4 Ways to Grow Your Global Ecommerce Retail Company

It’s not an easy process to develop a global ecommerce shopping platform for your retail business. Retailers understand that everything begins with the consumer; they are the ones who go through the shopping experience from start to finish and with an ever-increasing amount of interruptions during the buying process, retailers must adapt to survive and thrive.

MultichannelMerchant.com provides four tips for retailers to grow their global ecommerce business here.

How Apps and Uber Are Impacting Freight Transportation

How Apps and Uber

Technological advancements are undoubtedly impacting the transportation industry. Let’s take the rise of Uber as an example. If you are unfamiliar with Uber, it’s used as an alternate to taxi services. People download the app on their smartphones and plug in their desired location. Using technology, Uber connects them with a private driver who is nearby, and the payment is automatically deducted from the user’s bank account.

Uber is a popular method for people to get from point A to B because users like its convenience and competitive pricing. However, it’s also controversial. Critics point to their “surge pricing periods,” in which Uber charges more for busier times. Detractors also highlight safety and insurance issues. Pretty much anyone with a license can sign up to be an Uber driver as long as they pass a background check. Taxi drivers are also licensed to do so, while Uber drivers are not.

So Is This The Future of Freight Transportation?

While Uber is used for individuals, this concept has bigger implications for larger scale freight transportation. For example, some organizations have developed or are planning to develop similar-type apps for trucking.

Convoy is based out of Washington and bills itself as the Uber version for trucking. They use their technology to connect shippers with local carriers. According to an article in The Verge, “Convoy gives pre-approved carriers the option to accept or decline a job based on the listed price, which eliminates haggling — a hallmark of the trucking business.” New York-based Transfix serves as an online marketplace for freight.

So are apps and technology like this the future of the industry? Some people are arguing that the “uber-ization” of the trucking industry is a good thing. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), trucking is valued as an $800 billion industry, and more than 3 million trucks trek out more than 100 billion miles annually. While there may be some room in the industry for these apps, there are major liabilities that come with this approach.

Think Logically and Consider the Pitfalls

When it comes to your shipments, there are more factors to consider than just price and location. Shippers must evaluate any potential damages to their brand and the importance of customer service in the event of any issues.

For example, you would have to assume the potential risk or damage from a drive that you have never used, but based on an app. For many of these new apps, carriers can sign up as long as they have basic qualifications such as insurance. However, many of them often overlook important aspects such as a driver’s history backed up by reliable data. Do you really want to get into a legal or branding quagmire in the event of an accident?

The Quality of 3PL Companies

3PL organizations provide many benefits to their clients including:

  • Expedited freight capability
  • Accurate transit estimates
  • Flexibility
  • Customer service
  • Tracking controls
  • Increased security
  • Reliable deliveries
  • Ability to meet specific situations and requirements
  • White glove services

STC Logistics specializes in expedited freight logistics solutions. We are one of the top trusted logistics companies in NJ. To learn more about our services, click the button below!

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Selecting the Best Freight Forwarding Software in 2016

The freight forwarding industry must deliver quality services at narrow profit margins. A large part of this requires companies to choose the most cutting-edge and updated technology and software to ensure operations are as streamlined as possible. Click here to find out the 10 questions you should ask when selecting the best freight forwarding software for your business.

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Advanced Logistics Technology: The Benefits of Proprietary Logistics Services

boxes world-resized-600.jpgWhether you run a new or established business, you know how important it is to have your goods carefully prepared, shipped and arrive at their destination on time. Failure to do so can have a negative impact on your customers—and even more so on your business—when issues like delivery delays, damaged items and cost overruns. Your reputation suffers and you can lose out on revenue, resulting in a black eye to your bottom line.

A New Advanced  Logistics Technology

How do you choose the right 3PL provider for you? You can shop around for a logistics solution and review all of your options or quickly choose a 3PL provider and simply live with your choice, hoping your goods don’t get damaged by trial and error.

Rather than take a chance with just any 3PL provider, STC makes available a new technology for all of our clients.  Electronic Logistics Format, also known as E.L.F., manages the logistics, shipping, and tracking of your freight, alongside our logistics team and allows for visibility and flexibility. This tool is a proprietary services logistics technology that supports traffic managers or anyone who handles major regional or nationwide distributions, pickup assembly services, and multi-location rollouts.

What the E.L.F. Logistics Technology Does

E.L.F. logistics technology helps you accomplish a number of tasks. First of all, this service coordinates every stage of your shipping order. You would send our logistics experts at STC a spreadsheet that contains your shipment’s information; we can receive information by EDI, Excel or any format you prefer to use. STC will then develop a customized rollout or a multi-destination distribution blueprint.

From there, STC Logistics uses the E.L.F. logistics technology to plan, organize, and arrange for the final delivery of your cargo. The shipment’s progress is also tracked and traced through its numerous steps, in conjunction with our expert customer service team; we will never lose sight of your goods.

