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Monthly Archives September 2020

Visible Supply Chain Management Executive Emma Leonard Named 2020 Women in Supply Chain Award Winner by Supply & Demand Chain Executive

A strong advocate for women in logistics and transportation everywhere, Emma Leonard earns a spot on the annual list of supply chain’s top female professionals

SALT LAKE CITY (September 23, 2020) —Acknowledging her accomplishments, leadership and best-practice example for women leaders in supply chain, Emma Leonard, executive vice president at Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible), has been recognized as a 2020 Women in Supply Chain award winner by Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

The Women in Supply Chain award honors female supply chain leaders and executives whose accomplishments, mentorship and examples set a foundation for women in all levels of a company’s supply chain network.

“Emma’s efforts have played a major role in Visible’s ability to provide a ‘best in class’ customer experience and has added tremendous value to our clients,” said Casey Adams, president of Visible. “She has exhibited strong leadership abilities by building and managing a cross-functional team of transportation professionals, analysts and managers. This award is well deserved.”

In an industry in which female executives are relatively uncommon, the excellence Emma displays each day is an unassailable argument for the increased need for women leadership in supply chain. She is a shining example for all — mentoring her peers by organizing and facilitating local networking events. In addition, Emma is actively involved in AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management and Education).

Because of women like Emma, 17% of chief supply chain officers are now women — a 6% increase compared to 2019, according to Gartner’s 2020 Women in Supply Chain Survey.

Supply & Demand Chain Executive celebrates its 20th anniversary by introducing the new award designed specifically for women leaders in the supply chain industry.

“We received over 200 entries for the new Women in Supply Chain award, entries that were submitted from a combination of men and women. This proves that our industry needed an award like this,” said Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Food Logistics. “Congratulations to these top female leaders. I look forward to seeing how they grow the supply chain industry.”

Check out Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s website at www.sdcexec.com for the full list of the 2020 Women in Supply Chain winners. The 2020 Women in Supply Chain award will appear in SDCE’s September issue.

 

About Supply & Demand Chain Executive

Supply & Demand Chain Executive is the executive’s user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, utilizing hard-hitting analysis, viewpoints and unbiased case studies to steer executives and supply management professionals through the complicated, yet critical, world of supply and demand chain enablement to gain competitive advantage. Go to www.SDCExec.com.

 

About Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible)

Since 1992, Visible Supply Chain Management has provided customized solutions for B2B and B2C organizations. With comprehensive services in e-commerce, direct sales, direct response and omnichannel, Visible can design effective strategies for clients that include transportation, logistics, brokerage, fulfillment and even custom packaging solutions.

 

Media Contact:
Shannon Michael, SnappConner PR
801.205.6714
shannon@snappconner.com

 

Shipping and Logistics Industry Leader Visible Supply Chain Management Acquires Shipping Software Company PC Synergy

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The acquisition bolsters Visible’s technology offering for customers’ continued success

Salt Lake City (Sept. 15, 2020) — Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible), the industry leader in shipping and fulfillment services for small to midsize businesses, announces its acquisition of PC Synergy, the leading point-of-service (POS) software supplier for the retail shipping industry.

PC Synergy (PostalMate), now Visible, joins Visible’s existing and robust technology offering. Visible customers now have access to a comprehensive yet easy to use shipping solution, providing automation solutions for shipping DHL, FedEx, UPS and USPS. Included with PostalMate is a full-featured point-of-sale, accounts receivable, package estimating and mailbox management system.

“Visible continuously seeks to broaden our technological capabilities and offerings to bring greater efficiency and visibility to our clients because our mission is to help our customers succeed,” said Casey Adams, president of Visible. “The PC Synergy acquisition adds yet another tool to our digital toolbox and equips our customers with more data for informed analysis and decisions.

Founded in 1988, PC Synergy is the leading supplier of automation to retail mail and parcel centers. The San Marcos, CA-based company was first in the industry to be recognized as “Works with Microsoft Vista” and “Compatible with Windows® 7” by Microsoft.

“We are very excited about the acquisition of PC Synergy by Visible SCM. It is a win/win in all regards,” said Rick Crawford, CEO of PC Synergy. “Both companies bring unique attributes to the other and the combination makes Visible SCM a much stronger company.”

Software Equity Group (SEG), the M&A advisory services for emerging and established software companies, represented PC Synergy exclusively through the acquisition.

This acquisition follows Visible’s 2019 and 2020 acquisitions of logistics providers KCX, Trade Global and TriCon.

Visible won multiple industry and business awards in 2019 including the #919 spot on the Inc. 5000, Utah’s 3rd Fastest Growing Company on the Utah Business Magazine Fast 50 List, the #10 spot on the MountainWest Capital Network 2019 Top Revenue Growth Companies, the regional EY ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in distribution and manufacturing and inclusion as a

national finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. In addition, CEO Jared Starling was a 2019 CEO of the Year honoree by Utah Business magazine.

