Order Fulfillment Best Practices for Businesses
Sixty-nine percent of online shoppers say they are less likely to shop with a retailer if their order arrives more than two days late. On top of that, 14% of online shoppers say they would take their business elsewhere if their order delivers late just once.There are so many important steps that happen between placing an order and delivery. If you don’t have an efficient order fulfillment process in place, you could risk losing customers. Keep reading to learn more about best practices and how to improve your processes.
Tips and Best Practices
Order fulfillment is a crucial part of your business’ success and continued growth. There will be challenges along the way, but there are things you can do to improve your processes. Below are several strategies and best practices that will lead to satisfied customers.
Make sure you process incoming shipments quickly. Take note of any damaged goods and return them to the manufacturer for immediate replacement. This will make it easier to keep items in stock and keep your customers happy.
Organize Your Warehouse Efficiently
Place your best-selling items in the front of your warehouse. This will give pickers easy access and allow them to get orders out faster. Organize the rest of your inventory based on demand, with the least popular items in the back of the warehouse.
Optimize Your Inventory
Make sure the amount of inventory you hold matches the demand. If you don’t have enough inventory, you could run out of stock, causing delays in product fulfillment. If you have too much inventory, you might not be able to offload all of it, increasing your storage costs
Choose the Right Order Picking Strategy
An efficient order picking strategy will help improve your warehouse order fulfillment. Evaluate how many orders come in every day and how many staff members you have to pick orders to determine the best strategy.Two common picking strategies are discrete order picking and batch order picking. With discrete order picking, one order is picked at a time. With batch order picking, several orders are picked at a time.
Automate Your Processes
Automate as many of your processes as you can. With manual operations, you run the risk of human error. This can hurt your order fulfillment performance which can hinder growth.
Integrate Data Systems
Enhance your order fulfillment process by integrating with your suppliers. Having access to the same data helps get orders out faster. It also keeps your suppliers accountable for shipping the correct items to your warehouse.
Prioritize Shipping and Logistics
Shipping partners play an essential role in order fulfillment. Negotiate the best shipping rates and delivery schedules for your customers.Make sure you always have a backup plan for shipping. While a certain carrier might be reliable most of the time, that doesn’t mean that things will never go wrong. You don’t want your orders to be delayed because you didn’t think ahead.
Manage Customer Expectations
Set expectations with your customers about when they will receive their orders. If there are any shipping delays or other issues, notify the customer right away. Open lines of communication are essential to keeping your customers satisfied.
Prepare for Returns
Returns are inevitable, especially when it comes to e-commerce fulfillment. Rather than handling returns on a case-by-case basis, implement a standard return policy. This will improve customer satisfaction and help you account for the extra inventory.Include a return label with every order for easier processing. Make sure to have quality control checks as part of the return process. If a customer returns an item because it’s malfunctioning, you need to ensure that the item doesn’t get restocked by mistake.
Types of Order Fulfillment Models
While there are best practices you can follow, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for order fulfillment. There are a few different common models, each with its own pros and cons.
In-house order fulfillment means that all steps are completed internally. This model allows you to manage the entire process from end to end and is a good solution for small businesses. As your business grows, in-house order fulfillment can start to become too much to manage.
Under this model, warehouse management is outsourced to a third party. This takes a lot of work off your plate and frees up your staff to work on other tasks. It’s also helpful because you don’t have to worry about storing your inventory yourself. One of the downsides of outsourcing is that you give up control over your order fulfillment. Also, outsourcing only works well for stocked items, not custom or made-to-order products.
Drop shipping is when an order is produced and shipped by the manufacturer. This is a good choice for e-commerce companies because it helps keep overhead costs down. It also helps save your customers money by cutting out the middleman.Like outsourcing, drop shipping takes control of order fulfillment away from you. Also, shipping times might be longer if the manufacturer is in a different country than your customer base.
With a hybrid method, you use a combination of these models. For example, you might fulfill popular products in-house and outsource everything else. This model gives you the flexibility to fulfill your orders in a way that will help both your business and your customers.
Work With A Trusted Partner
Order fulfillment is crucial to customer satisfaction, so it’s important to get it right. There are plenty of best practices you can follow to improve your processes, but at the end of the day, you need to do what’s right for your business.Shield Works offers a wide range of services, including warehousing and fulfillment. We’re the trusted partner you need to take your business to the next level. Contact us today and let us know how we can help your business.
The Benefits of Outsourcing Product Distribution
One of the most important aspects of running a business is product distribution but it can also be one of the hardest to manage as well. The logistics of finding somewhere to store your products and then transporting them out to stores or customers can be a nightmare to figure out.
Product distribution ends up being the downfall for many companies. Problems in this area bleed out into other facets of the business. And result in a major loss of revenue that’s hard to overcome.
Even knowing how difficult it can be, many business owners avoid outsourcing product distribution and try to manage on their own. Life and business would be much simpler if they let the experts take control of these tasks and focused on their specialty.
Read on to learn all the benefits of having a distribution partner for your small business.
More Effective Processes
It’s so easy for product distribution systems to become inefficient very quickly. There are so many details to manage to get from product assembly to get them to stores, things can get missed in the mix of things.
Too often businesses find a system that works and stick with it for far too long. Instead of updating the process with new technology or structures, they let their company continue with what was good in the past. This can lead to major delays, product loss, or lower profit margins. Efficiency is key in product distribution and that means constant evolution.
Working with a product distribution center means you have access to all of the latest systems in the industry.
These professionals keep a sharp eye out for any areas of the process that are slowing things down or not running as smoothly as they should. They then implement changes to resolve those issues as fast as possible to keep your products moving to where they need to go.
Variety of Transportation Types
Transportation is an integral part of product distribution. In fact, none of it could happen without a variety of types of vehicles to move your shipments from place to place. But the industry is so vast, it can feel very overwhelming to try to figure out the best way to utilize the options in front of you.
Many business owners don’t have access to larger transportation operations because of how small their loads will be. Utilizing your distribution partner can help you tap into a whole new transportation arena.
Not to mention how much relief you’ll feel when you don’t have to figure out all of the logistics of moving your products. They can handle scheduling routes, managing port documentation, and all the other details that go into moving large shipments. These teams have relationships with many transportation vendors that can help get the job done.
