Expedited Freight and Shipping in the Pharmaceutical Industry: How 3PL Companies Contribute to Success

In the pharmaceutical industry, few factors matter more than a backing of solid, reliable, flexible logistics. Knowing that you can trust expedited freight to arrive in the hands of the manufacturers, medical professionals, and researchers is key to the business, yet many manufacturers settle for sub-par solutions—and suffering for it on their bottom line. Working with a 3PL company familiar with the myriad necessities of the pharmaceutical industry, capable of delivering expedited freight and shipping anywhere you need it to be, with all the appropriate precautions, isn’t just a good idea; it’s a game-changer.

Shipping

What 3PL Companies Bring to Logistics

To understand the advantages a pharmaceutical company might see in its logistics by working with a 3PL, consider the nature of such a company: Experts specializing in the singular task of getting things where they need to be, undistracted by other concerns except as they interfere with the issue at hand. Most companies simply cannot afford the upkeep of a dedicated staff focused entirely on this single issue, but by utilizing a 3PL, you get that expertise sans the associated capital costs of hiring, training, and maintaining such a team with the latest in tools and software.

Expedited Freight without Error

By working with a 3PL to handle expedited freight, a pharmaceutical business gains the benefits of speed without error—the practiced familiarity of a specialist in logistics cannot be underestimated as a benefit for this reason alone. A familiarity with regulations, regional laws, changes in shipping expectations, and myriad other details which might slip by a non-specialist logistics officer will be caught and compensated for by a company specializing solely in offering top-notch freight and shipping options. It doesn’t matter, after all, how quickly you’re expedited freight should reach its destination, if a mistake makes it arrive much later.

Flexibility and Increased Security

A 3PL inherently offers flexibility in all forms of expedited freight and day-to-day shipping solutions, because such a company needs to be equipped and ready to meet the needs of very different client corporations. This means that unlike an in-house logistics team, a 3PL never runs into unfamiliar situations, needs to rush to arrange something they’ve never worked on before, or finds itself caught up by issues of scalability and general flexibility. When pharmaceutical reps receive goods, clients can have peace of mind with scheduled appointment times and restricted signatures. By working with a 3PL, pharmaceutical businesses can confidently adjust to the market and know they have a reliable logistics solution ready to keep up.

Meeting Special Situations

Ultimately, the biggest trap in pharmaceutical industry logistics lay in unusual situations, unanticipated by anyone. The regulations at hand, the expectations of customers and business partners, the limitations of even the most expedited freight system, these come together to produce scenarios with no clear ‘win’ in sight. By working with a 3PL, however, you gain access to the single trait most valuable in resolving unusual circumstances: experience. The varied logistical experience of a 3PL’s staff, combined with the myriad tools and data such a company keeps at hand, mean you’re far more likely to develop workable solutions to the messiest expedited freight situations when you engage the services of one.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, it falls to each individual company to determine the benefits it might see from working with a 3PL—if you’re confident in your in-house solutions and rarely encounter problems, you may consider the expenditure unnecessary. Just keep in mind that even well-established systems can be streamlined and perfected with the assistance of an extra set of eyes and the application of specialized tools—and when you perfect your logistics, streamlining expedited freight and cutting wasteful spending in the process, you’re certain to see an improvement on the bottom line.

STC Logistics specializes in expedited freight logistics solutions, including ground shipping, for the pharmaceutical industry. We are one of the top trusted pharmaceutical logistics companies in NJ. To learn more about our pharmaceutical logistics, click below!

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How to Avoid Last-Minute Retail Logistics Mishaps

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industrial port with containers

A misstep with your retail logistics can cause dramatic profit losses even when you see it coming from a mile away–when you’re blindsided by last-minute mishap, those losses become nearly inevitable. With that hard fact in mind, it behooves a retailer content to protect its profitability by working out flexible, reliable, trustworthy logistics solutions. For most businesses, there’s one simple way to manage this: the services of a reputable Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider. Wondering how a 3PL can empower retail logistics, improve bottom lines, and insulate companies from last-minute mishaps? Read on.

What a 3PL Offers

At its core, what a 3PL offers is the experience and efficacy of an advanced in-house logistics team without the associated costs of hiring, training, outfitting, and maintaining such a team full time. By leveraging that level of experience and familiarity with retail logistics on a part-time basis, you can achieve much greater efficiency in every aspect of your supply chain—which means big savings and big profits, in the long term.

And unlike an in-house team, a 3PL has zero issues with scalability, myriad tools which may only see use in unusual circumstances, and many other advantages of adaptability which a savvy retailer can leverage to their benefit. Few retail logistics solutions offer as much.

