5 Ways to Make Your Products More Sustainable

How to Increase Product Sustainability

Making sure your products are highly marketable to your customers is one of the important ways you look to continue business growth.

If people are turned off by your packaging – whether that be because it’s oddly designed or too complicated – they’re less likely to pick it up off the shelves and make a purchase.

As many consumers have become more environmentally conscious, worrying about the impact the products they buy are going to have on the planet, the demand for more sustainable products and packaging has increased.

Here are 5 ways you can make your products and packaging more sustainable without having to completely redesign your entire line:

Source Locally

Buying local isn’t just for produce and other food products. Choosing to source your raw materials, packaging, and other product needs as close to your location as possible has many benefits.

Not only will the decrease in shipping costs help your bottom line, transporting goods a shorter distance reduces fuel emissions. The fewer fuel emissions heading into the air, the better overall air quality and the less of an impact your business has on the environment.

Use Recycled Materials

From paper to cardboard to plastic, there are a lot of individual product ingredients and packaging items that can be found in recyclable versions.

Yes, you may spend a little more up front for recycled plastic packaging, but you’re decreasing the amount of plastic that’s sitting in landfills without decomposing.

Whenever possible, look for recycled, reclaimed, or post-industrial versions of the materials you need for your product creation and packaging. The more post-consumer items you use in your business, the lower your carbon footprint.

Choose Fillers

Shipping your products so they arrive in good condition can be challenging. You have to make sure the items fit into the boxes with enough room for some padding, but not so much that you’re wasting a whole lot of space.

And then you’ve got to decide what to use to fill in the extra space so items don’t slide around.

Rather than styrofoam packing peanuts or plastic bags full of air, look for recyclable and sustainable filler options. Whether you choose recycled paper shreds or packing peanuts made from non-toxic substances such as corn starch, there are a wealth of options that can reduce waste from your business.

An added bonus to using recyclable and sustainable packaging material is the eco-friendly options often look more aesthetically pleasing than their less sustainable counterparts, making your products easier to sell.

Minimize Packaging

Does every product you sell need shrink wrap, a bag, or a box? Chances are the answer is “No.”

The fastest and least expensive way to make your packaging more sustainable is to sit and evaluate what packaging you can kick to the curb.

Even removing one piece of packaging from one product line can save you thousands per year!

Redesign Products

If you’re really committed to finding new ways to make your business more sustainable and environmentally friendly, consider redesigning some products to see how much you can save in materials costs.

That packaged gift basket you sell could be redesigned with a smaller basket, or a recycled cardboard box instead of a plastic basket, saving resources and money. Even removing extra stickers or decorative parts or changing out the materials to recycled products can realize big savings.

While redesigning products is the most time-consuming and expensive option, it’s one that’s sure to make a big impact on your finances and the environment.

Experienced Logistics & Warehousing on the East Coast

Getting your products from your manufacturing facility or warehouse into the hands of your customers can be frustrating. You have to navigate different shipping speeds and methods, find the best way to store everything, and promptly process orders.

At Cannon Hill Logistics, we’ve been helping small- and medium-sized businesses take their warehousing and logistics to the next level for more than 30 years. From customer service management to prompt picking and packing, our team has everything your business needs to succeed at the next level. Get a quote today!

4 Ways to Cut Costs in Your Warehouse

Cutting Cost in Your Warehouse

Among the largest costs for small businesses that sell and ship physical products to their customers is warehousing. It’s expensive to safely store all those individual items, and pulling them from the shelves when they’re ordered isn’t always as simple as it seems.

If you are like many business owners, you’re always looking for ways to decrease your operating costs and increase overall efficiency to maximize every dollar you have. Looking to your warehouse can help you make some major financial savings without pinching too many pennies.

Here are 4 ways you can cut costs in your warehouse while boosting efficiency:

 

Optimize Storage Space

It’s no secret that a large part of the expense of warehousing your products is the amount of land it takes.