For many of these transportation vehicles, larger shipments are needed to make the travel worth it. So working with a larger distribution partner can help get your products in with others to create the necessary volume.
Ability to Sustainably Grow
For most businesses, growth is a major priority. They want to scale all of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the company so that they can sell more products and have a larger revenue.
But too many businesses push this growth too quickly and end up burning out. They can’t sustain the resources they’ve taken on and have to close down prematurely. Growth needs to happen in a systematic and logical way that builds piece by piece. This is the only way you can maintain what you’re building.
One of the ways businesses scale too fast is by trying to get their own distribution resources when they don’t have the backing (or really the need yet). Utilizing an already-in-place partner for warehousing and transportation can save you from this mistake.
A business can have access to all of these tools without the major investment of getting into them themselves. They can utilize their partnership but only for the amount they need, which can grow slowly and organically.
Larger Warehouse Opportunities
There are very few times in business when you have a product that needs to go straight from assembly to where it will be sold. More often, it will need to be stored in a warehouse for a time period. Actually, this storage time is very helpful in making sure you always have the products you need to fulfill customer orders.
But finding a warehouse can be very difficult. There are often very limited spaces available, if any at all, that will work for what you need. And they can be very expensive or out of reach.
A huge benefit of working with a distribution partner is having more open access to large warehouse spaces.
These businesses have many spaces already in place, so you can have exactly what you need right away. There’s no need to make sure everything is set up correctly either. These teams can help create a system that works for your specific product lines that will keep your process moving forward.
Inventory Management Services
Having inventory is key to building a lasting small brand that has satisfied customers. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to purchase something and finding out it’s out of stock. Businesses can miss out on a lot of revenue when this is a regular occurrence.
It’s important to keep a balance on the inventory; having just the right amount to fill orders but not too much to lose money in production. This means a business needs to have a very clear snapshot of its inventory at all times. But keeping track of everything within your storage center can be very difficult.
Many warehouse and distribution partners will also handle inventory management as well. They will help monitor the products as they move in and out of the warehouse.
These systems make it easy to figure out what needs to be ordered and when so you always have the right amount of product on hand.
Cost Effective Strategies
A concern for many businesses is that they’ll end up losing money when they choose to partner with a distribution company.
There are already so many expenses involved in running a successful company, it’s hard to add something else to the mix without a little extra worry. But this kind of investment can completely change the way a company operates and end up saving them so much money in the long run.
Not only do their effective transportation and warehouse strategies help save money, but it also eliminates the need for hiring and retaining more employees.
Any employee is a huge expense for companies. Even beyond their pay, you have to consider all of the time it takes to train as well. Letting other partners handle those warehouse and transportation employees eliminates so much from the company’s bills. Not to mention the time you’ll save not having to manage these extra employees on a daily basis.
A product distribution team works to find ways to lower your bottom line and make your products more profitable. Their expertise helps to make small changes to your systems to achieve that aim.
Eliminate Lead Time Issues
In order to develop a good reputation for your small business and keep your customers happy, it’s helpful to have as short of a lead time as possible. This means there is a small window between the time a customer places an order and when it shows up at their door. Keeping this kind of timeline on a consistent basis requires your processes to run very smoothly.
Working with a distribution partner is a great way to ensure that that’s the case for your company.
Once your products are made, they can be kept in the warehouse where they can promptly be shipped out using the transportation network when needed. There’s no need to coordinate with several different areas of your business, it’s all happening in the same place and with the same group.
There’s less room for error when you can consolidate aspects of your business like this and leave it to the professionals to manage.
Custom Packaging Options
Successful small businesses work very hard to create a solid brand foundation. Their branding is how their products are presented to the world and what makes them recognizable (and more appealing) to customers.
Some business owners worry that utilizing a large distribution partner will eliminate their opportunity for branding their products.
For the most part, this isn’t the case! Businesses still have control over the branding that’s part of their products and can customize those to look and function how they want. They can work with the fulfillment team to ensure that all of their products have the right packaging, including tracking and bar codes.
These extra steps are what make products stand out among the competition. It also helps the business make sure everything is handled correctly and shipments go out just how they are designed to be.
It may take a little extra effort and time to figure this step out but it’s well worth it to continue to be true to your brand.
Creates a Professional Network
Building a business from the ground up is a very difficult task. There are so many things you have to figure out, it can be extremely daunting. Having a network of professionals to call on can make all of it much easier.
Working with a professional distribution partner is a great way to start building that network. Through these relationships, you can tap into years and years of experience to learn from. Instead of going through so much trial and error, a business owner can see what has and hasn’t worked for other companies in the past and apply that to themselves.
A network of business professionals can also be a great resource for staying on top of advancements and improvements in the industry. Word will travel about new strategies or technologies that can be implemented into all kinds of operations.
These relationships, advice, and guidance can be invaluable to any size company no matter how old or young they are.
One professional relationship often leads to another as well. So a business owner could potentially be linked with several other professionals who can give a boost where needed.
There’s simply no way a business owner can handle every responsibility on their own, at least not for a long time or at a high level. It will eventually become too much to bear and things will start to fall through the cracks. The better route to take is to outsource the things that they can so they can focus on what only they can do.
Unless the business owner is a logistics, fulfillment, warehousing, or shipment expert, chances are that true professionals can handle these tasks better than they could.
This relief of responsibility not only makes it easier to focus on other tasks, it often means those responsibilities are handled more effectively altogether. Customers and other business partners will be able to see the difference in the company and how it’s run with these kinds of relationships.
Outsourcing is a great way to continue to love to run a business and avoid feeling overworked and burnt out.
Benefits of Outsourcing Product Distribution
Any business that is product based has the same goal; to get its product into as many customers’ hands as possible in the most effective way. Every decision should be based on getting your company towards that aim.
Outsourcing product distribution is a huge step that can help your company push forward. Instead of constantly dealing with logistic problems while also managing every other aspect of your business, you can simply leave it to the professionals. These experts have the experience to implement consistent, effective systems for your business.
Both you and your customers will be happy with the investment into working with a distribution partner. If you’re interested in seeing how our team can help your business, contact us today!
6 Benefits of Purchase Order Consolidation for Your Business
Supply chain management is an industry growing at an 11% rate today. The way that you take care of your warehouse and manage your shipping and orders will help you with your company’s efficiency and productivity.