 

Media Contact:

Shannon Michael
SnappConner PR
801.205.6714
shannon@snappconner.com

 

About Visible Supply Chain Management (Visible)

Since 1992, Visible Supply Chain Management has provided customized solutions for B2B and B2C organizations. With comprehensive services in e-commerce, direct sales, direct response and omnichannel, Visible can design effective strategies for clients that include transportation, logistics, brokerage, fulfillment and even custom packaging solutions.

Ecommerce Shipping Statistics to Keep in Mind Before Peak Shipping Season – Part 1

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We only have a few months until consumers start their holiday shopping. The more ambitious shoppers begin the hunt in late summer, and the rest join in by Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the “official” kickoff of holiday shopping. This means shipping volumes will be climbing for the rest of the year, and you’ll need a solid shipping strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

To ensure you’re as prepared as possible, take a look at the latest shipping statistics you need to know for the 2020 holiday season. Here’s a hint: It’s going to be busy.

Read on to learn more.

 

The #1 reason for cart abandonment is high shipping costs

Modern consumers simply do not tolerate high shipping costs anymore. According to Statista research, high shipping costs are the primary reason US consumers over the age of 18 abandon their carts when shopping online. Simply put, online shoppers do not consider shipping to have a tangible value and, therefore, don’t want to pay for it.

 

46% of small to mid-sized businesses increased their profits with free shipping

Shoppers don’t just avoid businesses that charge too much for shipping. They flock to the brands that offer free shipping. In a recent study, 46.5% of small to mid-sized businesses dramatically increased their profits by implementing free shipping just because so many new customers wanted to take advantage of what they see as a great value.

 

24% of shoppers will spend more to unlock free shipping

Free shipping doesn’t have to be a profit eater. You can create a spending minimum that customers must reach before they can “unlock” free shipping. HubSpot research reveals that 24% of shoppers are willing to spend more so they can qualify for free shipping, so you’ll increase your average order value along the way. It’s a win-win.

 

58% would take some sort of action to qualify for free shipping

Spending minimums aren’t the only way you can entice customers seeking free shipping. E-tailers can get creative and ask for email signups, a yearly or monthly fee for access to members-only perks or something similar. Customers are always on the lookout for free shipping, and 58% said they would take some sort of action to qualify for it.

 

Free shipping is consumers’ most important factor when choosing where to shop.

The two most important factors for consumers deciding where to shop have to do with shipping. Free shipping is most important, but the second priority is hassle-free shipping. Third place goes to low-cost or free returns. This shows that customers value the post-purchase experience more than brand names or price tags, so e-tailers should act accordingly.

 

40% of respondents did not make a purchase because of unsatisfactory delivery options

Researchers surveyed 1,888 US online shoppers to discover why they chose to not follow through with purchases, and the results were insightful. Of the respondents, 40% said they abandoned a purchase because it would take too long to arrive or would be delivered after the date they needed it. Another 20% said the delivery date was not precise, so they chose not to order after all.

 

Over three-quarters (77%) of shoppers have shipped items to a store for pickup

Buy online, pick up in store (BOPUS) has grown increasingly popular in recent years, which has impacted shipping by increasing the volume of packages sent to brick-and-mortar stores or other pickup locations. Roughly 77% of ecommerce customers have sent their purchases to a physical store, and 13% of those utilized Amazon lockers to pick up items.

 

Free or discounted shipping influences marketplace shoppers

Ecommerce is advantageous to price-conscious shoppers because when they find a product online, there is probably another seller who lists it for cheaper. In many cases, marketplace sellers can offer the most competitive pricing and can afford fast, free shipping. This is the number one reason why shoppers frequent online marketplaces, but the other top reasons are related to shipping. They can get their orders delivered fast, and shipping is often free or discounted.

 

75% of shoppers have shopped with Amazon

Seeing as Amazon is the largest ecommerce marketplace, it should be expected that three-quarters of consumers have shopped there to access low prices and favorable shipping. Of the shoppers interviewed, 55% of them have made purchases from different marketplaces like eBay, Wayfair and others.

 

Holiday shoppers are most influenced by free shipping (and competitive prices)

Once holiday shopping gets underway, consumers will be on the hunt for two things: competitive prices and free shipping. This slightly differs from the rest of the year because pricing moves up the priority list and takes the place of free shipping. Surveyed consumers said these two factors are the most important when deciding where to do their online holiday shopping.

 

112 million consumers have access to Amazon Prime two-day shipping

One major reason American consumers have grown accustomed to fast and free shipping is because one-third of them are Amazon Prime members. There are now 112 million consumers who have access to Amazon’s free two-day shipping and are used to that level of service. Other retailers have followed suit, so the service is no longer unique to Amazon. Its prevalence has only solidified consumer expectations.