If you’ve got your items in a 50,000 square foot, you’re paying for every inch of that building and land as well as all the other associated warehousing costs.

By optimizing your storage space, you can either shrink your warehousing needs or make expanding your inventory a less frightening prospect thanks to the extra space you’ve created in your existing warehouse.

For instance, aisles are necessary for the safe movement of people and machinery, as well as the quick picking and stocking of items. Determine exactly how wide of a space each of your products needs to move, and whether they require special equipment, such as a forklift, to get from one place to another.

By grouping products together based on aisle width, you’ll be able to maximize the floor space necessary. Rather than having products with small width needs racked with those with wider aisle needs, meaning you need several large aisles, grouping all the small-width products together allows you to shrink the width of the row and create more space on your warehouse floor.

 

Protect Your Inventory

Another major cost for many businesses is inventory loss. Whether it’s from damage, theft, or just getting misplaced in the warehouse, maintaining careful control over your inventory is key to not losing money before you ever make it.

To protect your products while they’re warehoused and awaiting shipment to customers, there are a few things you can consider:

  • Package for protection: Drops, dings, and scratches can – and do – happen in warehouses, even with the most careful crew. If you’ve got fragile products, or plan to ship heavy items along with smaller items, add additional protection to your products before they ever make it to the warehouse. Bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and strong boxes are a must to prevent damage during storage.
  • Lock doors: Warehouses are high targets for theft, both from inside and outside because of the high dollar value of the products they store. To prevent easy access to the products stored in your warehouse, keep all entry points locked and guarded, and add extra access control measures such as key cards so you know who’s coming and going.
  • Add security: Deterring theft with security measures is one of the most powerful ways to prevent this type of loss in your warehouse. If you can swing the staffing costs, consider having a posted guard during business hours to keep an eye on things. Otherwise, install a security system with designated access points and security cameras so you can see what’s going on inside the warehouse at all times.

 

Decrease Energy Costs

Warehouses are also expensive to keep temperature-controlled and lit, especially during the darker months of the year. By implementing some energy-saving measures, you can dramatically reduce the cost of your warehouse while still maintaining quality of service.

If you store your items in an older warehouse with outdated lighting fixtures, consider replacing at least some of those fixtures with more energy-efficient, modern fixtures. While this is an up-front cost, the savings over time are large enough that the initial expense pays for itself.

Making sure your employees are doing everything they can to decrease energy usage is also important.

Turning off lights and heating or cooling systems while your building is unoccupied can save you hundreds in energy costs. Also, tell all staff members to turn off machinery that’s not in use and, if feasible, unplug equipment that doesn’t need to be plugged in all the time.

Another thing to consider to help trim your heating and cooling bills is to be flexible with your operational hours.

In the summer, conducting the bulk of your business in the earlier, cooler hours of the day will help reduce the need for air conditioning, as will moving your business hours toward the middle of the day during the summer.

>>See our complete guide to trimming energy costs in your warehouse!>>

 

Use Equipment Wisely

Your warehouse simply can’t operate without using some sort of equipment. But you can trim the costs of using this equipment without compromising your service.

When possible, look for ways that you can use one piece of equipment for more than one job. By cutting down to just one piece of equipment, you’re cutting your costs of ownership, maintenance, and use, saving you money automatically.

Also, maintain your equipment as much as possible.

By putting in a little money every so often to give your forklifts a tune-up or clean and paint your machinery, you’re saving money and time in the long run. Equipment that isn’t properly maintained wears down over time, causing work stoppages, expensive repairs, and possibly even full replacement.

 

Quality Warehousing Service on the East Coast

Trim your warehousing costs even farther by entrusting the job to Cannon Hill Logistics. Only pay for the space you actually need, and pay nothing for shared space such as loading docks and warehouse travel aisles. Equipment costs are on us. We’ve got more than 30 years in the logistics and warehousing business, and we know how to store your merchandise efficiently to stretch your warehousing  dollars.