Order consolidation is one of the best steps that you can take to make this a reality. What are some of the benefits of using this service to your advantage? We’re happy to explain.
These tips will help you handle purchase order consolidation on your terms.
1. Your Business Will Become More Efficient
With purchase order consolidation, you’re combining numerous orders into a single one. This means that it’ll have one purchase order number, along with all of the necessary details for each.
When you consolidate your orders, the first thing you’ll notice is that your business immediately becomes more efficient. It’s only natural that your business will become more organized and efficient when you whittle down a few hundred orders into a single one. You lighten the load of your workforce since people won’t have to expend as much effort and energy tracking smaller orders.
Understanding warehouses and 3PL technology will make sure that your orders get to their destinations without a problem. Creating a single purchase order also means that you’re getting a consolidated shipment, which streamlines the way you run your company and cuts down on a lot of the waste that you create.
2. You Lower Your Costs
By making your purchase orders more efficient, you’ll also be able to reduce your company’s operational and overhead costs. Operating a consolidation warehouse lightens your expenditures so that you get a better return on investment (ROI) and are able to get a better handle on your finance.
You’ll get to lower your holding costs, which makes your company more profitable and effective as a whole. It also reduces your monthly expenses, since you’ll get a better handle on how you send purchase orders to your regular clientele. A company that is being run better as a whole will also be more cost-effective. This lets you scale your business in a way that makes sense for you.
3. Shipping Becomes Quicker
Your shipping time is one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle. Taking your orders from acknowledgment to sorting, to minimizing packaging time, to shipping is an art and a science that will increase customer satisfaction when you get it right.
Today, you’re competing with companies like Amazon and third-party service apps that get products to customers’ doors ASAP. You’ll provide for your customers so that you can generate repeat business and referrals. This makes people more likely to support you long-term.
You will have access to better shipment tracking and will be in a position to fulfill each order in a timely fashion no matter what is happening in your industry or the supply chain as a whole.
4. It’s Easier to Manage Your Inventory
Purchase order consolidation is also helpful because you will get a better handle on your inventory. You’ll be better able to manage your inventory stocking and you’ll appreciate that your shipping becomes more sustainable. Businesses today are moving toward eco-friendliness in all regards, and are also being incentivized for doing so.
Making your shipping process greener lowers your carbon footprint and can even open you up for tax breaks and certifications. In addition to handling your inventory better, you’ll also be better able to manage your fleet and order transportation options.
This lowers the amount of fuel you consume, reduces costs, and ensures that your orders get from Point A to Point B in no time.
5. You’ll Increase Your Order Accuracy
The last thing you want is to have numerous returns to process. Making mistakes can be costly, because inaccurate orders lead to more returns, more time wasted, and less trust in your company. Purchase order consolidation increases your accuracy significantly so that you’re not running into as many issues.
The system brings in checks and balances so that you know that your orders are being handled as accurately as possible. It creates less work for your team and makes sure everyone gets to stay productive without having to double and triple check orders or go back and correct so many mistakes.
6. It Lets You Leverage Your Buying Power
When you consolidate your resources, save money, and make better decisions, your company will also have more buying power. You’ll be able to choose the ideal vendors to work with and will get more bang for your buck with each purchase.
Your company can become more liquid and you’ll be in a better position to leverage each opportunity that comes your way. This also helps you to strengthen your relationships within your industry and do business long-term with the companies that you trust most.
Understanding Purchase Order Consolidation
These tips will explain why purchase order consolidation is the way to go for your business. These six points allow you to do better business and keep your company profitable for years to come.
Regardless of what sort of industry you’re in, make sure that you also shop for the tools and systems that allows you to put these benefits to use. We’d be happy to assist you with your storage, shipping, and logistics optimization.
Shield Works Precision Manufacturing can help you with all of your warehouse and fulfillment needs. Take the time to contact us on our website or by calling (650)666-0050 for more information.
How to Choose the Best Storage Warehouse for Business
Nearly 50% of businesses fail within the first five years in the United States. The good news, though, is that there are strategies you can use to prevent this.
One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is choosing the right storage facility.
This is particularly sure when it comes to choosing the right storage warehouse. Let’s take a closer look at how you can find the best warehouse location for you.
Does It Have Enough Space?
First, consider the size of your business and its needs. You need to make sure that your warehouse has enough room for everything you’re storing, as well as any extra space you may need in the future.
This will play a large role in helping your business run smoothly.
Is It Conveniently Located?
Location is key when it comes to choosing a storage facility.
Look for a warehouse that’s close to your business operations and customers. This will make it easier for you to access your stored goods and deliver them quickly.
Is It Secure?
Security is of utmost importance when selecting a warehouse. Make sure the facility has good security measures in place, such as surveillance cameras, alarms, and guards on site.
Even a minor issue with your inventory can prove to be a significant financial setback.
Can You Make Use of the Available Amenities?
The best warehouses provide a range of helpful amenities such as loading docks, forklifts, pallet jacks, and other equipment.
The storage facility you choose should have all the features your business needs to operate efficiently. The ones best for you will depend on the type of business you run.
Is It Cost-Effective?
Take into account not only the rental cost of the warehouse but also operating costs such as utilities and maintenance fees. Make sure to compare prices between different warehouses before making your decision.
Otherwise, you may not get the best deal.
What Technology Does It Integrate?
Look for a warehouse that uses the latest technology to improve efficiency and accuracy.
RFID tags, automated sorting systems, climate-controlled units, and other features can all make your storage operations smoother and more convenient. Other aspects to consider include whether the warehouse is offering special discounts or bulk-rate deals.
What Are the Different Types of Warehouses?
Finding the best warehouse for you involves understanding the different ones available. This will help you make the best decision.
Let’s explore some of the most notable options.
A last-mile warehouse is a type of facility that provides distribution services for companies operating on an eCommerce platform. These warehouses are located close to the customer, allowing them to deliver goods faster and more efficiently.
Private warehouses are owned and operated by individual businesses or organizations.
They offer a high level of flexibility and time savings, as well as the advantage of having direct control over the stored inventory. Keep this in mind when moving forward.
A public warehouse is owned by a third-party provider and is used for short-term storage or fulfillment services. It’s often less expensive than private warehouses.
It also means you don’t have full control over your goods.