Avoiding Retail Logistics Mishaps

By working together with a 3PL to develop flexible retail logistics strategies, you can minimize or even eliminate the opportunity for most mishaps to arise. When regulations change, or a particular shipping route becomes less effective and thus less profitable, a 3PL will be far more likely to spot that change and adapt accordingly—saving you from wasteful shipping, delays, and other retail logistics nightmares.

But even the greatest plan and greatest analysis can’t offer 100% coverage from all mistakes and unexpected occurrences. That’s where the other great strength of a 3PL comes to the rescue: the nature of a 3PL means a much greater agility in developing workaround solutions and last-minute logistical fixes than anything an in-house retail logistics team working with mainstream shipping services could provide.

Turn Logistical Traps into Opportunities

The savviest businesses will take their logistics one step further than safe, by turning the same events which become mishaps for their competitors into opportunities. By being the first business in your market to adapt to changing logistical situations, and thus maintaining lower prices or better offers than those competitors which took the shift’s full brunt, you can turn yesterday’s pitfalls into today’s grand opportunities. All it takes is flexibility and a willingness to act quickly to capitalize on such chances.

Final Thoughts

If you take the reliability of your logistics at all seriously, investing in the services of a 3PL provider may be the best option for your business—a cost-effective way to maximize the efficiency of your supply chains, avoid mishaps as they arise, and adapt to changes in the way you receive your retail goods. STC Logistics has several years of experience working in the retail procurement industry, providing reliable logistics solutions for new store openings, POP display campaigns, rollouts and distributions, and much more. Click below to learn more about our retail logistics services!

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Retail Procurement: Preparing for the Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, gifts and displays have been pouring into retail distribution centers. To be well organized for each upcoming holiday season, retailers must implement smart planning throughout the entire year, usually beginning in August. This will allow retail procurement to find the correct balance for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sprees, as well as the remainder of the holiday season.

Smart Planning

The simple steps to the procurement lifecycle that most individuals generally agree upon are as follows.

1. Information gathering
2. Supplier contact
3. Background review
4. Negotiation
5. Fulfillment
6. Consumption
7. Renewal

The most important aspect of smart planning in retail procurement is to order the correct quantities of products thus ensuring renewal demands are met. This includes contingency planning for natural disasters and consumer spending habits that can cause logistical disruptions. The goal of smart planning is to capture the greatest number of sales without being overburdened with excess stock.

In recent years, retail procurement has learned to balance merchandise by improving the overall supply chain. This accounts for improvements in the amount of products to purchase/manufacture, where to place them and how to get them to the stores. Two major contributors to these improvements are technology and flexible agreements with shipping lines.

Order Quantities

For brick-and-mortar stores, the key to a perfect holiday season is for retail procurement to predict the number of each product the company requires at each retailer. Although there is an arbitrary calculation, the correct answer varies greatly per location. The greatest challenges for retail procurement to calculate the correct quantities include:

  • Short timeframe
  • No selling activity to indicate buyer behavior
  • Over-stocking
  • Under-stocking

Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays

In addition to smart planning by retail procurement for products, companies must also create a strategy for POP displays which help drive costs from the supply chain. As a mechanism for advertising, POP displays create value in the retail stores with low labor cost. Therefore, these displays must arrive at the stores concurrent with the products to ensure a timely advertising campaign during the holidays. Therefore, it is critical that upstream logistics is involved in POP display design timelines as assembly and shipping is a major aspect of the process; not just design.

Consumer package goods companies want the POP display to differentiate from the competition through vivid colors and sharp graphics. In many instances, design creates the POP displays to be so complicated to assemble that it adds considerable labor costs, as well as time. In an effort to ship on-time, in some cases, logistics must use expensive transportation methods like air shipping.

Nevertheless, by including logistics and retail procurement in the design and production timeline, POP displays could be scheduled more efficiently to accommodate more cost efficient delivery avenues. By allowing 3PL’s to assist in mapping out the most advantageous transit schedules, improvements will allow for the most intricate displays to still have adequate assembly times.

Shipping POP Displays

Like any other product, there are certain precautions that must be taken when shipping POP displays which should be built into a contingency plan. During transit, shock and vibration can jostle and even damage the display, dirt and dust can collect, corrosion can occur (depending on the material) and exposure to a variety of temperatures can affect the overall appearance or functionality. Therefore, correct testing, proper protection and evaluation of the shipping routes will assist in ensuring safe transportation of the POP displays to their required destinations.