Get individualized plans to suit your business needs at a price you can afford. Whether you need some overflow warehousing help or want someone to handle everything – soup to nuts – our experienced team can give you the service you deserve to help your business grow.

Contact us today for a customized quote!

3 Ways to Improve Your Product Distribution Channels

Product Distribution Warehouse

Getting your products into the hands of your customers as quickly and inexpensively as possible is the key to your business success.

No matter how great or unique your product, if it can’t reliably get to your customers with little trouble on their end, you won’t have repeat business. As a business owner, you’re constantly figuring out the best, most efficient ways to move items from manufacturing to consumer without spending a ton of money.

To more effectively get products to the people who have paid for them, you must evaluate your product distribution channels. This term refers to the way that products move from manufacturer to distributors and on to customers, and it’s the backbone of your business operation.

Here are 3 ways to make your product distribution channels more efficient and less expensive:

 

Consider Strategic Warehousing

Part of the key to getting products into your customers’ hands as quickly as you can lies in the proximity of your warehouses to your customers.

If your customers are across the country from your warehouses, it’s going to take longer for those products to be delivered. However, a warehouse located in the same region as your customer base improves response and shipping time, making for happier customers.

Take a careful look at where your customers live. If they’re all located in one general area of the country or world, explore warehousing options in that area if it’s feasible.

For larger, more widespread customer bases (as most businesses have), regional warehouses may be the answer. Think of Amazon, which has distribution centers spread all across the map, improving their efficiency in getting products to consumers.

This more regional approach to warehousing may end up saving you money, too, as it may cost less to store and distribute half the amount of products from two different locations as it does to store your full inventory in one warehouse.

 

Identify the Proper Channels

Just because you’ve been operating your business with one model of distribution for a while doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way to do things now.

Take some time to evaluate your distribution model.

If you distribute directly to customers, is it the most effective, efficient, and inexpensive way to work things, or would you be better off finding a retailer to handle this task for you? For businesses that use retailers, would you be better served shipping items directly from your warehouse to the consumers?

Even if your research determines that the way you’re currently operating is the most efficient way, at least you know that you’re doing what’s best for your business and you aren’t just trusting the current method because “It’s the way we’ve always done things.”

 

Constant Monitoring & Measuring

What does improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness look like for your business? Is it getting items to customers one day faster? Or is it saving 5% on shipping costs from what you’re now spending?

Whatever you determine to be increased success in your business, define it and put a number to the improvement. Don’t just say, “We want to get our products to customers faster” without defining how much faster they should get there.

Once you’ve got these metrics in place, track whatever you need to track – total time from order to delivery, cost per package of shipping, etc. – and compare the data.

If your processes aren’t improving, look at the data to find out why.

Are you using a shipping company that’s more expensive than one that may do the same job but not be as well-known? Could you spend a little more for shipping to guarantee that packages make it to the consumers more quickly?

Use the data you’ve collected and figure out where you can refine your product distribution channels. This may mean making some hard decisions, such as trading off a little more profit overall to pay for faster shipping, but improved customer satisfaction will lead to more business, and the extra expense likely will even out in the end.

 

Customizable Logistics on the East Coast

Why trust some fly-by-night logistics company to get your products to your customers on time and within budget? For more than 30 years, Cannon Hill Logistics has worked with businesses of all sizes to design individualized logistics and shipping solutions to meet their individual needs.

Whether you just need someone to store your overflow stock or you want help with the entirety of the customer ordering process, we’ve got the knowledge and staffing necessary to help your business succeed. Contact us today to see how Cannon Hill Logistics can partner with you to fuel continued business growth!

Last-Mile Delivery: What Is It, & How Does It Impact Your Business?

Last-Mile Delivery: What Is It, & How Does It Impact Your Business?

Have you ever ordered an item and, when checking up on tracking, noticed it’s been listed as “Out for Delivery” for what seems like forever?

Without even realizing it, you’ve been part of the struggles that many businesses face when it comes to “last-mile delivery.”

