Everyone is looking for ways to improve their business, but too often the focus is put on internal changes to discover how existing partners can help bring about success. However, looking outside of your current operations is often the key to growth. Third-party logistics providers (3PL services) provide value-added services in logistics to help companies that manufacture or sell products find big wins. Logistics service providers are more than glorified warehouses—they provide a variety of features that can give your supply chain a competitive edge. If you want to add value to your supply chain, here are some of the features you can enjoy when working with a 3PL provider.
Industry Experience & Connections
3PL providers with years of experience have connections and resources to allow for the most efficient supply chain processes. They can leverage relationships and have a knowledge of industry trends and volume discounts. This results in lower overhead costs and a wider range of service options to help you manage your costs when your service needs change.
Reduce Labour Costs
When you outsource your order fulfillment, you can reduce labour costs on your end. You won’t need to staff a warehouse and hire workers to handle different tasks. Depending on the size of your operation, you may save a serious amount of capital. Instead of paying individual warehouse staff, your 3PL provider will take care of managing your warehouse and distribution processes with their own trained employees. By staying lean this way, you can focus on the core parts of your business, while your provider takes care of the rest.
Accurate & On-Time Fulfillment
The seamless flow of goods is necessary for successful production lines and the satisfaction of customers and online shoppers. 3PL providers can help shippers meet these requirements by making sure shipments are accurate and timely. With robust technology, 3PL providers can have a detailed view of everything that goes on within the supply chain. Visibility helps drivers follow the best routes to deliver products and helps warehouse staff move inventory along to enable faster shipping.
Reverse Logistics Assistance
Especially in e-commerce business, a solid reverse logistics solution is a must-have if you want to reduce waste and increase revenue. One of the supply chain value-added services a 3PL provider can offer is a reverse logistics solution. You will be able to salvage raw materials and recycle or reuse returned products. The core goal of this services is to give the original producer cost-savings by making the most of products and materials and allowing them to run a more environmentally-friendly supply chain with less waste.
Transparency and Integration in Warehouse & Distribution
Conversational transparency is one of the most important factors that affects unity and understanding in warehousing and distribution. Some IT systems allow consumers to view their product’s movement from shipping to delivery to arrival, which also helps manage expectations and improve customer service. Seeing the movement of your goods and products can impact your sustainability goals and boost your competitive edge by reducing the waste of revenue. Transparency features within the organization can include stock level notifications, order updates, shipping times, returns processing information, and more.
Transportation & Delivery Support
By leaning on the expertise and experience of a 3PL provider, you will be able to negotiate the lowest rates for picking, packing, and shipping methods. As a result, you can reduce the costs for shipping product orders to customers. You will notice that your conversion rates increase, and the rate of shopping cart abandonment will decrease.
Outsourcing logistics will save your company valuable time and money. 3PL providers can eliminate your need to have multiple warehouse spaces, technology, transportation, and staff, as they will have the necessary tools to execute the logistics process. They can save you from making costly mistakes and allow you to grow your global network with higher return on investment and lower risk. You won’t need to worry about paperwork, billing, staffing, training, and optimization to get your goods to your customers—they will handle all of it and keep you up to date.
E-commerce has created more global business opportunities for retailers and companies that manufacture products. It has provided access to global customers and expanded revenue streams. However, it can lead to the need of more staff and time dedicated to understanding complex legal compliance needs and trade requirements. 3PL providers can help companies understand these changes and provide the tools to help you meet expectations.
Find the Right Third-Party Logistics Service Provider in Toronto
Working with a 3PL provider can help you deal with challenges that come along the way in terms of costs, logistics, customer satisfaction, and changing expectations from suppliers and consumers. With their experience and connections, they can find you quick and effective solutions to problems like these that may hinder your success. They will also bring you many advantages such as supply chain management software and technology that increases visibility and communication between you and everyone in your business network.
If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL logistics in Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
As technology develops, quality management systems (QMS) also change. It’s important to evolve and adapt to newer technologies and systems to meet customer demands more efficiently and stay ahead of the competition. Companies need to find ways to reduce manufacturing and production rework and repairs to save money and achieve higher quality. Reducing manufacturing scrap requires proper planning and implementing certain strategies to enhance value in your supply chain. Here are some ways you can achieve quality scrap management.
What Is Manufacturing Rework?
