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May 3, 2022

Now Is the Time To Start Integrating Innovative Logistics Into Your Business

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This blog post was originally published by Deliverr, which is now Flexport. The content has been adjusted to fit the Flexport brand voice and tone, but all other information remains unchanged. With the merging of Deliverr’s services (DTC fulfillment, B2B distribution, and Last Mile delivery) into Flexport’s existing international freight and technology services, we’re now able to provide merchants with true end-to-end logistics solutions spanning from the factory floor to the customer’s door.

Businesses are being put to the test as they continue to navigate a volatile supply chain worldwide. Despite a hopeful start to 2022, problems with product delays and inefficient processing times persist. Most recently, Shanghai factories are facing pressures and hiccups as they try to navigate another series of shutdowns due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Below is a graph showing increased port backups as a direct effect of these shutdowns:

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So, should you be concerned as an eCommerce merchant? The short answer is yes. History shows that no matter where a supply chain disruption originates, it tends to create a domino effect on the entire global supply chain.

While most businesses have learned to be flexible and pivot to compensate for these delays, many are still proactively searching for efficient and effective ways to thrive in this new normal. It’s now more important than ever to integrate innovative logistics into your business to help navigate current and future supply chain disruptions like these. Read on for tips on how to tackle current supply chain challenges and solutions to consider implementing.

Tip 1: Rely on Real-Time Inventory Data To Drive Decisions

Longer shipping times require your business to make product decisions earlier than ever, especially for seasonal items. It’s recommended that you plan inventory and submit purchase orders as early as six months in advance. Waiting until late summer will no longer guarantee items will ship and be stocked in time for eCommerce’s busiest shopping seasons, and this goes for all types of shipments in all legs of the supply chain journey.

For example, your product can run into supply chain constraints when leaving or departing international manufacturers due to port issues in Asia. And it can also experience backups in the U.S. due to rail and port congestion state-side, as shown in the charts below:

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Solution: Have an Inventory Management System in Place

To make informed decisions, have an inventory management system in place that allows you to see in-stock inventory across multiple channels. Selling across multiple channels while storing merchandise in various warehouses can be a recipe for disaster when different providers use their own tracking systems. Having a single partner with advanced technology helps ensure items are always in stock and available to ship with the click of a button.

Partnering with a logistics provider like Flexport takes the guesswork out of managing inventory. We seamlessly integrate across all your channels to provide product visibility, allowing you to know exactly what’s in stock and what needs to be replenished so you can react in real time to supply chain disruptions.

Tip 2: Buy More Now To Avoid Regret Later

Between increased imports, decreased workforce, and transit delays, many businesses will be left without merchandise during busy shopping seasons. To combat this problem, order early and order in excess when budgets allow. The goal is to have an abundance of high-demand products in storage now to avoid shipping delays later.

Solution: Storage for Confident Planning and Predictable Supply Chain

Flexport's storage solution allows you to tackle supply chain woes head-on. Connect your inventory to your customer demand, across any channel, any time, anywhere. Eliminate the headaches of production delays and shipping snafus with a single inventory partner who handles the end-to-end logistics process so you don’t have to.

With Reserve Storage, your inventory is accounted for and ready to send to the destination of your choice—FBA, B2B, your own warehouse, and more. No matter where it’s going, all combinations of inbound and outbound get taken into account for a more flexible inventory flow when it matters most.

Tip 3: Find Trusted Transportation Options

The transportation piece of your logistics operation can be the toughest to get right.

Freight services require a lot of coordination across many systems and providers. This manual coordination is time-consuming, results in delays, and is often expensive. Clear communication is required to ensure all parties involved are in sync for when deliveries are expected to arrive and be transloaded for the next part of their journey. Below shows two examples of how schedule reliability and dwell times are being impacted by supply chain disruptions across the globe:

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Solution: Transportation for the Modern Merchant

Your business needs a hassle-free, fast freight solution that gets your inventory where it needs to go on time. Flexport offers several freight servicesto simplify your current logistics headaches. Our modern drayage and transloading freight model ensures speed is on your side. Our team handles the end-to-end transportation and coordination between freight forwarders, drayman, and warehouses so you don’t have to. All while offering full visibility into where your containers are throughout the entire process.

Whether your business needs drayage and transloading, Less-than-truckload and full-truckload, or general brokerage services, Flexport has it all to help your business tackle current supply chain constraints.

Tip 4: Leave the Prep Work to the Experts

Prepping inventory in-house is time-consuming and requires the right operational infrastructure. Inventory may get held up due to compliance issues or can face damages while in transit, especially when selling on multiple channels. According to Conner Industries,

Packaging Digest reports that as much as 11% of unit loads arriving at a distribution center have some level of case damage. While damage in transit is often thought of as a logistics problem, the root of the problem may actually be in your packaging design, material handling policies, or storage procedures, long before transportation gets ahold of the product.”

Every step of your logistics process has the potential to weigh you down or stifle your growth. Simply put, you can’t afford to lose inventory when ports are backed up and shipments are delayed.

Solution: Avoid Rejected Inventory and Lost Sales Cycles

Flexport Prep allows you to avoid costly lost cycles from inventory issues with non-compliance and damages. Our value-added services ensure your inventory is properly prepped and adheres to each and every downstream fulfillment provider’s requirements. Whether it’s wiping down dirty products, wrapping glass items in bubble wrap, or placing bottles in custom packaging to avoid damage—Flexport Prep can handle it all.

No more keeping track of downstream fulfillment compliance regulations, having costly non-compliant inventory fees eating up your budget, or losing time from rejected inventory. Flexport Prep eliminates all your supply chain fears.

Are You Ready To Start Integrating Innovative Logistics Into Your Business?

Merchants are tirelessly searching for solutions to the supply chain constraints we hoped would pass. Now that production delays, workforce shortages, and transportation slowdowns continue to threaten the industry, it’s time to invest in innovative logistics solutions that can benefit your business in the long run.

Finding ways to streamline operations through efficient inventory management, storing inventory to meet consumer demand, outsourcing prep services, and finding reliable freight options allows your team to spend time focusing on your bottom line instead of worrying about operations.

If you’d like to start integrating innovative logistics like these into your business, get in touch with our teams today:

  • If you want to access storage for confident planning and predictable supply chain, click here
  • To ensure your goods are transported via Freight in a timely manner to avoid additional delays, click here
  • And to avoid rejected inventory and lost cycles from broken or non-compliant inventory, click here

The contents of this blog are made available for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for any legal, business, or financial decisions. We do not guarantee, represent, or warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the contents of this blog because they are based on Flexport’s current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions, about which there can be no assurance due to various anticipated and unanticipated events that may occur. This blog has been prepared to the best of Flexport’s knowledge and research; however, the information presented in this blog herein may not reflect the most current regulatory or industry developments. Neither Flexport nor its advisors or affiliates shall be liable for any losses that arise in any way due to the reliance on the contents contained in this blog.

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2023 Logistics Trends Report

Learn more about how merchants are tackling supply chain challenges in our trends report.

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