 

79% of shoppers would be more likely to shop online if offered free shipping

Ecommerce is a $4.2 trillion industry, but there are still plenty of consumers who prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. One reason is because in-store shopping doesn’t have shipping fees. According to Walker Sands research, 79% of US shoppers would be more likely to purchase from ecommerce sites if there was free shipping.

 

Same-day shipping is the #1 purchase driver for the under-25 crowd

Speedy shipping is popular across generations, but younger consumers seek it out more than their older counterparts. (This makes sense, as Millennials and Gen Z grew up with the Internet and the instant gratification that comes with it.) It should come as no surprise that same-day shipping is the top purchase driver for US shoppers under age 25.

 

Only 15% of shoppers are satisfied with delivery speeds

When shopping online, there is a wide range of delivery options—large retailers can deliver orders in a matter of hours, while smaller businesses may take a week or longer. These discrepancies result in only 15% of US consumers being satisfied with shipping speeds offered across the board. Compare this stat to their opinion of Amazon: 30% say that Amazon delivery speeds meet their expectations.

 

83% of US shoppers expect updates about their online orders

It’s rare for online shoppers to visit a website, add items to their shopping carts and make a purchase all at once. It takes time to nurture prospects and convince them to become customers because you first have to prove trustworthiness. Even after the purchase, it’s best practice to be transparent with customers and provide them with regular updates about their orders. Per Narvar, 83% of US shoppers expect these updates.

 

More than half (53%) of US shoppers won’t make a purchase if the delivery date is unknown

There is an element of surprise when shopping online because customers don’t actually get to try out the products before buying. However, one surprise shoppers definitely don’t want is when their orders are going to arrive. If they don’t know when their purchases are supposed to arrive, 53% will abandon their carts.

 

80% of American consumers want same-day shipping

This holiday season, try offering same-day shipping to attract more customers—80% of them are looking for this service when they visit your website. Same-day shipping is not the same as same-day delivery, so it gives you a bit of breathing room while still standing out from the e-tailers who ship on their own schedule. Considering that Americans are spending 36% of their shopping budgets online, that is a large chunk of change you can secure by speeding up order fulfillment.

 

Free shipping is the second most popular email offer

Ecommerce email marketing is one of the top strategies for building customer relationships, and in turn, subscribers get access to exclusive promotions and other “members only” offers. Clearance events and sales are the most popular offers consumers want to receive by email with 35% ranking this as their top choice. A close second, however, is free shipping with 20% of shoppers hoping for this offer in their inbox.

 

Visible Helps to Reduce Costs and Improve Shipping Strategies

Visible Supply Chain Management offers a powerful array of shipping programs and services designed to help almost any shipper. Visible is the largest USPS Authorized Reseller and we have many programs to reduce your shipping costs. Our company also offers a national network of fulfillment warehouses, custom packaging, freight brokerage services, and industry-leading software partners. We give shippers an edge over the competition with better shipping on every front and help your business handle peak shipping season. Contact us today at 385-213-3470 to speak with one of our shipping and logistics experts.

Stop by our blog next week for more updates and info in Part 2 of Ecommerce Shipping Statistics to Know Before Peak Season.

 

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Open Letter from Casey Adams: COVID-19 Impact on Supply Chains & Mitigation Strategies

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To our valued customers, thank you for allowing Visible SCM to be your supply chain partner during these uncertain times. As your partner, we feel it is important to keep you informed of how the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the logistics landscape, from changes in carrier policies to the rapid growth of ecommerce. We have also compiled strategies to help you strengthen your supply chain, mitigate risk and deliver a positive experience to your customers with the full support and commitment of our team.

And to all of you who have undoubtedly experienced the unprecedented impact the pandemic has had on the global supply chain, please allow me to explain what has happened, where we are now and where we go from here.

– Casey Adams, President of Visible Supply Chain Management

 

Pre-COVID Conditions

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the United States, the year started off largely as predicted. January shipments consisted primarily of peak season clear-outs, holiday shopping returns and orders from New Year’s sales, with weather being the only major expected cause of shipping delays. Shippers had just experienced the standard General Rate Increase imposed by carriers annually, and no Peak Season Surcharges were in effect for small parcel shipping. Carriers offered money-back guarantees or guaranteed service refunds on shipments delivered later than their commitment time.

 

Early COVID-19 Impact on Transportation & Logistics

In late January and into February, news came that China extended their Lunar New Year holiday due to the coronavirus outbreak. In March, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Transportation and Logistics was identified as a critical infrastructure sector that should continue to operate, and workers in this sector were deemed essential. And in the wake of these events, global supply chains around the world were completely upended.