What Is Last-Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery is the term for getting a product from the final storage warehouse or retailer into the hands of the customer, or the “last mile.” While this step in the delivery process often is far longer than just a mile, it’s one of the most complicated and important steps in the product distribution and logistics process.

Why Is Last-Mile Delivery So Important?

With the rise of Amazon Prime, speedy shipping from the retailer or warehouse to the customer’s doorstep has gone from being a nice-to-have detail to a necessity. Unless you provide an essential, exceptionally rare, or otherwise unique product, if customers aren’t able to receive your products within a few days’ time, they may go elsewhere.

What Are Some Challenges Businesses Face with Last-Mile Delivery?

Because last-mile delivery often involves at least one third-party vendor, as well as a variety of potential snags, businesses face all sorts of challenges when it comes to improving their last-mile delivery. Some of these challenges include:

  • Cost: Unless you are moving large quantities of product through your warehouse, paying for quick last-mile delivery can get expensive, especially in more rural areas. This cost must either be absorbed by your business or passed on to the customer, and each of those options poses its own monetary risks. According to Business Insider, last-mile delivery costs make up 53% of the total cost of product delivery.
  • Logistics: If you house your products in multiple warehouses, or if your customers are ordering from very different areas of the world, being able to guarantee the same delivery time frame to everyone can seem impossible.
  • Reliability: Entrusting this crucial point in your delivery chain to a third-party vendor whose prices may be low but whose efficiency and effectiveness are untested is risky.
  • Competition: If a competitor selling similar products can ship to customers faster and cheaper, it could cause you to lose sales.

What’s ahead for Last-Mile Delivery?

Thanks to the rise in competition, as well as improvements in technology, last-mile delivery is becoming quicker, more reliable, and less expensive than ever before.

Big shipping companies such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and even USPS are continually looking for ways to make last-mile delivery more efficient and cheaper for customers. In addition, the rise of crowdsourced delivery options – models similar to Uber, Airbnb, and Postmates – means there’s more competition to spur on innovation among the big guys. Depending on where you’re shipping from and shipping to, you may be able to find a small, independent shipping startup that can get packages to your customers in less time and for less money.

Experienced Logistics Company on the East Coast

While we don’t directly handle your last-mile shipping, the skilled team at Cannon Hill Logistics works hard to make sure your products are ready to be shipped to your customers as soon as your shipping vendor of choice arrives. From full-scale warehousing and product distribution solutions down to customer service management and kitting services, Cannon Hill Logistics has what your business needs to succeed.

We’re not a one-size-fits-all logistics company. We design customized solutions for every client based on budget and needs. Contact us today to see how Cannon Hill Logistics can help your business dreams come true!

What Is Supply Chain Management?

Supply Chain Management

Every step of your product’s journey is carefully coordinated and managed.

You know where your raw materials come from and how they get to you. Once you have a finished product, everything heads over to your warehouse to await a customer order. And, once an order’s been placed, you know how that product gets from your warehouse into the hands of your customer.

Did you know that every step along that journey is part of supply chain management?

What Is Supply Chain Management?

Simply put, supply chain management (or SCM) is the flow of goods and services that go into turning raw materials into a product, and then getting that product to the consumer.

But SCM is more than just knowing how goods get from one place to another; it’s also about streamlining and optimizing every step of the chain so goods get where they need to be faster and cheaper.

What Steps Are Included in Supply Chain Management?

Nearly everything you need to coordinate and do in your business is part of supply chain management.

Some crucial steps and players in SCM include:

  • Raw materials sourcing
  • Raw materials shipping
  • Manufacturing
  • Product development
  • Shipping to warehouse
  • Warehousing
  • Procurement
  • Information technology
  • Marketing
  • Customer ordering
  • Order processing
  • Picking & packing
  • Shipping to the customer

Each segment of the supply chain is integral to a well-running holistic supply chain and, interruption on any level can throw the whole operation out of whack. In many cases, coordinating the different parts of a supply chain requires third-party vendors (logistics and warehousing vendors, raw materials suppliers, consumer shipping companies), making close coordination essential.