Manufacturing rework is defined as the process of correcting defective, failed, or non-conforming items after inspection. This process includes responsibilities like disassembly, repair, replacement, reassembly, and more.
Causes and Cost of Rework in Manufacturing
The main causes of defective or problematic products include machine malfunction or human error, design change not communicated, improperly implemented design change, and product damaged in transit or during use. When this happens, the manufacturer or supplier will need to sort, rework, wash, and repackage the product. The document that reports products for rework will list the necessary tools and process to complete the rework. Reworks aren’t always complicated either. They can be as simple as replenishing the paint that was scraped off a product during shipping and improving the shipping process to prevent further products from being damaged.
How to Reduce Rework & Scrap
Being proactive is the best way to problem solve, as it predicts potential issues before they happen. The goal is to find the root cause of any potential issue and resolve it as simply and early as possible. Consider solutions such as:
- Acquiring new equipment and fixtures
- Improving employee training
- Software upgrades or additions
- Greater attention during design phase
- More emphasis on pre-production processes
- Additional packaging/handling procedures
Make a Plan for Scrap Materials
It is always ideal to repair or alter a product, but sometimes you have to throw products away. If this is the case, you should try to reduce the amount of waste as much as possible. Ask yourself: Can you avoid dumping fees? Can the product or parts of it be refurbished or repurposed? Are the parts recyclable? As much as you try to avoid it, rework is sometimes inevitable, but it should not use all of your time and energy.
Maintain Compliance Standards
QMS can help you understand what you need to do to evolve and keep up with the compliance standards. Most industries have mandatory requirements from government agencies, and all companies have customer requirements they must abide by. For most, the manufacturer needs to show detailed compliance records on a timely, accurate, and consistent basis. This process is highly time-consuming for companies who still use paper-systems and spreadsheets. The risk of errors is also higher with these systems. By implementing QMS, you will be more efficient at understanding the compliance requirements and standards, and better able to ensure accuracy, shared responsibility, compliance, and quality.
Applications or software that track data entered by workers work as a one-stop shop for all information, and reduces errors made during the manufacturing process. Companies that rely on manual paperwork need to upgrade their systems to automated QMS tracking software to be more efficient in today’s high-tech environment. This will help reduce a multi-step cross-verification process, and simplify data management.
Increase Quality Output
QMS offers features like real-time data analysis, which allows for faster problem solving. They ensure that process monitoring occurs and provides tools for corrective actions. Some QMS programs take it a step further and implement advanced product quality planning (APQP) to help create products and processes designed for successful results.
Reducing defects and wasted products will reduce your costs as well. The less products you need to spend time on reworking or scrapping, the more profit you will make from selling quality items to your customers.
Paper files must be backed up digitally, but with the incredible features and improvements in technology, paper documentation doesn’t cut it. If you haven’t already invested in digital software and filing systems, now is the time. Managing your drawings, bills of materials, and operating procedures manually wastes time and leaves you at the risk of falling behind. Using digitized files will make tracking revisions easier and ensure your staff are referencing the most current information.
Communication throughout Supply Chain
Changes can cause serious disruptions to your production process if they are not handled properly. They can affect the flow of production, required training, scheduling, total cost, and more. You can avoid this issue by making design changes after a production run, rather than in the middle. This will also make tracking product revision easier for you, your supplier, and your customers.
Identify & Correct Issues/Quality Control
To minimize costs associated with rework, you need to establish continuous improvement. By adopting a philosophy of ensuring your management of products is working its best, you can begin transforming your operations. Lean manufacturing practices will help you reduce waste and improve the quality of your products.
Our Approach to Rework & Scrap Management
Product rework and scrap management is something no company wants, but needs. These processes are fundamental to a good supply chain, and the use of QMS can help you provide consistent, quality products. Product rework helps companies deal with errors and problems more efficiently, while saving time and money. Managing these responsibilities on your own may be too much to handle, so working with a third-party logistics provider is a wise choice.