Fulfillment warehouses are geared toward businesses that require quick turnaround and delivery times. They provide an efficient way to reach customers without worrying about inventory management or warehousing costs.
They also offer convenient online tracking options and automated pick-and-pack services.
Third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses are managed by a third-party provider, which means businesses don’t have to worry about managing their own warehouse. They offer a range of services such as inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping.
However, these types of warehouses often come with higher costs than other options.
A refrigerated warehouse is a type of facility that provides storage services for goods that need to be kept in a cool or cold environment. These facilities are ideal for businesses dealing with food products, pharmaceuticals, and other sensitive items.
They’re also very secure, making them suitable for long-term storage.
What Red Flags Should I Keep an Eye Out For?
Poor customer service, a lack of security measures, and outdated facilities should be taken into consideration when making your decision. You should also receive a tour of the warehouse before signing any contracts.
Of course, it’s also essential to consider the structural integrity of the warehouse itself.
This includes things like overall condition, insulation, and fire safety.
Am I Limited to the United States?
No, you’re not. Warehousing in China is becoming increasingly popular for businesses looking for a cost-effective solution.
Many warehouses offer international shipping services that can help you save time and money. These facilities also offer more flexible storage options, such as refrigerator and freezer units, for businesses requiring temperature-sensitive products.
How Do I Find the Right Provider For Me?
Not every company will be able to meet your requirements.
To get the best results, always look for a warehouse with experience in your industry or sector.
It’s important to find a provider that offers competitive rates and flexible terms. You should also check reviews from other customers before signing any contracts. This will help ensure you’re working with a reliable and trustworthy provider.
Finally, make sure the warehouse offers the services and features you need, such as inventory tracking and automated order fulfillment. Doing your research will help you find the perfect partner to keep your business running smoothly.
It’s Essential to Choose The Right Storage Warehouse
Otherwise, you simply won’t be able to get the results you need. Keep the guidelines mentioned above in mind so you can find the best storage warehouse for your business.
Looking for more information about what we can do? Reach out to us today to see how we can help.
12 Reasons To Use a Manufacturing Distribution Service in China
China’s manufacturing output is set to pass the $5 trillion mark in 2022.
Manufacturing in China has steadily been on the rise throughout the last decade. This sector even saw a rise in overall production in 2020, showcasing the Chinese manufacturing sector as one of the most robust and powerful segments in the world economy.
China has built on its early success and now finds itself with the infrastructure to manufacture and distribute goods around the world. This opens up opportunities for small businesses worldwide to use Chinese manufacturing and distribution services to lower their overall production costs.
Want to learn more about why businesses worldwide flock to China for their manufacturing needs? You’ve found the perfect blog. Here are twelve reasons why you should consider using distribution services in China.
1. Fewer Regulations
Regulations can often be expensive and time-consuming to pass within the manufacturing industry. This is why manufacturing your goods in China can help save you the headache of trying to work around the stacks of labor and manufacturing regulations. China is incredibly lenient in this regard, helping you get your product made in a much shorter space of time.
There are still safety regulations in place to ensure facilities are safe for production. However, corporate and governmental red tape is significantly cut down. This can help save you both time and money at the same time.
These regulations allow you to enter the Chinese manufacturing market as quickly as possible. With less red tape to worry about, you can focus on the quality of your products and nothing else.
2. Lower Production Cost
The number one reason for shifting manufacturing to China in the past was the low minimum wage. This was a quick way for businesses around the world to lower their labor cost and decrease their overall production costs.
China is home to over 1,4 billion people, meaning that there are tons of people to employ in the manufacturing sector as demand rises. The growing supply of workers also ensures that wages remain quite low, allowing businesses to keep production costs down over long periods.
While minimum wage in China has steadily been on the rise in the last few years, the cost to employ Chinese workers is still significantly cheaper than in many parts of the world. When paired with the infrastructure and experience that China has to offer, it does not make sense to manufacture your products anywhere else in the world.
3. Increased Productivity
Lower labor and production costs can help boost productivity. This is because businesses can use the same amount of money to hire more people in China than in other countries. While this can help boost productivity, manufacturing in China comes with a host of additional productivity benefits as well.
China has fewer regulations and red tape, helping you save even more time and money during the production process. In addition to this, the Chinese manufacturing industry can quickly adapt to changing circumstances. This means that if you want to scale up production for a specific amount of time, China is the easiest place to make that happen.
Chinese manufacturing facilities are also set up to provide manufacturing and distribution services for both small and large businesses.
4. Logistics Services
The production process is not as simple as just making products. The production process begins by cementing a reliable supply chain that can deliver parts and components to the main facility. This process relies heavily on local logistics services to help keep things running smoothly.
China has incredibly efficient and reliable logistics companies that can help you deliver and store products on your behalf. These services are often included in most supplier agreements. This means that the supplier you choose will include transportation costs to make sure that everything arrives just on time.
Just-in-time logistics is a process in which raw materials and components arrive at the production facility exactly when they are needed. This allows you to receive and use components without having to worry about where to store them in the meantime. Chinese suppliers are experienced in this technique and can help minimize your logistics costs in the process.
5. Efficient Ports
China is home to some of the largest and most efficient ports in the world. As the manufacturing hub of the world, Chinese ports are used for transporting trillions of dollars of products throughout the world. This has led to them developing efficient and cost-effective ports.
The ports in China have been regularly serviced and upgraded over the last few decades. These upgrades have helped the ports keep up with demand but have also helped reduce the overall costs to import or export goods.
The biggest port in China is the Port of Shanghai. However, the Port of Shenzhen is responsible for most of the electronic exports. This is because the manufacturing city of Shenzhen is home to some of the biggest manufacturing companies in the world.
There are also several other efficient ports around the country. The availability of ports helps make shipping reliable as you won’t need to worry about backlogs.
6. Global Shipping Solutions
While China may not be as central as the United Arab Emirates, the country is still well positioned for global shipping. The country is incredibly close to the United States, its largest trading partner. This makes production for American businesses incredibly effective as they can get their finished products shipped to them overnight.
China is also home to some of the best distribution companies in the world. These companies can help develop a distribution plan to get your products worldwide. This can help ship products from China throughout Europe and Africa within a few days.