Between the shutdowns, immense surge in demand for essential items and workers falling ill, the pandemic has had dramatic ripple effects across all aspects of logistics, creating massive disruptions and drastic capacity constraints. Airports experienced congestion, ocean carriers announced blank sailings and stores struggled to keep essential products on their shelves.

Here is a high-level look at how the pandemic affected transportation and logistics:

  • Thousands of boxes piled up at ports like Shanghai and Ningbo as truck drivers, crane operators and other workers contracted the virus or were quarantined.
  • As stores across the U.S. shut their doors and stay-at-home orders were implemented, consumer demand collapsed. Ocean carriers blanked (cancelled) record amounts of capacity, and businesses tried to slow their supply chains by canceling or delaying overseas orders.
  • Air cargo became one of the most volatile shipping modes of the year. Airfreight rates fluctuated due to canceled passenger flights, a significant decrease in capacity and the rush to ship personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Warehousing companies added thousands of new hires to keep up with demand.
  • Trucking capacity tightened as retailers and manufacturers hustled to replenish stores and distribution centers cleaned out by shoppers stockpiling food and sanitizing supplies; drivers faced new restrictions at receiving docks if they had been in states considered coronavirus hot zones.

 

The Shift to Ecommerce

COVID-19 accelerated the growth of ecommerce significantly. Business-to-consumer deliveries skyrocketed as brick-and-mortar stores closed their doors and people began staying at and working from their homes.

Online sales of essential items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper and groceries spiked, and businesses pivoted to adopt models like click-and-collect curbside pickup, allowing shoppers to collect their purchases without leaving their cars. By April, essential categories and some non-essential categories were struggling to keep up with demand.

Ecommerce sales also rose in a category referred to as “new essentials”—products like office supplies, exercise gear, housewares, home improvement-related items, cosmetics and toys/hobby supplies—that make staying home and working from home more comfortable.

According to Adobe Analytics, online sales grew more slowly in July than in June but were still up 55% compared with July 2019, and the holiday season is on the horizon. While increased demand is a good problem for most businesses to have, the rapid ecommerce adoption has caused fulfillment bottlenecks, and carriers continue to experience severe capacity constraints and other challenges.

 

Carrier Impact and Response

Since the pandemic started, carriers have communicated disruptions in domestic and international supply chains. Cleaning times at hubs were extended, last-mile deliveries reached peak-season volumes that carriers were unprepared for and workers contracting the virus led to staffing issues. As a result of the demand increase and added expenses, carriers have taken measures such as:

  • Indefinite suspension of service guarantees, guaranteed service refunds and money-back guarantees
  • Implementation of Peak Season Surcharges on both domestic and international shipments, which typically does not occur until the traditional peak season (end of November through December)
  • Volume restrictions
    • Capped number of trailers available for pickups
    • Implementation of new efficiency guidelines (e.g., cutting overtime)
    • Turning away additional volume or new shipper volume
  • Imposing surcharges for new volume
  • Announcing temporary price increase on commercial parcels (USPS, effective Oct. 18 through Dec. 27)

On-time performance for the major national carriers has fallen, largely due to the increase in parcel volume. Delays and extended transit times are now the norm, as illustrated by the graphs below that show the increase in transit times in July compared with earlier this year.

 

% of Shipments > 7 Days in Transit

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% of Packages Delivered by Transit Days and Month

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How Your Supply Chain Choices Are Impacting Your Outcomes

Online shoppers want to be in control of their order delivery options, and supply chain managers want the control to ensure these delivery expectations are met. Although the pandemic has served as a reminder that we cannot control everything, it is important to remember that you have access to options through Visible to help you deliver the best possible service to your customers.

 

Online Shopper Expectations

Online shoppers have high expectations for information and service. Prior to purchasing an item online, shoppers want to know what their total cost will be (including taxes and shipping), where the seller is located and as much about the product as possible. They do their research, like reading return policies and product reviews.

In addition to information, online shoppers want control over their delivery day, time and location, and they want to own the decision between shipping cost and speed. In fact, sellers find that providing a balance between cost and choice creates the best shopping experience. While some shoppers opt for a slower, less expensive delivery option, others will pay extra to get an order delivered more quickly.

 

Service Level Options

Visible offers various service level options to help shippers meet their clients’ expectations. While some options are costlier than others, they present a lower risk in terms of delivery and service. The chart below provides an overview of carrier services and their associated cost and risk.

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How to Improve the Customer Experience—And How Visible Can Help

As your supply chain partner, we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to support your business. Our team of experts has put together a list of strategies and options to help you mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and deliver the best possible experience to your customers.

