How to Assess If Multiple Distribution Centers Can Reduce Shipping Costs and Time to Customer

Without a doubt, Amazon is king of multi-distribution center processing and shipping.  In May 2019 industry sources estimated that Amazon shipped to 72% of the US population in one day from its 75 centers with 125,000 employees.  In 2019, Amazon shipped 3.5 billion packages, compared to FedEx at 3.4 billion.  Morgan Stanley expects Amazon to surpass UPS in 2022.

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How to Assess If Multiple Distribution Centers Can Reduce Shipping Costs and Time to Customer

Some days you might feel like you’re caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Like clockwork, carriers increase their charges. The competition is absorbing more of their shipping costs and offering “free” shipping. The customer’s “point, click and deliver” mentality is here to stay.

Amazon, with DCs in almost every state, can deliver to 44% or more of the US population in 4 hours or less. CEO Jeff Bezos says Prime members -- who get free 2 hour delivery on some products -- now exceed 100 million globally. It has become routine for millions of shoppers to buy commodity items like paper products, soft drinks, pet products, etc., avoiding trips to the store.

The cost of shipping and the time to get the package to the customer affects many customers’ decisions to buy from your business. As these trends continue, multiple distribution centers may be the best bet to reduce shipping costs and deliver faster to the customer. As an alternative to internally managing additional facilities, we recommend companies evaluate the use of 3PL as a major way to reduce start up investment and shorten the schedule. You may be able to reach 80% of your customers in 1-2 days via ground from two strategically placed centers.

However, multi-DC strategies are not the right strategy for every company because of the added expenses, inventory required and managing a second remote center. 

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Do You Understand Where You’re Losing Money on Shipping & Handling?

This title of this blog might sound naïve considering S&H’s high cost to direct-to-customer businesses and the time companies spend on discussing it. Let me give you two examples to show you maybe there is additional homework companies need to do before changing policies.

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Are You Holding Onto Your Order Management System Too Long?

In many cases, businesses are holding on to their installed order management system or ERP for more order management systemthan 10 years – sometimes 15+ years – if they believe they’re the right fit. On the face of it, this is sound thinking; considering the time and expense involved in implementing a new system.

Your order management system or ERP may be right for your call center, the merchandisers’ management of inventory, accounting systems and integration with your web platform. But are your fulfillment system requirements the same as they were 10-15 years ago? For many businesses, the answer is a resounding no.

Maybe you’re being too conservative by expecting incrementally greater productivity from your distribution center’s warehouse management system each year without additional functionality. In most companies, direct and indirect labor accounts for more than 50% of the total cost of fulfillment, excluding cost of shipping. People productivity in a DC is largely based on the feature/function set designed into the systems.

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Get Ready For Holiday Season - Conduct an Operational Audit Now!

Summer time is here, the kids are out of school, time to hit the pool, right? I know that you don't want to operational audithear this, but it is prime time to conduct an operational audit to identify those areas needing improvements. Believe it or not there are only 5 months left before the Holiday season is here again! Make certain that you have ample time to implement your fixes, develop strategies and plans for the distribution center. What are the objectives you and your management team have set for improving operations this year?

Here are a few areas to look at for your operational audit in order to determine what changes will be most beneficial to your distribution center and operations: 

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How Do I Reduce My Cost of Shipping?


Outbound cost of shipping now averages 6% to 8% of the average order (often much higher for someReduce Cost of Shippingbusinesses), exceeding fulfillment labor costs. Carriers can also add over 90 accessorial charges, and there is no end in sight. Consumers take shipping & processing (S&P) rates into account in their purchasing decisions, with these charges among the top reasons for cart abandonment.


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How Does Your Cost of Shipping Compare?

There is always a lot to keep in mind when dealing with your company's freight contracts and shipping ratesCost of Shipping - both LTL/TL and small parcel. We feel like there is a need to keep a few points in mind when looking at your LTL/TL inbound freight rates and to continuously strive to make improvements. Below, we have introduced a few of those points. We have  briefly outlined the current freight market, listed a few cost saving opportunities and mentioned how you can get a confidential, no-charge freight rate audit to benchmark your current cost of shipping

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Conducting a Business-Wide Assessment to Lower Freight Costs

With the continual increases in the costs of oil and its effect on shipping rates, companies need to conduct a business-wide assessment in order to reduce your shipping costs. Here are 15 short- and long-term options
to investigate:

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Warehouse Improvements to Implement Before Holiday Season

Believe it or not, there is still a window of opportunity to make sure you are ready for this Holiday Season. Just think back to last year's peak season for a moment. Can you and your business afford to have Round 2 (and for some of you it may be Round 10 or 12) of the issues that you faced in past peak seasons? You may have completed a brief post Holiday Season review of what worked and what needs to change in your operations. Dust off that document and review with management the outlined issues that occurred last year and the ones that still need to be addressed. This should be done before any other areas are assessed and tackled.

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Company-wide Input for Selecting Order Management System

Here's the picture: A multichannel company with sales of $20 million has an aging order management system that has been in place for over 20 years. While there are some things that the users like about the order management system, they have basically outgrown it. They need far better marketing information, e-commerce site to business systems interfaces, forecasting and inventory management, and the ability to deal better with light manufacturing and tracking sets and kits, which are a major part of their business.
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