This places China in the center of the manufacturing world. China is also building new highways to enable new shipping routes from China directly to major cities in Europe. These new routes are designed to further reduce the cost of shipping while making the entire process as efficient as possible at the same time.
7. Global Expansion Opportunities
While local economies around the world are on the rise, the global economy is where all businesses want to be. The ability to distribute your product in multiple markets can help you boost the growth of your business in a much shorter space of time.
Manufacturing your products in China gives you access to the global market. This is due to the global shipping solutions and efficient transportation services that are based in China. The Chinese manufacturing industry has already built the logistics infrastructure to distribute products around the world.
China has some of the best airports, ports, and highways in the world. This means that you can easily ship your products from China throughout Europe and the world overnight.
Companies like Apple make use of this infrastructure to distribute their products directly from China to countries around the world. Since the infrastructure has already been built, leveraging it for your business is more accessible than ever before.
In this way, you can get access to the global market at a much more affordable price than if you were to produce your products elsewhere.
8. Reliable Supply Chain
When it comes to production, the supply chain is the most important aspect to consider. This is because any disruption to the supply chain can cause production delays. If you’re manufacturing in a single location to distribute around the world, a simple shortage can cause worldwide sales to stand still until that part is replaced.
A great way to build a strong and reliable supply chain is to keep things local. Having local suppliers reduces the overall risk of disruptions as logistics and transportation is kept at a minimum. Manufacturing in China makes this even easier as there are tons of component manufacturers, logistics companies, and suppliers throughout the country.
The widespread availability of suppliers makes it easy for you to locate and procure the various components and parts that you need. The availability of local suppliers also means that replacing a supplier can be done in a shorter space of time. This reduces wasted time to keep production on schedule.
One of the most important factors to consider when looking for a manufacturing partner is their scalability. This is because you want to find a partner that can keep up with your demand as it rises. If a supplier can’t handle future demand, you will have to spend time and money replacing them down the line.
This is where China can leverage its experience and infrastructure in the world. China is home to thousands of factories that can effortlessly scale up production as your demand rises. Working with a manufacturing and distribution service can make this even simpler as they can help manage the entire process for you.
10. Chinese Business Culture
China has dominated the manufacturing space for a long time. This dominance has evolved into a business culture that is leagues above the rest of the world. Manufacturing experts and professionals in China are experts in their field and can help you streamline your entire process.
China is home to a wide range of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and logistics companies. These companies can work together to develop the best solution for your business. Regardless of how big your company is, the Chinese manufacturing industry can develop a solution for your exact needs.
11. Taxes and Duties
China has always been fair and friendly when it comes to taxes and duties. These taxes and fees were kept at an absolute minimum to encourage people to invest in China. The Chinese government introduced a tax rebate policy in 1985 that cut a variety of taxes to make the market more friendly for international investments.
China also removed the value-added tax on exported goods by including a VAT exemption policy. In addition to this, all consumer products from China were listed as exempt from import taxes. This made it even cheaper for businesses to move their manufacturing to China and save money in the process.
These low tax rates made it incredibly easy and affordable for businesses around the world to manufacture their products in China.
12. Local Currency
International exchange rates are incredibly influential in the global market. The exchange rate can help drive investment into a particular country, making it a useful tool to drive economic growth in the area. China has managed to keep its local currency fairly low, making it perfect for businesses around the world to invest in the country.
The lower currency makes every dollar invested more valuable. This effectively makes the cost of labor and production even lower for international businesses. The Chinese government keeps a close eye on the exchange rate for their currency, with all exchanges being under their control.
This allows the government to keep the currency as stable as possible. This stable currency helps create a stable environment for people to invest in the country without fear of their investments becoming worthless.
Chinese Distribution Services
China is the world’s factory for a reason. From a thriving business culture to a robust and affordable supply chain, the Chinese manufacturing industry shows no signs of slowing down. This means that outsourcing your production and distribution services to China can help streamline your business and increase your productivity at the same time.
If you’re thinking of moving your manufacturing and distribution to China, it’s essential that you work with a trustworthy partner to help guide you every step of the way. Contact us today for more information on how you can effectively move your manufacturing to China.
What Are the Benefits of an International Warehouse in China?
Did you know that China’s industrial output rose by over 9% last year? With low labor costs and great infrastructure, it remains the manufacturing hub of the world. So how can you benefit by conducting business in China?
If you are finding warehousing increasingly costly and hard to manage, then this country could have the answers. Read on as we discuss the benefits of an international warehouse in China.
Global E-commerce Is Competitive
If you want to access a global e-commerce audience, you have to be prepared to work for it. Whatever your product is, you will have numerous competitors, many of whom sell the same items. That means you need to take every advantage you can to get a competitive edge.
Having a new warehouse service in China lets you speed up your fulfillment process. You can reach audiences in the far east and Australia much quicker than you would do by posting from the US. You also get the chance to cut down on costs, which you can pass on to the consumer or absorb as profit.
There are numerous different challenges when it comes to warehousing. To deliver the most efficient service, you need to manage inventory, fulfillment, and transportation. Doing them properly requires organization, time, and the hiring of a large team.
By outsourcing to an international warehouse in China, you relinquish these jobs to a third party. You won’t have to manage a workforce or juggle your own team with those handling logistics. Instead, it will all be done for you.
All of this improves the efficiency of you and your team. You can redeploy workers to perform other tasks, and you can concentrate on what really matters: Getting leads and improving conversions.
Cost and Profits
While you save a lot of time, the financial advantages should not be underestimated either. In the US and Europe, warehousing can cost a lot of money. Once you start paying for the space, you also need to hire the staff to operate it for you.
With this model, you don’t have these incurred costs. Instead, you have to pay the third party for their service, which will work out much cheaper.
In China, the cost of labor is lower, meaning these operations can be performed at a reduced price. Added to this is the fact that a lot of the shipping costs are lower, making it competitive to send items across the world.
Access to Major Shipping Solutions
If you find shipping challenges to be a constant and recurring headache, then the right warehouse in China can help. By finding the correct one, you can have your products next door to one of the world’s major ports.
These will often have both land and air routes close by as well, so a whole range of shipping options is accessible quickly. With 24-hour customs clearance as standard at most major ports, your items can be on the way to buyers in an instant. All of this provides a huge advantage when it comes to international trade.