  1. Communicate with your clients to manage delivery time expectations. We know that your priority, like ours, is to deliver outstanding service to your clients, which means avoiding surprises. One way to accomplish this is by proactively addressing and being transparent about the current situation and what customers can realistically expect in terms of delivery. While carriers are working to resolve delivery issues and minimize disruption, consumers should be aware that transit times may be longer than normal. Sharing the possibility of delivery delays is a good way to manage expectations, build trust and earn customer loyalty. A few ways to accomplish this:
    • Address known issues. Add a banner to your home page or a note within the shopping cart letting customers know your company is experiencing higher than average order volume, which may result in delays
    • Add a note to transactional emails, such as order confirmations and shipping confirmation emails
    • Set up emails to let customers know a delayed order is still on its way

    Visible is committed to supporting these efforts by ensuring tracking information is available and that clients have visibility throughout the life of each order.

  2. Build a multi-carrier strategy. Having options helps mitigate risk. Maintaining carrier diversity is a great way to get around capped volume and capacity constraints. Plus, splitting volume between carriers can help avoid the surcharges that apply to shippers who send a certain number of parcels per week. Visible has an extensive network of reliable partners to support clients’ multi-carrier strategies.
  3. Use multiple fulfillment centers to mitigate cost and improve transit times. There are several advantages to having strategically located fulfillment centers, which benefit both you and your customers. First, it improves transit time by bringing the supply chain closer to customers. Second, with inventory stored at more than one location, product can be shipped from the location closest to the consumer and reach them faster without incurring expedited delivery fees. Third, having distribution centers across the country gives you options if a facility shuts down for several days in the event of a crisis, such as a coronavirus outbreak.
  4. Optimize your packaging. Packaging doesn’t just protect products. It reinforces your brand and affects the customer’s overall experience. Consider evaluating whether you are using the right materials—and the right amount of materials—for maximum efficiency. Reducing the size/weight of your packaging and eliminating excess materials can create savings and allow more orders to get loaded for delivery.
  5. Take advantage of technology. Visible’s systems and processes work together seamlessly and efficiently to deliver optimal service to you and your customers. We optimize clients’ shipping processes using proprietary technology with high levels of automation and full transparency. Our scan and pack verification system adds an extra layer of accuracy and quality control to our fulfillment process, ensuring the right products get delivered to the right place as timely as possible. In addition to integrating with clients’ systems for efficient data transmission, Visible provides tracking information through its 24/7 customer web portal and customized reports.

 

Looking Ahead

Although COVID-19 has created supply chain disruptions on a global scale, it has also created opportunity. Companies are reevaluating their supply chains, finding ways to increase resilience and efficiency and build customer loyalty. Visible clients are equipped with options and a dedicated partner for support every step of the way, from strategy development to execution.

We appreciate your business and are committed to helping you deliver the best possible service to your clients. Please contact your account representative if you are interested in exploring service level options or fulfillment strategies. We are here to help.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta

Case Study: Cross Dock Solution

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Visible Improves Supply Chain Efficiency through Central Hub Consolidation, Custom-Built Receiving App

By streamlining operations and tailoring technology to its client’s needs, Visible reduced its customer’s transportation costs, delivered greater visibility and improved overall supply chain efficiency.

 

The Client

A multinational corporation that provides solutions for automation in manufacturing, energy efficiency, HVAC and infrastructure improvements.

 

Challenge

In the client’s former process, product that was imported from international suppliers or manufactured within the United States was shipped Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) directly to various destination plants across the country. This operation was not cost-effective and failed to provide the visibility and validation necessary for business management and planning. Service failures, damages, overages and shortages were difficult to track, manage and rectify.

 

Solution

In Visible’s solution, freight would be delivered to a central hub (Visible’s Dallas facility) to be validated, received, consolidated and shipped FTL to destination plants according to the client’s daily load plan.

 

Product Validation

Visible validated that information such as product type, pallet count and weight of the inbound freight matched supplier documentation. Visible reported discrepancies and damaged freight to the client immediately with photos and supporting documentation.

 

Custom-Built Receiving Application

Inbound and outbound processes needed to be executed swiftly, which meant that data needed to be entered into the Warehouse Management System (WMS) efficiently—and accurately. To accomplish this, Visible developers built an application that would enable data scanned from the client’s barcodes to populate specific fields in Visible’s WMS. Receipt data was transmitted directly into the client’s system.

 

Outbound Processing

Once received, product was consolidated by destination plant for outbound shipping. Visible ensured that the outbound freight followed the client’s outbound load plan and that maximum weight was not exceeded.

 

Visibility & Reporting

Integration was established between Visible’s system and its client’s system so that orders could be sent directly to Visible’s WMS and provide immediate visibility. Visible also provided customized reports, including KPI scorecards and Business Reviews.