How Can a Better Understanding of Supply Chain Management Benefit My Business?

Knowing what is moving where, and how much any waste is costing your business, is important to sustained business growth.

Think of it this way: While your supply chain may work now, how much more profitable and efficient could your business be if you could cut down the amount of time a product takes in transition or the amount of money any one step in the process costs you?

By taking the time to fully understand how long each step in the supply chain is taking, and how much each step is costing you, you can get a much better understanding of where you can trim the fat.

If products get from your warehouse to your customers a little faster, that improves their positive experience, increasing your word-of-mouth recommendations. If you can find a vendor that will move your products from your manufacturing facility to your warehouse for a little less per load, you’re decreasing overhead.

Every improvement you can make to your supply chain through supply chain management is going to benefit your business.

While it may seem like a hassle to sit down and analyze every single step of the process, not keeping track of the essential operations of your business is going to cause problems eventually.

Taking some time today to look at all the pieces of your business’s complex, ever-moving puzzle will pay dividends tomorrow.

Experienced Logistics & Warehousing on the East Coast

One portion of SCM that often causes headaches for business owners is their logistics and warehousing vendors. They’re either stuck in lengthy, expensive contracts that aren’t flexible for the needs of business, or they’re drawn in by underpriced services that lead to damaged products and missed deadlines.

Don’t trust your warehousing and logistics to just anyone.

At Cannon Hill Logistics, we’ve helped multiple businesses succeed since our founding in 1984. We offer flexible, affordable solutions to help your business where it’s at today, and where you want it to go in the future.Call today to design your plan for success!

3 Ways a 3PL Can Take Your Business to the Next Level

3 Ways a 3PL Can Take Your Business to the Next Level

Building a business from the ground up is never easy, and neither is scaling your business up to the next level. You’ve got to worry about staffing issues, warehousing for all your products, the costs of packing and shipping to new customers, and more. Sometimes, it can seem nearly impossible to think about scaling up.

With a third-party logistics company, however, growing your business is easier than ever before. Here are 3 ways a 3PL can help you take your business to the next level:

Expertise

Have you jumped into a new geographic market with your products, but you aren’t quite sure how to get items from your warehouse into your customers’ hands quickly and safely? A 3PL knows how, and likely has vast experience shipping to your exact location.

No matter what challenge your business faces in scaling up – staffing, managing new orders, restocking merchandise – your 3PL has people who have been there, done that many times over the years. When you hire a 3PL, you hire years of experience in weathering the speed bumps you’re facing.

Staffing

One of the biggest hurdles to being able to grow your business quickly is facing shortfalls in staffing. You don’t want to hire someone until you’re sure you’ve got the business to support that salary, but you can’t keep up with the extra demand you need to create to bring in that extra revenue.

With a 3PL at your side, you don’t have to worry about hiring people to staff the warehouse; the 3PL takes care of all that! If your business needs extra staffing for a sale, for example, the 3PL just allocates more of their current staff to managing your business needs. You never have to worry about finding the right person, how much they’re being paid, or when they’re taking vacation days. You get the same level of service each and every time.

Space

When you want to grow your business, you know that means you’ll need to have more products and supplies on hand to meet increased orders. If you’re running your business out of your home, office, or small warehouse, the thought of packing any more product in may sound like a nightmare. To be able to handle all the products you need to, you may think it’s time to start investigating prices to rent more warehousing space.

Instead of laying out a heavy chunk of change for warehousing space – especially if your business is located in an area where rents are high – let a 3PL worry about where to store all your products. Your 3PL has access to large amounts of warehousing space, and the space your business’s products take up is expandable depending on your needs. Rather than spend all the money to rent and move into a new space, not to mention the valuable time that project requires, your 3PL can have you ready to expand your stock in a matter of days or even hours!