Easy to Scale Up
A time may come when you need to scale up. However, retail is a fickle business and what may be needed one year or season could drop the next. If you invest in space and staff, once in place, you are left with the ongoing costs.
It also takes time to put these things in place. If you want to do it fast and with minimum costs, a warehouse in China is a viable solution. The warehouse management will inform you of any leftover products lying in your inventory, so you are not paying for space housed with products that are not converting.
If you ever need to scale back the business, this works in the same way. You can reduce the space and stock you need without cost.
The last few years have seen what has come to be known as the great resignation. For businesses, this has made it hard to attract and retain employees in a wide range of industries. This process can be long, involving advertising, interviewing, and then the time of settling a new employee into the job.
China has human resources in abundance. There is a large population who are always looking for work, especially in the warehousing sector. Manpower is easy to hire and lets you scale up much more efficiently, without the long processes.
For specialist jobs, these people will already be on hand. You won’t have to train people or even put them through courses and certifications. Instead, the company will have what is needed at its disposal.
Networking and Experience
Once you have a warehousing company, you may need other contacts. It could be a manufacturer, or you may want access to other foreign trade zones. When you don’t speak the language and understand the culture, this can be extremely hard, and making the step is a huge financial risk.
The operators of warehouses will have numerous contacts. You will be able to ask their advice on who to use and, crucially, trust. As well as this, you can tap into their expertise and knowledge on everything from handling to shipping.
Finding an International Warehouse
Now you know the benefits of an international warehouse in China, you just need to find one. There are several companies online and middlemen who will help you navigate the cultural and language gaps.
If you need precision engineering, manufacturing, or warehousing in China, then Shield Works should be your first stop. We can provide a range of solutions, lowering your costs and improving efficiency. Contact us to discuss your needs and let our expert staff begin increasing your company’s efficiency.
Buying From Chinese Websites? 6 Benefits of Package Consolidation
It’s estimated that every split suborder adds a shipping cost of 1.9 dollars. Even though that number might seem small, the figures amount to a lot of wasted money.
Plus, the excess packaging leads to environmental waste, which is terrible for the environment. So, what’s the solution?
Package consolidation is a great way to reduce shipping costs while still receiving and sending high-quality products. If you’re not already using order consolidation methods, you will be after reading this article.
This article will briefly summarize package consolidation and how it can benefit you. That way, you can start implementing changes by consolidating packages.
What Is Package Consolidation?
As online shopping continues to rise, there are more and more packages being transported worldwide every day. From a business point of view, this is the dream scenario.
However, it can cause logistical problems in reality, resulting in higher costs and limited resources for other parts of your business. The idea behind package consolidation is that you group multiple items in one place.
This is an excellent solution if you work in clothes retail and have several t-shirts going to one household. You can safely transport goods without having to pack various boxes and packages.
Package consolidation is a low-cost alternative to sending packages internationally and could save you thousands of dollars in the long term because you can optimize the space in each container.
6 Benefits to Package Consolidation
Above all else, having an order arrive in one box with all the items is a guaranteed way to make your customers happy. When someone orders online, they want to receive everything at once.
1. Happy Customers
Customers keep a business thriving for years; without them, you wouldn’t be able to sell your beautiful products. So, it’s a top priority to make your customers satisfied.
When there’s so much competition online, you want to do everything you can to stand out and get noticed. The easiest way to build a better reputation is to send orders that arrive quickly and efficiently.
That means grouping items together into one package. The order is also less likely to experience damage in transport when it’s sent with other products, which will lead to fewer customer complaints.
2. Opportunity for Bundle Packages
Being in charge of manufacturing means you have control over the product assembly, so you can choose to group certain items in your store.
For instance, if you sell sports shorts, you can offer a deal for a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and socks. You can get customers’ attention and encourage them to buy products together.
This marketing strategy makes it easier for you to transition to package consolidation and cut shipping costs while providing a great customer experience.
Package consolidation works for everyone!
3. Offer a Free Gift for the Extra Weight
In the shipping world, you’ve probably come across dimensional weight (DIM), which refers to the weight of a package and its dimensions.
Sometimes, you can be charged extra if the DIM exceeds the package’s weight. If you’re looking for a way to minimize these frustrating costs, you can use the free space with package consolidation.
For example, you can include a free cycling hat, notebook, or another item suitable for the order. Not only will your customer receive a freebie, but you’ll also reduce shipping costs and use the extra weight!
4. Package Consolidation Costs Less
On average, package consolidation costs less than sending items separately. Sometimes, you have to cover charges for deliveries to remote locations, delays, and other issues that arise during the shipping process.
Thankfully, when you merge orders into one package, you’re already reducing the overall cost of the order. Even though you might still encounter extra charges, it will be much less than if you shipped separately.
So, it won’t solve the problem entirely, but it will make your budget more flexible and allow you to maintain a high standard for your products without sacrificing the shipping time.
5. Better Safety for Workers
The employees in charge of your shipped orders have to handle hundreds of packages daily, which comes with many risks. There are often safety problems as the volume of packages is so high.
During the pandemic, logistic departments suffered from the absence of employees, which is why it’s essential to find practical solutions that take the pressure off these workers.
Package consolidation creates fewer packages for employees and reduces the health risk of transporting items from country to country.
6. A More Eco-friendly Approach
If fewer packages are making their way around the world, there is less waste being produced which pollutes the environment.
So, if you’re concerned about your impact on your planet, package consolidation is a great way to get involved with the movement to more eco-friendly practices.
You can also switch to eco-friendly packaging materials like recycled paper and cardboard that can be reused in other areas of life. It’s a great way to show you care about the environment and are actively managing resources.
But, first, you need to work with a manufacturing company that knows what they are doing. Otherwise, you could end up with broken items, damaged packages, and worthless investments.
Luckily, at Shield Works Precision Manufacturing, we have years of experience handling package consolidation in China. Our services include quality inspection and testing as well as order consolidation.
We can assist you with anything you need.
Choose the Right Option With Package Consolidation
As you can see, package consolidation is the best way to reduce shipping costs and make your customers happy with your products. There are also numerous other benefits like helping the planet and reducing safety risks.
You must work with a suitable manufacturer to ensure your high-quality products and the shipping from Chinese product sites runs smoothly.