Lean Supply Solutions rises to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, retail distribution, manufacturing logistics, supply chain management (SCM), transportation and delivery, repackaging and packaging, product rework and repair, and more! Let us help you reduce product rework and scrapping, so you can get the most value out of your time. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
As your company grows, you may realize challenges arising regarding your customer demographics, locations, updated manufacturing methods, new technology, and more. Meeting these challenges, and continuing to provide the best service possible to your customers is only possible if you are able to adapt to these changes. While running your business from your home office seems like the affordable option, a growing business needs the ability to expand while still delivering the same efficiency and quality service. This is where third-party logistics service providers come in. 3PL fulfillment, distribution, and warehousing services in Toronto will help you stay afloat as your sales, customer base, and demands grow. What exactly are 3PL providers and what do they offer? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a 3PL Service Provider?
3PL service providers offer a variety of services and processes that help businesses reduce costs, improve efficiency and expand capabilities. These providers are flexible and scalable to help you accommodate the needs of your business. You can opt for a short-term partnership with these providers for peak seasons or choose a long-term solution to meet your goals for growth and expansion. Here’s what 3PL providers can do for you.
Our 3PL Services
If you, like many small to medium-sized businesses, do not have the resources or manpower to manage your e-commerce operations in your home office, a 3PL provider can empower you with affordable, professional services like online ordering, delivery services, warehousing, and more.
Warehousing & Distribution
Understanding how to utilize technology to boost efficiency is something 3PL providers excel at. It’s their job to help you implement technology to make it easier for customers to order your products online, track product movement, and more. A 3PL provider with effective warehouse management systems (WMS) can help you improve the sorting, picking, packing, and storing processes in the warehouse to simplify your work load.
Supply Chain Management
The active management of activities in the supply chain to increase customer value and excel against competitors is known as supply chain management (SCM). This service is provided by 3PL companies to help businesses develop and run their supply chain efficiently and effectively. From product development, sourcing, production, and logistics, to various and necessary information systems, a 3PL provider can manage and coordinate your activities.
Inventory management involves certain processes and systems that manage the supply chain, demand forecasting, inventory, and reverse logistics. Tools involved in inventory management systems (IMS) include safety stock, economic ordering quantity, cost of goods, customer-managed inventory, inventory turnover, vendor-managed inventory, and more. Each industry requires a unique level of IMS, which is why some 3PL providers utilize lean practices to help you use only what you need in terms of plant rental, standing inventory, shipping costs, etc.
Transportation & Delivery Services
Transportation is one of the most important areas in your supply chain and having the right partner can make all the difference. Choosing a 3PL provider who has warehouses near your customers will save you money in transportation, and allow you to deliver orders faster. They can also ensure consistent and safe delivery of your products.
Packaging & Repackaging Services
To meet the unique needs of your business, a 3PL provider will be flexible with its packaging and repackaging services. Packaging is more than just putting something in a box. It requires proper documentation, tracking, and sorting to name a few. From handling and record-keeping to weighing and pricing, your 3PL provider’s procedures should help you get the most of your packaging and repackaging at an affordable cost. Regarding repackaging specifically, this value-added service is designed to help you problem-solve when a change or reconfiguration needs to be made to a product.
It is important that your 3PL provider implement continuous improvement (CI) to improve your products, services, and processes. By doing this, they can help you make incremental improvements over time, or help you make breakthrough improvements that immediately take effect.
Benefits of Working with a 3PL Provider
There are many advantages to working with a 3PL provider. Here are some of the biggest improvements to your business with this partnership:
- Cost savings: With their vast network of resources around the area, they can provide you with the manpower, efficiency, and convenience to help you save money.
- Flexibility: Your business is constantly changing, and a 3PL provider with flexibility can help you accommodate those changes as they come.
- Efficiency: 3PL providers can make your business run better than ever. With lower cost per unit shipping, faster transportation, reduced delivery times, and more, you can focus on your core specialties like product development, sales, marketing, and customer service.
- Customer experience: You can achieve faster, more reliable delivery times, improve tracking and visibility to your customers, reduce the risk of damaged or incorrect product packaging, and much more. These benefits improve your quality of service and as a result, make your customers happier.
- International reach: The end goal for most companies is to expand further, so when you want to reach customers in a different country, you’ll need a partner that can meet international regulations, customs clearance, and communication expectations. A 3PL provider can help you enter new markets with their established and extensive networks.