STC Logistics specializes in shipping retail procurement items like POP displays. We pride ourselves on the principal that when we ship your product, it is delivered on-time, 99% of the time. We are a trusted logistics provider for the retail industry and have a successful track record for reliable and flexible logistics solutions. Contact us for all of your holiday shipping needs here or click on the button below!

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The Impact of White Glove Service for Logistics Solutions

blog picThere are many different types of freight being shipped every day across land, air, and sea channels. Some items tend to be far more fragile than others,thus require specialized attention in order to prevent an imminent disaster. The most ideal logistics solutions needed for cargo of the most delicate nature will come from carriers who embrace the concepts behind white glove service and understand its overall importance. As a result of such diligence, any business can feel secure knowing that their logistics affiliates are willing to take the time to carefully secure, handle and transport their cargo based on the unique physical attributes each shipment possesses, as well as the price tag of the items themselves and the time-sensitivity they require.

Countering Potential Shipping Issues:

Just as different types of freight require different levels of hands on attention, each unique shipping method offers its own challenges regarding the way that freight must be handled. Fortunately, the use of white glove service presents a measurable counter for any potential threat that may or may not occur during all steps of the shipping process. Direct line-haul service can be used to minimize transfers, while special attention can be given to pick up and delivery methods. Transit times are reduced and your freight is tracked consistently to ensure on-time deliveries of your most time-sensitive cargo.

By Land:

When moving shipments by truck, some of the preventable dangers that can be experienced on the road include:

  • Jostling of freight that could easily cause it to crack, break, or otherwise be damaged – remedied by packaging and securing the freight with the proper equipment
  • The ever present threat of getting into an accident while on road – accidents occur, but timeliness in recovering from them is determinant in completing the job.
  • Problems that could develop based on the temperature of the cab depending on the type of freight that is being shipped – temperature controlled equipment and temp tabs can regulate and monitor these issues
  • Theft or vandalism that could easily happen while a truck is parked at any location – inventory tracking technology, secure cross-docking facilities, locked trucks and video monitored loading docks are some precautions taken to minimize theft

By Sea:

Problems that could be encountered by sea are somewhat similar and include:

  • Waves from bad weather conditions that could easily cause the freight to be bounced around – contracting the correct size equipment and securing cargo is important in preventing slippage
  • Long travel times that could cause time sensitive freight to expire – by knowing anticipated transit times and the nature of the product, your logistics company can lead you to choose the best service based on your type of freight.
  • Temperature issues, especially if freight is being kept below deck – remedied just as any temperature sensitive situation

By Air:

The issues for freight moving by air are less serious, even though this is considered to be the safest means of transport:

  • Jostling that could take place during take-off and landing – packaging practices are crucial
  • Turbulence in the air – D-containers may be implemented to prevent moving inside the cargo space

The Solution:

Any business will find that logistics companies who pride themselves in offering white glove service can effectively combat each and every one of these issues. In doing so, such companies will assess if all items are neatly packed and secured with proper materials, all boxes are sealed correctly, delicate items are wrapped in the proper way, everything is loaded in the neatest order possible, and the correct type of shipping method used for particular types of freight. Packaging assessments should be made and solutions offered to your shippers so they can reinforce products prior to shipping. Without this level of service, there are too many potential disasters that could befall the freight in question which ultimately means lost time, lost money and unhappy customers.

By employing proper white glove service, logistics companies like STC Logistics are ensuring that those they work with will never have to fret in regards to even the most expensive or delicate types of freight. Because the top logistics outfits take their time to develop a unique solution, born in practices of white glove service and then custom tailor it for each and every item, it makes their service standards worth looking into. Because freight must ultimately be shipped in one manner or another, choosing the safest and most secure methods simply makes sense, which of course is precisely the aim of white glove service overall. Any company bold enough to embrace white glove service standards will be rewarded with personalized service, fewer pieces of damaged freight, faster shipping times, and happier customers overall.

To learn more about how you can safety ship the most delicate and high importance items from a trusted logistics provider, please click here.

New 3PL Technology Services Establish Flexibility and Reliability

globearros-resized-600The biggest challenge with any 3PL provider is the ability to report up-to-date feedback on the status of a clients’ cargo. This challenge requires a strong element of control when dealing with time sensitive processes. It is crucial that a successful logistics plan is in place for any manufacturing or distribution establishment. According to a survey by Ernst and Young, more than 5% of all sales go to transportation. It is obvious that most organizations and businesses desire to have their customers served in the most efficient manner. This is where the latest technology practices come in to establish flexibility and reliability in logistics.