Our team is ready to answer any questions you have about changing to package consolidation. So, you can start shipping goods and getting them to their new home as quickly as possible.
Get in contact to learn more about our services and what we can do for you at Shield Works Precision Manufacturing.
Everything You Need to Know About 3PL Warehousing in China
So, you’ve decided that your supply chain needs a little help. Maybe you’ve got too much work for your in-house team to handle, or maybe you’re just looking for someone with more skill than you have.
There are a lot of reasons you might find yourself in this situation, but the solution is always pretty clear: hire an expert. 3PLs (third-party logistics providers) specialize in warehousing and distribution. They have the infrastructure and knowledge to get your products where they need to go – on time and on budget.
For a look at 3PL warehousing and how hiring one can help improve your supply chain, read on.
What Is 3PL Warehousing?
A 3PL can provide warehousing services for your wholesale products, manage all aspects of your inventory system, and even help you develop the processes necessary to ship orders from your store on time.
This means that when someone places an order through your eCommerce website, the 3PL will receive the order and store it in one of their warehouses until it’s ready to be shipped out.
3PL Services vs. Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is a product-based business model that allows merchants to sell their goods without having to store or ship the products themselves. When you drop ship, you place an order with a supplier, who then ships to your customer on your behalf.
3PL services offer more flexibility than drop shipping because they allow you to outsource all aspects of logistics, including warehousing and shipping. Unlike drop-shippers who have limited control over the process, 3PLs provide the additional benefit of greater oversight over storage conditions and quality control during storage and transit.
Why Choose 3PL Warehousing?
3PL warehousing offers several benefits to businesses that want to outsource their storage and fulfillment needs. These include:
Save Time and Money
One of the most important benefits of 3PL warehousing is that it can save you money by reducing your overhead. You’ll no longer have to worry about rent, maintenance costs, and equipment purchases for your warehouse. A 3PL provider can also help you reduce your staffing costs and avoid payroll taxes.
Improve Your Customer Service
With a 3PL partner, you’ll be able to offer more shipping options, shorter lead times, and faster delivery at lower prices than you could if handling shipping on your own. You’ll also be able to offer better customer service by responding more quickly and effectively to customer queries, as well as tracking orders. Your customers will appreciate having access to accurate information about the status of their orders.
Get the Right Products to the Right Customers
With a 3PL partner, you’ll be able to take advantage of their years of experience and relationships with freight forwarders, customs brokers, airlines, trucking companies, and others in the supply chain.
You can also get a leg up on your competitors by taking advantage of their global footprint and selling products in markets that are otherwise inaccessible. Your 3PL might even help you find new products for specific regions and give you the ability to test your ideas before making an enormous investment.
Expertise in Logistics Management
Third parties generally have more experience handling inventory than many small businesses do; therefore offering valuable industry-specific knowledge. They’ll know how to move your product in the most efficient and effective manner possible, whether by rail, air, or sea.
How Does It Benefit Your Business To Use A 3PL Warehousing Company?
You might think to yourself, do I really need to outsource my warehousing and logistics operations? The answer is maybe. It depends on many factors unique to your business, including size, product mix, growth plans, and more.
However, there are some general benefits that usually make working with a third-party logistics provider in China the right choice for most businesses.
By outsourcing some of your operations to third-party logistics companies, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of risk involved in doing business overseas without sacrificing any of the benefits associated with having a Chinese presence(accessibility, increased market share, etc.). This is because these providers have the experience, infrastructure, and local knowledge needed to help you navigate China’s unique business environment.
When a single company handles all logistical processes for error. This allows your business to run more smoothly, freeing up time and resources that can be better spent elsewhere. And with most third-party logistics companies, you’ll also have access to state-of-the-art equipment, which will allow them to handle all of the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.
When outsourcing logistics services, companies can focus on what they do best while leaving order fulfillment to another team. This means that your company will be able to get more done with fewer people – which increases overall productivity for everyone involved.
How 3PLs Handle Order Fulfillment
Once the order is received and processed by your 3PL, they will then assign it to a warehouse closest to your customer. From here, a picking team will gather the items from their respective racks and put them into totes or carts for the next step: packing.
Afterward, another team will ensure that everything was picked correctly before boxing it up for shipping. At this stage of fulfillment, your provider will add any extra packaging materials, like bubble wrap or peanuts, to guarantee safe transport. After being packed up, all orders are ready for delivery!
In some cases, orders may need to be returned before they can be shipped out again. This is usually because of damage caused during transit. Your provider will inspect the package first before sending it back.
When Do You Need a 3PL Warehouse in China?
If your company ships at least 100 orders overseas each month, it’s probably time to consider working with a third-party logistics provider in China. But 100 is not the hard and fast rule, as many factors can affect this number.
There is no magic number at which time a company should start working with a 3PL. When you find your business growing so much that the volume of orders being placed has become too high for your small team to manage in-house, then it’s time to hire a 3PL.
There are some other signs that can help you determine whether you need a 3PL. If any of the following apply to your business, it’s time to look for a 3PL warehouse in China:
You’ve Run Out of Storage Space
Perhaps you started your business in a small office space with enough room to store inventory on-site. But as orders start rolling in, that space quickly becomes crammed. If you can’t store products, how can you possibly fulfill orders?
Working with a 3PL will give you access to more storage space so you can keep meeting customer demand.
You’re Spending Too Much Time Shipping Orders
If it’s taking up too much of your time and energy managing shipments, then it might be time for some help. A quality 3PL will have the resources and technology needed to get products out the door in a few hours.
Your Employees are Stretched Thin
As your business grows, chances are good that your team is being pulled in different directions, trying to handle everything at once. This can lead to mistakes, frustration, and even burnout. Adding a 3PL to your team can take some of the pressure off by lightening the workload.
10 Tips to Find the Best 3PL Services Company for Your Ecommerce Business
Just like with any other decision, you want to make sure that the 3PL provider you choose will help optimize your business and not hinder it. However, this is easier said than done.
With so many 3PL service providers out there, how can you ensure that the one you choose will be right for your business? Here are some tips:
1. Start with Reliability and Speed
As an e-commerce company, it’s important to make sure that your products go to consumers fast and get delivered without any kind of damage. Ask your potential provider about their average shipping times and any procedures they have in place to prevent or address damages during transit.