Before your freight goes into transit, you will review and approve the logistics plan, pickup and delivery specifications, your pricing estimates, and the shipment’s delivery date. Everything is sorted out well before your shipment’s pickup is made.  Preplanning is a key factor for a successful logistics design.

Your Own Mini-Website

top sidebar-resized-292.jpgAfter your shipment’s order is approved, STC’s IT department publishes your E.L.F. logistics technology design to a web-based viewing area. This is your very own “mini-website” for the distribution project. Your web portal is linked directly to STC’s internal operating system and is updated in real-time. You’ll be able to see the status of any of your shipments as they happen and delivery POD’s as they arrive.

Any relevant parties you choose will be granted access to the “mini-website” and allow them to follow the status of your shipment. This way, everyone who you’ve appointed will see that the shipment is picked up, shipped, and arrived on time to the correct recipient.

The Benefits of Proprietary Logistics

When you partner with a 3PL provider like STC Logistics, you can enjoy the logistics technology benefits that you wouldn’t necessarily see from other logistics technology products. Consider these perks:

  • Eliminates the confusion experienced when random shippers pick up and deliver your items. Using STC Logistics as an extension of your team keeps everything under one roof.
  • Improves pick up times, length time in transit, and the actual delivery date and time by providing a schedule in advance.
  • Reliable nationwide affiliates allow for consolidation of goods, TSA certified access to all airports and strong networks to meet your deadlines. We are all linked together through the system.
  • You receive an entirely coordinated effort from the team to ensure that your shipment arrives safely, undamaged, and on time. Adjustments are easily made and updates are in real-time.

STC Logistics uses the very latest in advanced technology with its specialized Electronic Logistics Format logistics technology. For more information or to obtain a quote for your next shipment, contact us 24/7 at 800-547-4324. To learn more about the industries we specialize in, click the button below.

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Selecting a Logistics Provider with Quality Shipping Tracking Software

digital-dreams-1160562-m-resized-600.jpgInformation is key in maintaining a smooth logistics chain. The more information every individual supplier and manufacturer in a given supply chain has access to regarding the status of materials, the more effectively and efficiently those individual companies can manage their own part of that chain. In our modern era, quality logistics and shipment tracking software is a key part of any track and trace logistics solution, and utilization of the superior software to superior effect often marks key differences between two logistics companies.

There are many factors to consider when evaluating shipment tracking software. A software suite that excels in pinpointing shipments en route and stays up-to-date on changes in local shipping conditions may lack equally robust inventory tracking tools, may not output adequate analytics, or may fail and numerous other ways. Here are just a few factors logistics companies should consider when selecting software:

Identification of Points

Before a piece of shipment tracking software can offer anything else, it must be able to accurately map the key points of your supply chain:

  • Data Collection: How much information does the shipment tracking software collect at each data point? How accurately and easily does it do so? Using software that allows you to quickly access requested information tremendously speeds up the logistics process.
  • Data Assessment: While raw data has its value, smarter shipment tracking software offers more in the way of analytics. Can the software give you full analytics on any possible damage rate or accurate delivery times and updates?
  • Integration: Good software ‘plays well with others’. The information produced should be readily available to share across programs or between suppliers, manufacturers, and transporters on the supply chain.

Identification of Goals

A good logistics firm also keeps in mind three end goals in all its evaluations of shipment tracking software:

  • Will the software improve supply chain speed?
  • Will it improve supply chain reliability?
  • Will it create a leaner supply chain?

With those goals and the above factors in mind, it becomes simple to decide which software program to use on a regular basis.

STC Logistics uses the most advanced track and trace shipment tracking software on the market to support its clientele. Under the guidance of logistics experts across the nation and using a massive network of transportation affiliates in hubs across the nation, STC Logistics maintains a 99% on-time delivery rate—better than any of the major shipping companies. Whether your chain needs air, rail, sea, or road travel with large shipments to distributed locations or small shipments to a single location, STC Logistics can provide unmatched precision and reliability. Contact us today for a service quote!

The Impact of Mobile Technologies on Logistics Solutions

Stacking Boxes-resized-600.jpgThere are many things to consider when hiring a third party logistics company today. While the basics involve utilizing air, land, or sea transportation to move goods from one point to another, there are many intricacies that are added to the process in order to increase efficiency—both for the customer and the logistics company itself. With shifting trends and the notion of new logistics technologies being ever present, there are many concepts that are improving the way freight gets moved.

Overall, the most revolutionary changes that are happening in logistics technologies today are widely due to advances in mobile logistics technologies. In the past, there were only primitive ruggedized devices that were specifically put into use for supply chain environments. Now, the lines between consumer and commercial grade equipment are becoming blurred because of new logistics technologies. This provides customers, as well as professionals, with crucial solutions to improve processes in every step of the supply chain.

