Selecting a 3PL. When, Why, and How.

Are you a brand thinking about your logistics options? Is it a little too overwhelming weighing all your options and service needs? We’re here to help.

First, let’s start with what logistics companies do. The official definition of logistics is “the process of planning, implementing and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective transportation and storage of goods including services and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements …” That’s just a wordy way of saying that logistics companies specialize in helping you move product to your customers. Companies such as NRI work with their clients to build a strategy which will allow brands to focus on their core competencies such as product design, marketing, and sales – rather than on logistics.

When do you need a logistics company? Here are a few reasons you may consider when thinking about leveraging a 3PL:

1. Your team is overwhelmed

3PLs intimately know warehousing, shipping, and labor. They know how to leverage the finer points of these most effectively to receiving and house product, prepare shipments, and provide value-added services. We do this day in and day out. We have the labor capacity to put special touches on your orders on top of accurate pick, packing, and shipping that your employees may not have the time to do. We have a wide talent pool of employees and specialized departments who are able to provide total focus on your logistics and fulfillment needs. Partnering with a logistics company, such as NRI, will allow your employees to focus on other aspects of your business.

2. Your costs are increasing

If your costs are increasing, that may mean that your company is growing and growing fast – that’s amazing! But now, you have an increased over volume and increased costs in labor, materials, and other unexpected costs. You need to be able to focus on continuing to grow your brand, so partnering with a 3PL can decrease your costs and off-load the stress of shipping products.

3. Your inventory isn’t accurate

Does your company utilize an Inventory Management System (IMS)? Are you able to accurately keep up with your inventory? Logistics companies have IMSs that are vast and keep up with your ever-changing inventory. NRI, for example, has a proprietary software suite called Aspire that can manage not only your inventory, but forecasting and planning, labor, receipt, orders and returns, storage, invoices, freight services, and performance metrics. You’ll work with a team of NRI employees that can help with most anything you need assistance with.

4. You need a better solution

At the end of the day, in-house warehousing may not be the perfect solution for you. A 3PL will allow you to off-load your inventory management and order processing and focus on your customers. If your current solution isn’t working, here are a few considerations when choosing the right 3PL for you:

  • Does your prospective 3PL have a proven track record of success?
  • Who are their current and past clients?
  • Do they specialize in the fulfillment of your product categories? Markets?
  • Do they have the capacity to scale?
  • What does their technology look like and can they integrate with your current technology?

Whatever the reason is that you’re considering a logistics partner, it’s not as complicated nor scary as you may think. We’re experts in storing, picking, packing, and shipping products, as well as adding special touches to ensure that your brand promise and “feel” is not lost when you outsource fulfillment. We work with you on building the right solution for you and your brand.

NRI is a leader in fulfillment of apparel, footwear, accessories, and other select goods throughout North America. We tailor our solutions to your needs and provide a vast range of services. Contact us to learn more.

Shipping Times Matter to Your Customers

Shipping and delivery times are often hard to predict, particularly given the increase in carrier congestion as of late. Customers have become accustomed to receiving their packages almost instantly (thanks to a certain online retail giant) and it’s no surprise that they grow impatient when waiting for their delivery. In 2016, customers expected to receive their order about 5 days after they placed their order. Now, almost half of customers expect to receive their order within 2-3 days; that’s nearly 2 days sooner! The pressure is on all parts of the supply chain, since 83% of customers are less likely to make another purchase is there are shipping delays.

The million-dollar question is what can you do to reduce shipping times?  One of the benefits of NRI is we have a “4 Corners” strategy – facilities in Canada and the U.S. on both the east and west coasts of each country. For our clients with a heavily weighted east coast business, it may make sense to place inventory in the east. For those chasing the Pacific Coast customer base, place inventory in the west. NRI are experts in inventory management and can help you place inventory in all 4 corners if you wish – allowing you to ship your customers from the nearest facility. By placing your product in facilities on both of our coasts, in either Canada, the U.S., or both, NRI can help reduce shipping times significantly. We aim to help you in your success through geographical intelligence.

An added benefit to using our Canadian facilities is Section 321. Section 321 allows companies to import goods into the U.S. duty-free, so long as the retail value is below $800. Duties can often form a large portion of your product cost, and by finding ways to eliminate it your margins improve significantly. By placing your U.S.-destined ecommerce inventory in our Canadian facilities, you are set for even more savings!

Shipping times matter to your customers. NRI’s scalable solutions are designed thoughtfully to help you increase business, maintain customer satisfaction, and build lasting relationships.

For more information, contact us.