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

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

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

“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.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news and/or follow us on Twitter @UCanTrade.

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

(Source)

UPS, FedEx, USPS and Amazon gearing up for the holidays

By: Jim Pettinger

The 2015 holiday shopping season in the U.S. extends from Black Friday (November 27) to Christmas Eve (December 24), and this year will include one more day than last. Three volume spikes are expected, including Cyber Monday and the first two Mondays in December. The National Retail Federation expects sales in November and December to grow 3.7% to $630.5 billion, with e-commerce sales continuing to grow at a faster rate than brick-and-mortar sales.

After experiencing missed delivery dates in recent years, the major players are all promising (hoping?) to deliver on time this year. However, there may not be enough people in North America to fill the millions of part time jobs being offered by both carriers and retailers. Consequently, shippers and buyers should be both proactive and creative to insure against disappointment.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news and/or follow us on Twitter @UCanTrade.

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

 

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.

Sign up HERE to receive current cross-border news & upcoming BC / WA trade events.

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

Packaging – Not Just Impacting Retailers’ Shipping Costs

BY: UCanTrade Staff

With e-commerce on the rise, it’s worthwhile to examine the critical role packaging plays in order fulfillment, a consumer’s satisfaction and how it can influence their willingness to re-purchase or refer your good/service.
Reverse Logistics, Packaging
According to a 2014 online poll ‘Packaging for E-Commerce Success survey’ (conducted by Harris Poll), “58 percent of consumers say that if they receive a damaged or broken product from an online order, they would either consider purchasing from a competitor or would not purchase from that retailer again.” Not only is quality packaging important to protect the goods, it’s important to protect your reputation! (Source)

The survey also indicated packaging is perceived by consumers – particularly those between 18 – 35 years old, as a reflection of the quality of your goods. In other words, better packaging means a better product.

Another important consumer expectation e-commerce retailers really need to know to be successful is that consumers expect an order to be packaged and shipped within 24 hours or less after placing their online order.
Order Fulfillment
At UCanTrade, Inc., we work closely with our clients to fulfill their customer’s orders accurately and quickly. However, we’ve seen first-hand, in the form of returns and repairs, when retailer packaging falls short.

Peering at packaging through an ‘e-commerce lens’, it becomes evident, proper packaging doesn’t just impact a retailers’ shipping cost. Clearly good packaging choices play a huge role in avoiding returns, guaranteeing good customer service and ensuring an overall positive experience that will keep consumers coming back again and again.

Trade Tips Blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc.

UCanTrade Logo Frame Paths

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