Expert Warehousing & Logistics on the East Coast

Since 1984, Cannon Hill Logistics has helped small and medium businesses just like yours grow and take things to the next level. Whether you need some extra warehouse space and a few spare hands to handle shipping or you want full-service warehousing and logistics, our skilled team can help you reach your business goals without all the added stress.

We pride ourselves on building custom solutions suited to each individual business’s needs. Let us build you a quote today!

5 Reasons You Need to Forecast for Effective Supply Chain Management

5 Reasons You Need to Forecast for Effective Supply Chain Management

While there may be a never-ending list of unknowns – snowstorms, supply shortages, skyrocketing oil prices – that you can’t prepare your business for, taking some time to dial in your supply chain forecasting is essential to the overall health and growth of your business.

If you don’t keep an eye on whether your supply is managed effectively, you could be losing serious money, which means your business will grow more slowly than you’d like.

Here are 5 reasons you need to forecast for effective supply chain management:

 

Optimize Your Inventory

You know that having too low a stock on a hot item can be a death knell for sales. And having too much of something that’s not selling eats up money with storage, transportation, and other costs. By looking carefully at your sales and your supply chain and then predicting when you’ll need how much of a product, you’re saving your business money in overstocking and maintaining sales that would be lost to understocking.

 

Customer Satisfaction

Having happy customers is always the goal of any business, right? Most customers are pretty forgiving, and understand if something’s going to be out of stock for a short time. However, with effective supply chain management through forecasting, you can prevent many of these product shortages, giving you happier customers.

 

Improve Resource Scheduling

With increased demand comes an increased need for all those resources necessary to getting products to customers – staff, warehouse space, and transportation, for example. If you can predict when you will need more people and resources to meet customer demands, you will decrease interruptions in the shipping process and get products to your customers in a timely manner. On the flip side, if you can forecast a seasonal dip in ordering, you can adjust your staffing needs accordingly to save money.

 

Decrease Costs

It’s expensive to keep a stash of extra products, even a small one, on hand. It can also be dangerous, depending on where and how you store them. By forecasting your supply needs, you’ll be able to avoid unnecessary expenditures on stocking and warehousing too many products. This improves your bottom line and preserves extra money for those times when you do see demand tick up and need more stock.

 

Enhance Transportation Logistics

Combining shipments or transportation methods to save money is all well and good, but with forecasting you can improve the product transport process even farther. If you have a handle on when you’ll see increased demand for certain products, you can create a full transportation strategy to help eliminate redundancies and decrease costs.

 

Experienced Supply Chain Management Support in Maryland

At Cannon Hill Logistics, we want to see your business succeed. Whether you need warehousing and shipping support, or you need someone to handle order receipt and returns processing, we can create a custom logistics solution to meet your needs. Contact us today to discuss your unique needs so your business can thrive!

5 Ways to Improve Your Retail Returns Process

Employee scanning retail tag

 

You can do everything in your power to keep your business’s return rate low – Make sure you have clear product descriptions and size charts on your website, triple-check all orders as they come in, keep immaculate records of where in your storage space each product is located – but some percentage of your total sales will always come back in returns or exchanges.

Although some amount of returns are unavoidable, they don’t always have to be a hassle for you or your customers. Here are 5 things you can do to improve your retail returns process:

Clearly Communicate Your Returns & Exchanges Policy – Often

The first step to a better returns process is one that is communicated clearly and often. State how you accept returns, the period of time after purchase for returns, and what your customer should do with an item that needs to be returned or exchanged in plain language. Put this statement on all your sales material – website, print catalog, and even packing slips.

Clearly communicating and giving easy access to the returns and exchange policy will limit the number of phone calls and emails you get with these simple questions, and gives you an easy thing to point to when someone tries to return, say, a sweater that has clearly been worn and washed.

