you’ve shortlisted your 3PL candidates take a team and tour their facilities.

3PL As A Strategic Expansion Partner

An experienced business and logistics service provider (especially one based in the United States) becomes a strategic partner in your international business expansion enterprise weighing in on marketing, packaging, and pricing strategies, as well as planning for order returns/repairs. Their experience will help to mitigate the risks and distribution costs associated with selling and shipping goods and services in the states. The right 3PL will provide your business the ‘platform for growth and efficiency’ necessary in achieving sustainability selling to your US market and beyond.

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)

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)

Order Returns – Cause and Effect

Attributed to the overwhelming increase in e-commerce holiday orders, UPS has hailed January 5th ‘National Returns Day’ because of the volume of product returns it manages during the first week of January – in particular on the 5th.

Ecommerce is on the rise and it’s not only putting increased pressure on shipping couriers like FedEx and UPS but the entire supply chain (Related Article: A Logistics Revolution). While business increases all parties struggle to adapt to the demand. In order to ‘stay ahead of the curve’ both shipping giants have partnered with specialized companies, like UCanTrade, Inc., to better control the costs and challenges presented by “reverse logistics”.

Further, their specialized third party logistics (3PL) partners work closely with retailers/e-tailers to establish (among other things) an effective return policy to best maximize their profits. “[An] easy-to-use returns experience should be one of several retail strategies to enhance customer loyalty and manage the cost of returns processing,” said UPS chief marketing officer Teresa Finley.

This is especially true for Canadian (e-commerce) companies exporting their goods to the U.S. and selling to American consumers; notorious for their high customer service expectations. An effective return policy can give exporters a competitive advantage not only with other Canadian businesses but also with US retailers as well. (Related Article: Return to Sender – What’s Your Policy?)

Consider your supply chain, the cause and effect of returns and then manage it in both directions – there AND back.

UCanTrade, Inc. is a boutique, third-party logistics and warehousing services provider situated 15 minutes south of the B.C. / Washington State, Blaine border crossings. Proudly providing business and logistics services to Canadian importers and exporters, since 1984.

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)

A Logistics Revolution?

U.S. Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official beginning of America’s holiday shopping season and with it comes what we in supply chain management refer to as reverse logistics – better known as returns!

Based on data from the U.S. Commerce Department, online sales represent 11% of 2016 retail sales and are expected to increase by 20% more over the next 5 years.  Exacerbated by the increase in online demand, order fulfillment centers are being forced to rethink their ‘efulfillment’ procedures – how to meet online consumer demand as well as how they handle reverse logistics / returns, reports Supply Chain Digest.  Retail chains Macy’s and JC Penny reportedly both had ‘major store closures’ during 2016 due to merchandise handling issues.

One FedEx representative, Jonathan Radar says, “Ecommerce is standing [the Logistics] industry on its ear” due to high consumer expectations – “I want it here, I want it there, and I want it now.”  Voxware, a service provider of cloud based solutions for distribution operators, conducted a survey supporting this statement.  Voxware’s president Keith Phillips claims their survey revealed “online shoppers, especially during the four days surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, place the same if not higher demands on distribution operations for fast and accurate delivery as during any other time of the holiday season.”

Large fulfillment companies are challenged to meet this demand.  “There is the emerging trend of small urban warehouses,” says Radar, “developed to speed local deliveries now often made in just a matter of hours.”  The returns issue and how to handle it though remains ever evolving.  (Related article: “Return to Sender” – What’s Your Policy?).

Smaller third party logistics partners (3PL) like UCanTrade, Inc. can bridge the gap between etailer and consumer by providing the hands-on attention to detail required to insure order accuracy and timely deliveries while also handling returns, repairs, or re-stocking issues.  (Related Article: Six Eyes On Every Box). They’re better equipped to fulfill the order supply chain ‘from the consumer back’.

Learn more about UCanTrade, Inc.’s U.S.A. Business and Logistics Services – visit our Website, subscribe to our Newsletter for latest trade news and events and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

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 Links: Early Shoppers have higher fulfillment expectations and MHI Conference Panel Recap – Focus on Supply Chain and Consumer)

 

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

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

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.

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

“Return to Sender” – What’s Your Policy?

According to UPS, January 6th is officially ‘National Returns Day’. The global shipping giant reportedly expects to handle approximately 5 million package returns by the end of the first week in January with over a million consumer returns on January 6th alone! With online shopping exponentially increasing each year, particularly during the holiday season, e-commerce retailers need to consider their return policies.

Returns play a huge role in a buyer’s decision process. Structuring a ‘flexible policy’ to provide online shoppers with ‘free, fast and easy returns’ helps make a consumer feel much more comfortable buying something sight unseen. UPS reports just 32% of retailers offer free returns. Further, less than half outline a ‘merchandise exchange timeline’ which, UPS says, “is a key component of the return policy that is viewed by 88% of online shoppers.”

Canadian retailers and small businesses expanding their businesses online and selling into the U.S. market should recognize a no-hassle return policy will give them a competitive edge in a very competitive market.

Establishing a business identity in the USA and using reliable trade partners can eliminate unnecessary border crossings, clearance expenses, freight costs and time delays while providing your American customer base with the reliable, quick turnarounds they’re after.

If you need a trusted (reverse) logistics partner to handle your USA warehousing and ‘pick & pack’ shipping needs with accuracy and attention to detail, please consider our team at UCanTrade, Inc. (Ref. “Six Eyes On Every Box”)

To learn more about our Technical Repair and Return Services click HERE or call us at 360-380-6900.

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

Six Eyes On Every Box

By: UCanTrade

Technology is great. We love technology. But relying on machines alone without human verification can cause things to go haywire.

That’s why at UCanTrade, every shipment is triple checked before it leaves our warehouse not once, not twice, but three times.

In the warehousing and logistics industry, a 1-2% error rate is considered standard. Sending 1 or 2 of every 100 packages to the wrong address is “business as usual” in many operations.

That’s not good enough for our clients, and it’s not good enough for us. So, we triple-check everything before it ships.

Our staff are some of the most experienced in the industry, and not one, not two, but three of our warehouse professionals view, verify, and sign off on every box before it leaves our warehouse.

The result? An accuracy rate of over 99.8%.

Reverse Logistics, Shipping, Handling, Warehousing

Experienced staff. Triple-checked shipments. Six eyes on every box.

If you need a trusted logistics partner to handle your USA warehousing and ‘pick & pack’ shipping needs with accuracy and attention to detail, Call us at 360-380-6900.

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

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