3PL Technology Removes Complexity

In order to instill the right confidence in a transportation transaction, 3PL providers integrate new technology for capturing and analyzing data points along the supply chain. These data points include updates on preparation and planning, cargo dimensions, customer-specific instructions, packaging/handling, restrictions and destinations. All this information needs to be coordinated in order to track, trace and control the movement of cargo within a specified time frame. Without using new technology, this can be challenging to manage, especially since each cargo requirement is unique.

3PL Technology Integrates with Customer Processes

The value of the new technology that 3PL’s provide is very useful to the customer when they can relate it to their priorities. Many customers desire having the option to check up on cargo status as well as being able to specify times and dates for collection, storage and delivery. Most cargo deliveries are quite sensitive to the degree of where specific ambient conditions are specified and bound within a specific delivery time. Advanced 3PL companies present an integrated way of interacting with a system. Many allow their customers to interact with their orders in a real-time fashion which offers control over the period, the condition and the handling requirements for their cargo. This integrated approach presents the 3PL company as a reliable service that is respondent to a customer’s specific needs on demand. In turn this allows the 3PL to understand the dynamic needs of each client to ensure quality, service satisfaction and efficiency.

Value Added Features

It is reassuring when customers know the status of the cargo. In terms of location, expected time of arrival, status and condition, it is crucial for business to run smoothly. This information gives clients a confidence of service reliability since the 3PL company is committing to the customer service process. From the 3PL perspective, things might look a little hectic in meeting this requirement, but the best companies have adopted the following accurate practices:

  • Monitoring the cargo through time-stamped status updates which reflect the condition and location of the cargo. Tracking information is relayed directly to the customer portal where it is reflected as real-time information.
  • Tracing the whereabouts of cargo in the event that the delivery instructions change or there are unavoidable circumstances that would prevent timely delivery of the cargo. This is typically monitored internally and serves as a tool to pin-point cargo.
  • Implementing a logistics plan allows for management and structure of the cargo. This ensures that odd-sized or delicate goods get specialized attention, that handling precaution has been made and that the cargo is moving by means of adequate transportation services.

Determining and Managing Transportation Methods

Premier 3PL companies use many methods of transportation; whether by sea, rail, road or air, their clients’ products, priorities and constraints are central to accomplishing a common goal. These methods allow 3PL’s the flexibility to respond quickly to time or budget critical orders. In order to serve all customers with integrated equal maintenance, accessibility to new technology practices is essential in allowing customers to plan effectively. The use of advanced technology allows all transportation schedules and parameters to be joined into one common operating system.

STC Logistics utilizes and offers to their clients, the most up-to-date technology programs and practices. Learn more about our shipping process by clicking here.

Retail Display Environments: The Role Logistics Play

warehouse-resized-600.jpgAchieving success in retail display environments depends on various factors. Every retailer must have an exceptional logistics system in order to offer the best quality service to their customers. Logistics play a major role in sourcing and inventory management, among other key activities in the overall supply chain. A retailer should provide customers with products they desire at the correct quantities, the correct time, and the correct place. In order for a retailer to successfully carry out these activities they require a logistics provider who demonstrates sufficient experience and one that is staffed with experts who can solve any complex transportation issues as they arise. Along with offering the best competitive prices, maintaining standards of service are important when implementing the correct mode of transportation and are a key focus of a knowledgeable logistics team. Here are some of the reasons why logistics are important to every retail display environment.

Logistics allows the retailer to concentrate on other core activities

For a retail business to produce successful results, the company must be able to spend a substantial amount of time focusing on the management of their company. Too much time spent on dealing with their logistics efforts denies their staff the ample time they need to concentrate on other key activities; such as marketing, administration, customer care or inventory management. It is important that a retailer chooses a reliable logistics provider that is experienced and cohesive. This way, it is possible for management to give attention to other activities that are core to the retail environment.

Logistics increase retail efficiency

The most critical requirement of every retailer is having the ability to offer products at the right place and at the right time. With a good logistics provider, an eye-catching flow of goods will be displayed in and out of the store. Having a reliable relationship with your chosen 3PL will allow for last minute changes and a working relationship that allows you to be confident in your transportation decisions. This means that your company rarely suffers from unexpected damages or delays that can cause negative impact on both the business and the customers. However, it is important that you implement good store management techniques to avoid losses associated with poor stock management. Make sure that the various stock levels are communicated to your supply at the right times. If last minute rush orders are necessary, have a logistics team behind you to accommodate those requests.  This will not only strengthen your total supply chain, but may go a long way in helping to avoid losing potential customers.