Make Returns Easy

Part of what frustrates customers is a complicated returns process. If they have to call to let you know they want to return an item, then find a way to pack it up, go to the post office to ship the item back to you … Your customers will end up annoyed and wary of shopping with you again.

Providing a pre-printed shipping label, whether it’s plain paper or on sticky-backed paper, allows your customers to prepare their returns to be shipped back quickly and easily, so they don’t have to track down a printer for a new shipping label. Offering free return shipping, as well as using a drop-shipping or call-for-pickup service such as those available through FedEx and UPS, gives your customers the ability to make exchanges or returns without having to go out of their way. This will lead to happier customers and a higher likelihood they’ll make repeat purchases.

Quickly Process Returns

Your customer has already been inconvenienced by the return or exchange process, so you shouldn’t make her wait weeks for her refund or exchanged item.

Make processing returns and exchanges the priority in your warehouse. Get them moved through your building as fast as, if not faster than, initial purchases. Even if your customers have some lingering unhappiness from the initial purchase process, a speedy refund or a quickly received exchanged item will help soothe those frustrations.

Track Everything to Find Patterns

One bundled item missing a piece can be chalked up to an easy mistake. But 10 of the same bundled items missing pieces in a week? Not so much a blip as a pattern.

When customers return or exchange items, keep records of their reasons for returns. If you see the same or similar reasoning on certain items, you may have a quality control issue that you need to take care of. Keeping great records will help you head off major problems before they start, which could cost you tons of time and money in returns and exchanges.

Outsource Your Returns Processing – & Maybe Your Logistics!

If you’re a small business with few or no employees, handling all customer service, order processing, and returns processing can be burdensome. It’s easy, when you’re juggling a lot, to make mistakes.

By hiring a logistics company to process your returns, or even to handle all your order processing, picking and packing, and shipping duties, you’ll have a larger pool of people to take care of those busy seasons, leading to fewer mistakes. And, by outsourcing, you can actually save money in warehousing costs, labor costs, and more!

 

Efficient Returns Processing on the East Coast

At Cannon Hill Logistics, we pride ourselves on designing custom solutions for our clients. Whether you just need our help handling your returns and exchanges processing, or you want us to do it all, we’ve got the staff and the infrastructure to help you grow your business. Contact us today for a customized quote!

3 Tips for Improving Supply Chain Management

3 Tips for Improving Supply Chain Management- Cannon Hill Logistics

 

Your business’s supply chain is an essential part of the way you deliver goods to your customers. Whether you’re a company that puts together varying parts to make a whole product, or you market and sell a finished product to customers, keeping tight control over your supply chain is key to a successful business.

If you’re looking to tighten up the way your business manages its supply chain, here are 3 tips you can use to improve:

Manage Your Inventory

Keeping warehousing costs low is important to your overall bottom line. If you keep on hand only enough parts for two days’ worth of assembly, what happens when there’s a snowstorm near your supplier and trucks are delayed for three days? Or what about when the computer system goes down at the facility you depend on for all of your parts?

Problems with inventory management can prove costly on all fronts. If you have too many parts on-hand, you’re overspending on warehousing and storage costs. But if you have too few and there’s an issue with getting more, you’re facing mounting bills as production is delayed and you’re still paying your employees.

The same goes if you are the one distributing goods directly to customers: Having a very low margin of shippable product on hand could be problematic in cases of unexpected demand or supply chain disruption. And too much means you’re paying more than you need to for storage.

Getting your inventory needs under control is one of the best ways to improve your supply chain management, as it ensures you will have enough – but not too much – product on hand at any time.

Modernize Supply Chain Organization

Thinking of your supply chain in segments doesn’t work anymore. Thanks to modern software and more sophisticated data collection and analysis tools, it’s easier than ever to keep track of all pieces of the supply chain, end to end.

Analyzing your supply chain holistically instead of just in pieces helps you more easily determine what’s working and what isn’t, and where you’re losing money, to improve overall operations and profitability. By thinking of your entire supply chain organization as a whole, you can develop initiatives – such as with marketing and procurement, for example – that will benefit your whole supply chain and increase your business.