 

Results

  • Increased visibility and data accuracy through system integration and usage of customized scanning application
  • Cost savings by consolidating inbound freight and shipping FTL
  • Improved efficiency, with validation, receiving and outbound processes taking place within an hour

 

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Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta

Case Study: DC Relocation Solution

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The Client

Visible Delivers Supply Chain Optimization for Private-Label LED Lighting Provider

Visible’s client offers turnkey, private-label LED lighting solutions, including an expansive library of LED filaments and standard LED lights.

 

Challenge

The company had been importing containers from China and shipping them from the West Coast to a distribution center (DC) in Dallas. Their goal was to reduce transit time and transportation spend, but they lacked the in-house logistics expertise to optimize their supply chain and sought a partner to help them achieve their desired results.

 

Solution

Supply Chain Analysis & DC Relocation

After several months of providing import services and establishing itself as a reliable partner, Visible created a proposal for its client demonstrating how transporting containers to a DC on the West Coast instead of Dallas would reduce both transit time and overall spend. Visible had the 100,000-square-foot distribution operation up and running at its Seattle facility within 30 days of its customer accepting the relocation proposal.

Competitive Fixed-Rate Ocean Pricing

The client’s former provider was able to offer only spot market rates on their ocean imports. Visible was able to supply a non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) service agreement, or NSA, which secured the client competitive fixed-rate pricing with a minimum quantity commitment (MQC).

Integration & Reporting

Visible established EDI Integration with agents at origin to improve communication efficiency and created customized, scheduled reports for the client to monitor ACH payments, cost per unit, container locations and KPIs.

 

Results

  • The client saved 40% per inbound ocean freight container and 13 days transit time
  • Relocating the customer’s DC from Dallas to Seattle resulted in $2M in annual transportation savings
  • With Visible managing the distribution operation, the order fill rate improved to more than 98%

 

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Download PDF

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta

Case Study: 3-2 Transload Solution

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Solution Overview

Visible Reduces Spend, Transit Time for Leader in Water Sports Product Manufacturing

Visible’s client, a Denver-based manufacturer of water sports products, had been importing approximately 350 containers from China annually and shipping them via rail to Denver.

After performing an analysis of its client’s supply chain, Visible created a solution to reduce cost and transit time. Visible proposed that the client’s freight be delivered to their facility near Seattle and transloaded from three 40’ high cube (HC) containers to two Denver-bound domestic trailers, which would save the client $328K annually.

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Download PDF

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta

Beware of the Dangers of an Unauthorized USPS Rate

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With shipping costs rising and businesses looking for any competitive advantage in the shipping space, it’s understandable that business owners will take advantage of any savings they can get on shipping rates. The past few years have created some confusion on how to get approved access to shipping discounts for technology providers and product-based businesses using the USPS. As a USPS approved reseller, here are some insights into the current trends and the options available to get access to authorized rates and programs with the post office.

 

What is a USPS Negotiated Services Agreement?

Per the postal service’s page for Negotiated Services Agreement, “A Negotiated Service Agreement is a contractual agreement between the U.S. Postal Service® and an individual company that provides customized pricing incentives or other arrangements justified by a shift in the company’s mail operations. NSAs are intended to meet the needs of specific customers for whom mail is an integral part of their business strategy.”

 These USPS agreements were intended for the exclusive use of the contract holder and their packages. They were not intended for these contract holders to offer discounts to smaller businesses on their USPS discounted rate and make a profit on each label.

 

Reduction in Active USPS NSAs

Active USPS negotiated service agreements with the USPS reached a peak of 320 in 2017 and the active NSAs have been reduced each year to the current number of 138 active competitive domestic and international NSAs.

The unauthorized use of these discounted rates is one of the main driving forces behind the focus on the reduction of these contracts. The prevalent access to these NSA rates certainly negatively impacted the revenue for the post office. These small to mid-sized companies that piggybacked on these rate agreements were not authorized for a discount below commercial plus pricing and the post office was only being paid postage at the discounted NSA rate.

 

Difference Between USPS Approved Resellers and USPS NSA

There are only four companies that are USPS Approved Resellers. At Visible SCM, we take great pride in our long-term partnership with the postal service. It’s allowed us to reduce shipping costs for tens of thousands of individual companies around the country and the world. As a USPS Approved Reseller, Visible is able to offer our authorized rates to our customers and shipping technology partners.  This means the customer and technology partner can depend on their ability to utilize those USPS services at approved rates and not worry that their access to rates and ability to print USPS labels will go away.

Negotiated services agreements were not authorized for broad use by shipping technology companies and unapproved companies without the shipping volume to justify those special discounts. Those contracts were approved and expressly intended for use by the contract holder.

 

What Happens if You’re Shipping on an Unauthorized NSA?

The simple answer is that you can lose your discounted rate and lose revenue due to an unexpected increase in shipping costs. This should be worrisome for any company that wants to be able to count on their shipping software provider and carrier relationship to get their packages to their customers. Obviously, every business owner should care about keeping their shipping costs down but risking the ability to ship at all certainly doesn’t justify a small discount.