How a Third-Party Logistics Company Can Help Your Business
A 3PL provider can help you thrive in challenging situations such as costs, logistics complexity, and the ever-changing customer demands. They can help you deal with these challenges before they hinder your success and they can bring you many additional benefits with their robust software and technology. If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL logistics in Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
It’s no surprise that the use of warehouse automation has been growing at a rapid pace. This is because of the continued growth of e-commerce and the challenges faced by organizations to keep up with the demands of an ever-changing global marketplace. E-commerce has had a huge impact on the logistics industry and consumers seek greater value, choice, and convenience when they order products online. As customer expectations rise, organizations need to keep up with their demands to succeed. Bringing logistics automation into the picture enables organizations to meet these expectations. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of automated sorting systems, and why you should include it as part of your logistics services.
Reduces Labour Cost
In the warehousing industry, there are typically a variety of similar tasks that need to be performed hundreds and thousands of times each day. By using automated sorters to replace some of these tasks, the labour hours necessary for operations can be reduced. This advantage is especially effective in today’s competitive labour market, where availability of workers is becoming a greater issue each year. The demands placed on operations are growing too quickly for warehouse workers to keep up, and there is a greater expectation for warehouses to do more in less time as time goes on. Automated sorters can handle time-consuming tasks that have a high risk of error, to help businesses keep up with the growing demands.
Complete Organizational Control
Automation allows businesses to control all the variables that affect their operations, and give them better control over possible future scenarios. Information control deals with knowing the exact number of orders filled per day, how many should have been filled, and how many were supplied on the same date in the past. If the results are disappointing, the organization will gain insights and notifications to demand an improvement.
Automated sorters help achieve over two times higher process efficiency without needing to expand storage space or workforce. The highest potential for these systems is seen in the picking process. The sorter uses a pick-by-light system where the list of products is replaced by a digital display of signal diodes. It suggests the actions that should be performed, and minimizes the risk of errors. Specifically, in regard to the picking process, speed is improved through the sorters. It enables order picking in parts to prepare a concrete batch that is quickly sent to the receiver.
When humans are in charge of the sorting process, errors can happen. Hand sorting can introduce errors and problems that can be avoided with the use of automated sorting systems. Issues like misrouted packages, or incorrect order picking can affect delivery times and customer satisfaction which are vital to your success as a business. By replacing manual labour with automated technology, you can get twice as much work done and reduce virtually all the risks of human error. These systems are capable of classifying over 300 boxes per minute with a single unit, and larger amounts with multiple units. When it comes to serving customers that demand high order quantities, these products can be delivered without error.
Improves Workplace Safety
People make mistakes, but this goes beyond damaging products or getting an order wrong. Safety in the workplace can mean the difference between a safe environment and a dangerous one. When workers get tired or distracted, accidents can happen, and these can cost the companies money and reputation. Broken products cannot be sold, and damaged equipment needs to be replaced. The worst accidents can lead to reportable injuries or even death! When employees are trying to keep up with high operational demands, these risks increase even more. By inviting automated systems into your operations, you can remove human error and many associated risks to save money and improve workplace safety. Automated sorting systems can handle hazardous substances, work in extreme temperatures, move heavy products, and operate in a controlled, organized manner even at top speeds.
Automation allows for better traceability, so customers can keep track of where their packages are. Data can be collected to give customers a timeline for when they can expect their order to arrive, all from one location. Without the risks of human error, automation decreases the requests about missing packages.
How Lean Supply Solutions Can Help You
As e-commerce develops and becomes more convenient for consumers, they have the ability to choose the delivery process for their orders. They make these choices based on affordability, reliability, and trackability. In order for these features to be affordable, businesses need to consider how efficiently they can manage their product movement. To be reliable, you need data. To be trackable, you need to share the data with your supply chain partners. This leaves businesses with the challenge of improving their operations to be better than their competitors.
Without the right support, your business can fall behind, and your consumers will be unsatisfied. To get the most from features like automated sorting, you will need a third-party logistics partner that has the right technology available to you.
Lean Supply Solutions provides supply chain management using automation and robust technology, and we make ourselves aware of the rising trends to help our clients succeed. We commit to being aware of our clients’ operational challenges and help them get the most out of their processes. We can offer consistent, accurate, and quality results by striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, while saving you money, and we can help you track and understand your metrics better. To learn more about our logistics company, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
October is here and there are just a few more months until the biggest time of year for e-commerce order fulfillment. Most retailers see the biggest spike in sales during the winter holiday season, and that’s why you need to be sure you’re set up to reap the biggest rewards of the year. If your holiday fulfillment strategy is not up to par with your competitors, you may lose incredible amounts of profits to other retailers who are ready. Here are some important tips for how you can get the most out of the holiday season.