Set Benchmarks for Your Team

Getting everyone on your team involved is crucial to improving overall supply chain management. Each person has a unique part to play in the health and success of your company, and setting goals can help everyone get on the same page.

Go beyond the traditional metrics of capital, service, and cost and determine some aggressive key performance indicators (KPIs) that are necessary to helping your supply chain improve. Sit down with your executive team and really brainstorm what metrics matter to your business. Don’t just include something because you think it “should be” measured; forcing KPIs that don’t matter to your business goals are just going to frustrate everyone and take away from the opportunity to work toward effective goals.

No matter what you choose to do, improving your business’s supply chain management is an important factor in your overall success. Getting serious about measuring the right things and analyzing data that matters to your business is going to help your business grow and thrive for years to come.

 

Experienced Warehouse & Inventory Management on the East Coast

At Cannon Hill Logistics, we firmly believe in helping every business succeed to its fullest potential. That’s why we offer customizable, scaleable warehousing and logistics solutions to businesses of all sizes. Whether you need customer service support, picking and packing, procurement and replenishment, or warehousing services, the experienced team at Cannon Hill Logistics can help. Call today to discuss your needs!

Commercial Warehousing: Why You Should Outsource to a 3PL

commercial warehousing maryland

As your business has grown, so has the amount of product you’ve had to keep on-hand to fulfill customer demand. Because of this growth, you’re faced with a decision: handle the warehousing yourself, or outsource it to a third-party logistics company?

Though you may think using a 3PL may seem like overkill for your small business, there are many benefits to partnering with a quality warehousing and logistics company instead of handling everything yourself.

Cost

While it may not seem like it on the surface, working with a 3PL could actually save you money over handling all your warehousing yourself.

If you Do It Yourself, you have to find rental space to store your products. It’s unlikely you’ll find a space just perfect for your needs – Many affordable spaces will be too small and many spaces with enough room for you will cost beyond your budget. Additionally, rental warehouse space may not come with shelving and equipment, which you’ll need to make proper use of the space. These costs can easily add up to outpace your monthly earnings!

By using a 3PL, you’re making use of currently unused space in a building already rented by someone else. You don’t directly have to hunt for or rent the space, and all the other companies that utilize your chosen 3PL help split the cost of the rent and other equipment. With this option, you’ll get the amount of space you need at a much lower price.

Scaleable

If you’re choosing warehouse space on your own, you’re either looking for space that fits your business right now, with the risk that you could outgrow the space as your business increases, or you’re looking for a space to grow into. Either one of these choices could mean wasted time, overspending, and headaches for you.

With a 3PL, you have warehouse space that scales as your business grows. If you only need a little bit of space now, that’s fine! You just pay for the space you need and, if you need more down the road, the 3PL has the infrastructure in place to expand the amount of space your products take up.

Comprehensive Solutions

Renting your own warehouse space means you are likely also responsible for all other aspects of your product distribution chain: labeling, picking, packing, shipping, and processing returns. While this may have worked when your business was smaller, it now means you have more to do and may need to hire help. That can be expensive and frustrating, as finding dependable people to support your business isn’t always easy.

By using a 3PL, you have access to all these services under one roof, and you never have to worry about doing the hiring! From order processing to phone answering, picking and packing to processing returns, your 3PL can offer you everything you need to get your products from the warehouse and into your customers’ hands without you ever having to lay hands on anything. This frees you up to develop new products, network, and hone your marketing strategy to help your business continue to grow and thrive.

Experienced Warehousing Services in Maryland

Since 1984, Cannon Hill Logistics has offered dependable, affordable warehousing, distribution, and logistics services to businesses throughout the world. We pride ourselves on designing custom solutions to meet the unique needs of each of our client partners. Our location near the busy Port of Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International Airport means we can get your products to your customers with minimal shipping time. Call today for your quote to help your business succeed!