Top Shipping and Supply Chain Tips for 2019
Total Retail recently released its 50 Best Retail Tips of 2018 report, featuring valuable insights from our e-newsletter (Total Retail Report) and website over the course of last year. The 50 best tips were chosen by Total Retail's editorial team, and they cover nearly facet of running a successful retail business in 2019 and beyond. As part of our coverage of this report, we'd like to share select tips with you. Today, we're revealing tips from the Shipping and Supply Chain categories. In addition to the tip itself, each source article will be linked so that you can enjoy the full-length articles.
- If you’re a high-volume retailer and need to get customer orders out the door quickly, use zone skipping. Zone skipping is a logistics technique where shippers hold customer orders destined for a particular region until the quantity reaches a full truckload. These orders are then shipped in bulk to that region, saving on shipping costs.
Matt Mullen, ProShip, “How to Turn Shipping Into a Competitive Advantage,” Total Retail Report, June 19
- Carrier rate structures (e.g., flat rate and free shipping), return policies, weekend shipping and delivery, and communicating shipping carrier deadline dates all are part of the customer experience that can build continual future business. E-commerce sellers should be well aware of and fully communicate to their customers the important holiday shipping deadlines for all carriers.
Chris Vaughn, ShippingEasy, “Holiday Shipping Tips for Now and Throughout 2019,” Total Retail Report, Nov. 27
- Adding a digital element to physical assets creates a true picture of the network. The modern retail landscape requires a greater view of the supply chain and the flow of inventory from source to consumer. With digital technologies such as RFID, IoT, enhanced serialization and Wi-Fi, there are a growing number of ways in which supply chains can digitize the physical inventory and the assets flowing through them. This means that supply chains can finally bring clarity to what were otherwise physical objects. Simply put, as more inventory and assets are digitized, retailers will have a greater understanding of what’s available and where it’s available. Whether it’s inventory at the supplier level or on the store shelf, the complete picture of inventory is the basis of improved fulfillment. Knowing more precisely where and in what quantities inventory is being held allows the retailer to better meet its customers’ demands.
Guy Courtin, Infor, “The Value in Having a Digital Supply Chain,” Total Retail Report, Nov. 20
- Retailers must consider the total cost-to-serve — i.e., the sum total of costs associated with getting a product into the customer’s hands, from manufacturing and sourcing all the way to transportation, warehousing and last-mile delivery. Many retailers operate in functional silos, only focusing on costs within the functional domain. However, the cost of purchasing inventory, shipping it and storing it are all key for supply chain managers to consider when setting price. For example, switching a vendor just based on the cost of acquiring the product can be myopic. If vendors A and B offer similar products, and vendor B charges less but takes twice as long to deliver, the cost of carrying the extra inventory in the system downstream of the buy decision can adversely impact the total cost-to-serve. The current tariff wars and Brexit call for retailers to be prepared with a range of scenarios to optimize cost-to-serve. Without a clear understanding of what the total cost-to-serve is, retailers risk promoting behaviors that result in excessive costs or lost revenue.
Dr. Madhav Durbha, LLamasoft, “Optimizing the Supply Chain for a Successful Holiday Season,” Total Retail Report, Dec. 3
To gain access to all 50 tips, which cover a variety of categories, including marketing, merchandising, inventory management, omnichannel, and others, download the full report today!