This is especially important for technology providers or fulfillment warehouses that need to make sure they will have continued ability to support their customers day in and day out. Abuse of the NSA program has created situations where the end shippers are left scrambling to find an immediate solution because the technology and rate were taken away at the same time.

 

Visible’s USPS High Volume Shipping Program

Visible also has programs available to expedite the approval process for high volume shippers looking to establish an approved discount on USPS shipping services. Our high-volume USPS program is designed and approved by the Post Office to qualify your company for a discounted USPS rate.

Many companies already qualify for this program but are unaware of how simple Visible has made the process. If your business is currently shipping, or on-track to ship 150,000 packages using USPS Priority Mail, USPS Flat Rate Boxes, USPS Cubic, or USPS Parcel Select, then you may be eligible for a discount. Our team can quickly guide you through the application process and help you implement the new discounted rate if and when you’re approved.

 

Visible’s USPS High Volume Shipping Program

Visible also has programs available to expedite the approval process for high volume shippers looking to establish an approved discount on USPS shipping services. Our high-volume USPS program is designed and approved by the Post Office to qualify your company for a discounted USPS rate.

Many companies already qualify for this program but are unaware of how simple Visible has made the process. If your business is currently shipping, or on-track to ship 150,000 packages using USPS Priority Mail, USPS Flat Rate Boxes, USPS Cubic, or USPS Parcel Select, then you may be eligible for a discount. Our team can quickly guide you through the application process and help you implement the new discounted rate if and when you’re approved.

 

Visible SCM Delivers Reliable Savings

Everyone wants to get shipping discounts, but it’s never been more important to understand whether those discounts are authorized by your shipping rate provider. As a USPS Authorized Reseller, Visible gives your company savings that you can count on. Contact us today at 385-213-3470 or schedule a call with one of our USPS shipping experts.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta

Keep the Supply Chain Running Smoothly with Visible Kitting & Repack Services

kitting repack

Since the coronavirus outbreak, some companies are finding they need to downsize their product count, or re-case/reconfigure products into new packaging to get it out to the marketplace quickly and efficiently. This can be accomplished through kitting and repack services.

Kitting is the assembly of separate pieces into a single offering. Creating kits makes it possible to have a ready-to-ship set when a customer places an order to expedite the fulfillment process. Common scenarios where kitting and assembly services are needed: multiple components arrive separately that need to be assembled, inventory needs to be prepared in a particular way for customers, or inventory needs to be broken down from a case into single units (or vice versa).

Common Examples: Product Samples | Electronics | Nutritional Supplements | Media Kits & Promo | Items Multi-Level Marketing Kits | Subscription Box Programs | Cosmetics & Beauty Products

 

Benefits:

  • Faster order fulfillment. Fulfillment time decreases with each kit counted as a single SKU.
  • Reduced shipping mistakes. Items don’t have to be weighed or labeled separately—plus, shipping labels can be pre-printed. Eliminating steps in the process helps eliminate the chance of errors.
  • Cost-effective and efficient packaging. Shipping costs can decrease when kits are packaged in a box customized by weight and size. Efficient packaging also means better customer service.
  • Improved operational and facilities management with reduced amount of floor space used in manufacturing facilities.
  • Shipment savings. Orders can be consolidated into a shipping unit or in larger bundles.

 

3PLs can manage these tedious tasks in a way that prevents errors, lost or misplaced parts, and general disarray due to volume. Kitting eliminates wasted time and disorganization, streamlining the entire system.

Teaming up with the right logistics service provider during this time is going to be crucial to ensuring things are properly handled and the demand for additional products is met. Your 3PL should have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure accuracy in inventory management and order fulfillment among other important aspects of the supply chain.

You should also make sure that your service provider has the technology to accurately manage inventory and provide total visibility. Strong reporting capabilities are critical for transparency, monitoring performance, and decision making. It is also helpful to have system integration in place for improved efficiency and web portal access to view real-time data, including orders and inventory.

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta

USMCA Takes Effect – Key Changes & Tips

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The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact went into effect July 1, replacing 26-year-old NAFTA and bringing new regulations aimed at boosting North American economies. While the USMCA retains a structure similar to NAFTA, changes to rules of origin (ROO) requirements, de minimis levels, the sunset clause and more will have wide-ranging impact for shippers going forward.

 

RULES OF ORIGIN REQUIREMENTS

  • Significant adjustments have been made to NAFTA’s rules of origin (ROOs), particularly for certain textiles and apparel, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronic projects, energy products, and automotive products.
  • Products that previously qualified for duty preferences may no longer qualify; products that previously did not qualify may now qualify (e.g., certain elastic fabric or sewing thread must be sourced from a USMCA Party to receive preferential treatment).
  • Automotive ROOs: Automakers must annually certify that 75% of auto content originates from Canada, the US, or Mexico. A certain percentage of vehicle content must be made by workers earning at least $16/hr.