Transport expenses are passed to a third party

There are many overhead expenses that are included in the transportation of products. In addition to clearing and forwarding in the case of imported products being moved, you may have extra expenses that you haven’t budgeted for. This could become very expensive for a retail business.  Teaming up with a dependable logistics provider who offers insight and risk assessment will allow you to minimize these expenses as well as other transport risks. Pre-planning is key in maintaining your budgets.

Goods in transit are stored goods

When goods are being transported from one location to the other, there are considered to be stored goods. A good logistics provider will allow your company to avoid extra storage costs until the goods arrive safely at the retailer of choice. Make certain to negotiate storage fees upfront and get to know you 3PL’s policies on timeframes.

Using a trustworthy logistics provider is influential on the amount of success resonated in retail display environments. Your 3PL should be aware that the primary role of the retailer is to offer products to customers on-time and undamaged and at reasonable prices. A reliable logistics provider like STC Logistics can help customers have more time to focus on proper retail management of their company by managing the behind-the-scenes transportation effort that goes into a successful retail campaign. In turn this will help increase the amount of retail efficiency within the company. STC Logistics can also assist in pre-planning your shipping schedules and accommodating budgets, while maintaining the highest level of service. They will work to cover extra storage expenses that typically aren’t covered by other logistics providers and give you a clear picture, upfront, of what costs may be incurred through different modes of transportation.  Learn more about our adding STC to your team at:  http://shipstc.com/services-how-we-ship.asp

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Supply Chain

clipboard-and-handtruckCompanies strive to minimize transport costs and maximize the ability to meet the needs of their clients to achieve success in their business. The most crucial step in this process is to execute an effective supply chain management system. This involves managing products to be transported, ensuring the correct method of transportation is used and establishing the most cost-effective route between the origin and the destination. These factors determine your capacity to derive value from using a supply chain management system.

In any good system, you ought to be able to measure performance and execution; otherwise you will not be able to assess whether value has increased or decreased in your company. Benchmarks are set to determine the acceptable limits of performance pertaining to different business environments. Try to follow these four guidelines to ensure your supply chain is operating smoothly:

Don’t Delay Your Delivery

Any company that implements supply chain management typically guarantees reliable delivery of raw materials and finished goods through use of a bid, which outlines job parameters and expectations upfront. This involves a close working relationship with suppliers, customers, shippers and warehouses. If any of these parties fail to perform their role on time, it is likely that the entire process will be delayed, resulting in direct consequences on all the parties involved. Establish your deadlines early on and monitor production schedules to ensure a reduction in delays.

Keep Strong Relationships

Another fundamental component in having an effective supply chain is to have lasting relations with suppliers and customers. This means you should have stable prices available. The inability to guarantee stable prices for a final product is typically associated with an increased cost of doing business, increased material costs and the transportation necessity. This can make it impossible to maintain product prices. You should detail the factors that cause such internal and external price fluctuations. Include these factors before a final price is set and take them into account when developing ideas and negotiating deals.

Break Down Your Information

In an effort to guarantee a seamless supply of raw materials and finished goods, companies enter into agreements with stakeholders to deliver different types of cargo on specified dates or at certain inventory levels. This eliminates the need to recurrently place orders for such goods, which also removes incidents of stock-outs and subsequent lost sales. However, there are times when the suppliers may deliver goods at the wrong time or place, or deliver entirely the wrong goods. This is a failure of coordination in the supply chain and can have devastating effects. Pre-planning schedules and offering verification checks can help to diminish stock-outs or production of poor quality goods due to use of improper inputs.

Streamline Your Technology

Any manufacturing company that desires to have an efficient supply chain must monitor various production costs to guarantee that they remain within manageable limits. This can involve integrating systems, with your chosen 3PL.  Doing so can provide for optimal inventory levels, ensure orders are processed quickly and accurately, tracking is internally transparent, and back office accounting is streamlined. A reliable logistics service provider can help to minimize delays and damages, which are other key outlays in supply chain. Switching transport responsibilities between providers often involves a change in processes, therefore integrating with a technology driven partner can save time and money year over year.  By streamlining your supply chain management through the help of a dependable shipping partner and cohesive technology, you can stay one step ahead of the competition.

Every company should strive to take these tips into consideration to demonstrate a reliable supply chain that integrates various stakeholders and resources to guarantee the quality, price and reliability of the entire system. If a firm overlooks negative signs that show inefficiencies in such systems, there is high likelihood that these systems may fail in the long run. Automation paired with having a fully-fledged supply chain department can help manage the supply chain effectively, and in turn, success should shine through in your business.

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