Start Planning Now
If you’ve noticed any problems with your holiday planning last year, now is the time to fix issues or make any changes. Look at your historic data to make precise predictions about how this new holiday season will turn out. You should consider the following when making plans for the upcoming holiday season:
- Holiday sales projects and forecasts
- Number of expected peak periods
- Inventory tracking and timeliness
- Technology available to improve processes and speed
- Ability to communicate with your 3PL provider effectively to avoid catastrophes and delays
Update Technology to Accommodate Customers
One of the primary concerns for consumers is whether their orders will arrive on time. API and other similar technology can help you track and understand complex inventory and shipping processes to better manage costs. Cloud-based solutions are also a faster method of sharing and viewing real-time information with partners involved in the supply chain process. With the help of technology, you can help your customers get faster shipping, and a more personalized, visible shopping experience at your store.
Optimize Your Inventory Management
If you are a retailer that needs to order products months ahead of the holiday rush, now is the time to begin placing those orders. It is also wise to examine the best-selling products and ensure you have enough of them on-hand in inventory to accommodate the rush.
One of the advantages of running an e-commerce retail operation is that you can sell your product to anyone, anywhere. However, during the Christmas rush, these long distances can become challenging to manage. It can take over a week for ground packages to be shipped to long distances within the same country. Ahead of the holiday, spend time marketing to the local areas near your warehouses. By investing your money into customers, you can reach within two business days with ground service, you can offer free, two-day shipping ahead of the holidays without missing a timely delivery.
Get Ready for Packaging
Be sure you have enough supply of boxes, bags, packing tape, materials, stuffing, and printer ink ahead of time to prepare for the increase of packing during the holiday. Now may be a wise time to upgrade your tools by ordering tape guns, scales, and packaging dispensers, to help your staff move faster. By working with a scalable 3PL provider, you will be able to keep up with the rush.
Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Since big retailers are offering perks like two-day shipping and free shipping options, you will need to improve your shipping and delivery policies. Customers expect fast, affordable solutions at the click of a button, especially during the holidays. When they are working on tight timelines, you need to be able to provide service that meets their expectations. It can seem daunting for smaller businesses to offer the same speed of delivery, compared to giants like Amazon, but you can leverage with a 3PL provider’s fulfillment centers to get your products to your customers faster.
Strengthen Your Reverse Logistics Process
The holiday season is a time when customers will make more impulsive shopping decisions as they shop for themselves and their friends and family. Especially if you have an e-commerce store, you need to have a robust reverse logistics process in place once the holiday is over. Since most returns are made in the new year, you need to be sure you can provide policies that make returns easier for customers, and that you have strategies to reuse or resell returned products once they are back in your warehouse. Whether you handle returns on your own, or work with a 3PL provider, be sure this process is as straight-forward as possible for your customers. You should also think digitally about this—do you have a process that inputs inventory returns into the system as quickly as possible?
Consider Third-Party Fulfillment Services
The sooner you get in touch with a 3PL partner, the better. Setting up before the holiday rush will help you have the staff you need to handle the increase in orders and make sure you are carefully tracking your operations to provide your customers with the information they need. There are many benefits to working with a 3PL provider, whether you have a large business or run a smaller operation.
Prepare Now to Have a Successful Holiday Season with LSS
If you’re gearing up for a busy holiday season, now is the time to start preparing for the changes. Working with a 3PL provider is the best way for you to achieve scalability and efficiency during such an unpredictable time. If you need to keep up with reverse logistics, inventory management, customer satisfaction, and more, and feel overwhelmed by the many responsibilities ahead, let a 3PL partner take the load off for you.
Lean Supply Solutions is a scalable company that uses Lean Methodology to help its clients. We are aware of the rising trends in the industry and always strive to stay up to date. We commit to awareness of your operational challenges, especially during the busy holidays, and will help you have a successful season. Our 3PL, packaging, and supply chain management services can streamline your processes for better efficiency and speed, and we can help you get the right products to the right customers at the right time. Our services are consistent, accurate, and quality, and we can help you achieve amazing results. If you’re considering upgrading your business by working with our 3PL distribution team, contact us today.