A provider with same-day shipping can be especially useful if you offer expedited shipping services.
2. Consider Their Ability to Handle Returns
Ecommerce businesses typically have a higher return rate than brick-and-mortar stores, so it’s important that your 3PL provider can handle returns efficiently. Find out what kind of system they have in place for managing returns and ask about how they communicate with customers regarding status updates on refunds or replacements.
3. Pricing Matters, But Don’t Sacrifice Quality
Of course, you want to save money wherever possible, but with your 3PL services provider, quality should be more important than price. Make sure you compare apples to apples when getting quotes.
4. Experience Working In Your Industry
Ensure they have the right equipment and technology to handle your products. But more importantly, they should have experience working in your industry so they understand the unique challenges that come with it.
For example, if you’re in the fashion industry, you’ll need a 3PL that can handle delicate and high-end items. If you’re in the food industry, they should have processes in place to prevent cross-contamination.
5. Client Support
Ideally, your 3PL is easy to reach when you need them and quick to respond. Good communication is key in any relationship, so make sure the lines of communication are open between you and your fulfillment partner. Of course, China’s time zone difference can present some challenges, but a good 3PL will have someone available during your business hours.
6. Flexible Pricing Options
While price is always a concern, you don’t want to be locked into a per-unit charge that doesn’t reflect your monthly storage and processing needs. Look for a 3PL that offers options like minimum commitment pricing or value-based pricing, rather than charging you by the unit.
Some providers charge per square meter of warehouse space used; others offer discounts based on the number of units shipped per month. Whatever the case, make sure you understand your 3PL’s pricing structure before signing a contract.
7. Technology Integration Capabilities
Perhaps the most important criterion on this list is integration capability. Do their systems seamlessly connect with yours? Can they automatically track and update inventory levels in real-time so that you always know exactly what’s in stock and where it is?
If not, keep looking. The best providers offer comprehensive tracking capabilities and a simple customer portal.
8. Order Consolidation
When your customers are ordering products that come from several vendors, a 3PL that can merge those orders into a single shipment can be a huge time—and money—saver. When evaluating providers, inquire about their order consolidation capabilities.
Some of your customers may have specific requests; they need a custom-sized box or a gift-wrapped item, for example. If you can find a provider that can customize orders to meet the needs of your unique clients, you’ll be able to streamline and improve customer experiences.
Also, it helps if your provider can offer custom branding on the shipping boxes. This is a small but powerful way to reinforce your brand and keep it fresh in your customers’ minds.
Last but not least, don’t forget to ask for customer references. Talk to others who have used the 3PL you’re considering and get their honest opinion.
Expand Your Business Reach
3PL warehousing can help you expand your business reach by allowing you to enter new markets and create new distribution channels. Not only will you be able to offer faster delivery at lower shipping costs, but you can also take advantage of their experience in international shipping.
Whether you are looking for short- or long-term storage warehousing solutions, Shield Works has the experience and expertise to provide you with cost-effective storage and shipping solutions. Reach out to us for warehousing processes that help you succeed.
Why Do You Need A 3PL Company To Grow Your Online Business?
What is a 3PL Company?
3PL stands for Third Party Logistics. A 3PL provider, such as C2W, offer outsourced logistics services. Essentially this means that we will help provide management over one (or more) procurement and fulfilment activities.
Fulfilment activities refer to the process of distribution and shipping.
Procurement activities simply involve acquiring or selecting goods, services and work required for your specific job. Such roles can include: the process of selecting vendors, strategic vetting or actually purchasing the goods.
Therefore, 3PL providers deal with the physical movement of your goods from point A to B, as well as providing other services involved in the journey (such as warehousing, terminal handling, packaging etc.).
What are the benefits of using a 3PL Company?
The number one benefit of using a 3PL Company is monetary savings! By using a 3PL Company, this removes the financial pressure on your company for having to fund warehouse storage and staff who monitor supply chain processes. By asking us to do this for you, it means you only pay for the service package itself and can pick and choose when you use these services. Ultimately, by using 3PL providers you aren’t paying for warehouse and maintenance all year round. I mean what online business DOESN’T love saving?
In this era, good online service is largely linked to access to quick and efficient shipment and delivery. Online shopping is becoming increasingly popularity as the high street slowly dies meaning that your online company’s efficiency in shipment and delivery will undoubtedly be a commonly used metric for measuring customer satisfaction.
Using a 3PL provider means your e-commerce business can gain significant customer loyalty and satisfaction by letting the professionals deal with fulfilment services. This process will be made even easier with our western owned and managed company because we believe in western standards of communication and service.
Another important benefit to consider when deciding on your 3PL Company is performance.
Due to our expertise and experience in 3PL services here at C2W, efforts in e-commerce procurement and fulfilment activities will be more time and cost-effective than less mature manufacturing companies. We have a verified history of successfully meeting demand and are able to scale operations consistently and smoothly.
Here at C2W, we remove the stress of such demands so that you can focus on the things that matter, improving and growing your online business.
Supply Chain Management
By hiring C2W as your 3PL Company, we can also analyse the supply chain and define any cracks, enabling us to provide efficient solutions and improvement to e-commerce efficiency of your business.
Hiring a 3PL company cuts out the middle man, meaning you can do business more directly and have one point of contact when dealing with your goods or services. We handle a broad spectrum of services meaning that you don’t have to hire a freight forwarder in the process (who don’t actually deal with shipment or fulfilment themselves). And as all businessmen know, direct business is straight talking business!
When acting as your 3PL provider, C2W takes direct responsibility for your goods or services. You can be assured to receive reliable services and be sure that C2W will take accountability for business. Unlike a freight forwarder, who acts as an intermediary player in the chain, we are held directly accountable for your shipment processes. With C2W 3PL, you can put your mind at ease.
Some of the 3PL services we offer:
The following list is just a minor sample of the wide range of 3PL Services we offer here at C2W. For a more detailed, please visit our 3PL services offered in China and the US under our ‘Services’ page.
- Receive and inventory all incoming products
- Manage full inventory in the US using our professional WMS (Warehouse Management System; SkuVault)
- Drop-shipments for all orders (pick and pack)
- Fulfilment of FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant) Amazon Orders
- Restock Amazon warehouses for products shipped FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
- Quality control
Contact us for an accurate quote based on your project. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have!