 

DE MINIMIS

  • De minimis thresholds determine which low-value parcels can be shipped across international borders tax free, tariff free, and with simple customs forms.
  • Canada will raise de minimis levels from 20 to 40 Canadian dollars and provide duty-free shipments for items valued up to 150 Canadian dollars.
  • Mexico’s de minimis values will remain at $50 and provide duty-free shipments up to the equivalent level of $117.
  • These improvements will encourage online shopping, a benefit not only to US sellers but also to Mexican and Canadian buyers.

 

CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN

  • USMCA’s process of obtaining a certificate will be administratively less burdensome.
  • While previously only exporters or producers could complete certificates of origin, an importer can now do so as well.

 

SUNSET CLAUSE

USMCA will terminate 16 years after its entry into force unless all Parties agree to extend it by another 16 years. The decision will be made during a joint review conducted six years after its entry into force. If a Party determines that it does not want to extend USMCA during any joint review, the Parties will conduct annual joint reviews during the remainder of the USMCA’s term.

 

OTHER AREAS WITH KEY CHANGES

Labor Investigations, Intellectual Property Rights Protections, Investor-State Dispute Settlements, Digital Trade.

 

VISIBLE SUPPLY CHAIN ADVICE

  • Review previous NAFTA Certificates of Origin and ensure that suppliers are compliant with the new USMCA deal.
  • Keep the sunset clause in mind when restructuring the supply chain; contingency plans should be made over the long term due to the agreement’s possible termination.
  • Get in a better position to benefit from the USMCA by mapping the supply chain and establishing visibility into supplier networks.
  • Invest in visibility tools that allow supply chain managers to quickly qualify, onboard and monitor suppliers remotely, which will be key throughout the pandemic.

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta

Ecommerce Trends & Tips During COVID-19

ecommerce trends tips covid-19

ECOMMERCE TRENDS

Influx of online shopping for “new essentials.” As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, how and what people are buying has changed. Although people continue shopping, they are more conscious of what they spend money on. With more time being spent at home, there has been a rise in a new category of goods being referred to as “new essentials.” This category includes products that make staying at home more comfortable, such as office supplies, exercise gear, home improvement-related items, and hobby supplies. In fact, these new essential categories make up nearly 40% of sales among consumers.

Increased ecommerce delivery and supply chain concerns. An increase in demand is a good thing, but there is concern that supply won’t be able to meet it.

Companies who have built immense in-sourced fulfillment networks are considering outsourcing.This is owed largely to the fixed nature of owned or leased fulfillment assets amid the constant change. Fulfillment shifts are difficult for asset-heavy operators and they may lack the financial flexibility to diversify.

Online stores are diversifying products. Businesses have pivoted to stay competitive, adding soaps and other hygiene products, medical supplies, or various DIY or self-care related products.

Rise of purchasing groceries online. Online grocery delivery services are booming, acquiring new customers even outside their previous majority demographic.

Increased coronavirus-related ecommerce stores. The rise of ecommerce platforms has lowered the barrier to entry to sell online, a positive thing for retailers providing quality products to their customers.

 

Tips for Adapting Your Business

Conduct a customer-needs evaluation. Think about your target or ideal customer groups and their current situations. Are they working from home, serving on the front lines as essential workers, or furloughed/laid off? What are their particular needs and concerns right now? Once you understand their needs, you can assess your readiness to meet them. Consider whether you currently have the inventory to support their needs or if you should consider pivoting to better serve them.

Contact your manufacturers. Talk to them about where they stand on production and how they anticipate coronavirus impacting their business. You can’t plan for what you don’t know, so do your best to be as informed as possible about all aspects of your supply chain.

Search for alternative providers. Having a few different options to lean on as the situation evolves globally can help you mitigate risk.

Consider building your fulfillment network. For a single DC operation, if someone tests positive for COVID-19, things could be shut down for a while. The more fulfillment options within a network, the less the risk there is that the network will lose core fulfillment capacity. Plus, having multiple partners to call on during a crisis is a great advantage and helps you be ready to ship any item from nearly anywhere.

Outsource your ecommerce fulfillment. Paying only for the space you need is a plus in times of swinging demand. Maintain visibility to inventory across your network so all locations are enabled as potential inventory fulfillment points.

 

Contact Visible Today

Visible Supply Chain Management has thousands of satisfied customers and clients that rely on our company for their various shipping and logistics needs.  We’re here to help you today.  Contact us at 877.728.5328 to start the conversation about how we can help your company.

 

pandemic impact on supply chain cta