Technology and Logistics in the Warehouse

The utilization of mobile logistics technologies in the warehouse has completely changed the way that companies think about setting up, as well as sorting and segregating inventory. With a single smart phone, warehouse employees are now able to:

  • View inventory counts remotely
  • Scan inventory both short and long range
  • Use voice activated commands to conduct operations hands free
  • Send information through the cloud for instant results
  • Track and trace transportation itineraries and transit times

Another warehouse trend that cloud-based logistics technologies have set is the use of complete mobile solutions. Because logistics technologies have spider-webbed into so many devices, warehouse teams can now use smart phones and tablets in combination with mobile printers. These scanning devices enable the warehouse workers to reduce the need to move back and forth to different stations in the warehouse. This eliminates issues with sorting, segregating, picking and packing, setting up RFID solutions, scanning barcodes and printing.

For the Customer

Mobile logistics technologies have made the customer end of logistics more productive than ever before. With app development at an all time high, the customer now has more information at their fingertips than ever before. These logistics technologies allow the customer to forgo contacting 3PLs directly in regards to queries such as:

  • Inventory quantities
  • Price quotes
  • Real-time transit status updates
  • Delivery times
  • Confirmation of POD

Tracking has always been a huge issue for customers until recently because there was little information available without making hard inquiries by phone. But now, trucks, trains, ships, and planes can be outfitted with GPS trackers that the customer can dial into from their smart phone to see exactly where their freight is. This allows them to not only satisfy their curiosity, but plan accordingly based on suggested arrival times.

For the Driver

Utilizing the same type of logistics technologies, truck drivers can now perform many functions with far greater efficiency. Smart phones allow drivers to accurately capture customer signatures upon delivery, track their hours, and even examine statistics about their driving performance. GPS systems can also provide real time data about traffic situations so that they know about areas that should be avoided to achieve shorter transit times.

The Wave of the Future

The smart phone based logistics technologies available today are completely changing the way that everyone thinks about logistics. It is even paving the way for other advances in the future such as 3D printing and greater use of green solutions. For now, 3PLs and customers alike can enjoy the way that mobile logistics technologies has helped to improve the process overall.

STC Logistics utilizes the latest in technology for all logistics solutions. Contact us today to get a quote for your next shipment!

Photo credit: manufacturingdigital.com

The Importance of Reliable Pharmaceutical Logistics Practices

pharmaceuticals-resized-600.jpgWhile logistics is a most crucial matter to companies in any industry, getting pharmaceutical logistics solutions right can be a matter of life and death, depending on the situation. Hospitals, primary care physicians, urgent care facilities, pharmacies, and a number of other establishments need to have medicines readily available in order to care for their patients; sometimes for life threatening situations. Fortunately, the top pharmaceutical logistics companies have specific services tailored to the unique demands of this industry.

Shipping Checks and Balances:

Whether pharmaceutical logistics solutions involve goods that are being shipped by air, land or sea, the most reliable companies will take measures to ensure that cargo arrives promptly and in one piece by performing the following procedures:

  • Creating temperature controlled environments
  • Utilizing the correct padding, boxing and stacking methods to prevent jostling or breakage
  • Taking extra security measures to ensure the correct parties are handling and receiving the goods from when the cargo is picked up until it is delivered
  • Offering several transport methods to offer rush delivery if necessary

By offering such a broad range of shipping services, the most elite pharmaceutical logistics companies can help customers with even the most specific needs. This allows their patients to receive the medicine they will ultimately need for recovery. Even under strained circumstances, there are always pharmaceutical logistics choices that top providers can decide on to ease stress of those who need the product the most.  

Management Solutions:

Companies that offer all of the most reliable and trusted pharmaceutical logistics solutions are also experts at knowing how to manage even the most complicated of orders. These notions go far beyond getting the timing, packing and shipping methods correct. Customers in the pharmaceutical industry have specific demands that need to be met in a timely manner, and pharmaceutical logistics companies can respond successfully by offering the following:

  • Tracking with technology that allows up to the minute real-time reporting so that customers always know where their shipment is
  • Vast and far reaching distribution services to ship any freight just about anywhere in a specific time frame
  • White glove services that compliment courier, fulfillment, delivery and customer service solutions so that both the merchandise and customer are treated with respect

Pharmaceutical logistics companies are aware that there are not just lives, but a tremendous amount of money at stake with each shipment. One false move can cause a shipment of medicine to break, expire or end up lost and can result in a loss of tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. This is why the nature of the pharmaceutical logistics solutions that specialized companies offer is so vast.

The Importance of Building Trust with Your Logistics Provider:

When handling incredibly sensitive materials, there is nothing more important than facilitating an air of truth between customer and pharmaceutical logistics providers. While the act of trust may begin with promises, it always ends in the deeds of both parties involved in each transaction. This is why top pharmaceutical logistics companies go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure long and lasting relationships. Successful logistics companies dealing with the pharmaceutical industry pride themselves on building a series of connections with lifelong customers who trust many of the lives of their patients to the overall performance of the logistics company itself.

STC Logistics strives to continue to be a trusted partner for pharmaceutical logistics solutions, including air shipping and ground shipping. Contact us today to learn about all of the logistics solutions that we can provide for your pharmaceutical shipping needs.

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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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