5 Reasons to Outsource Your Warehouse Kitting

The process of picking, packaging, and listing groups of items under one product number is called kitting. It’s a common practice in online retail sales, as offering bundles of the same or related items can help customers feel as if they’re getting a deal, enticing them to buy more.

But handling the kitting process yourself can be time-consuming and frustrating, leading you to consider outsourcing your kitting process to a third-party logistics company.

Here are 5 reasons to consider outsourcing your kitting, making your business stronger and more efficient:

Lower Labor Costs

It takes time and training for employees to be proficient at properly kitting your products. This can cause your labor costs to skyrocket, virtually eliminating any benefits you get for selling products grouped together.

By outsourcing to a 3PL, someone else handles the hiring, training, and overall management of the employees doing the kitting.

You don’t have to worry about finding extra people to cover your kitting during your busy season, or making sure you have trained employees ready to take over in the event that someone calls in sick. Everything is left up to the 3PL, and all you have to worry about is getting your fully kitted products back and ready for sale.

Space Savings

Kitting products requires more space than you’d need if you didn’t repackage your products.

Individual products must be picked off the shelves and, depending on the situation, unpackaged to be grouped into bundles. This could require you to have a handful of different products off the shelves awaiting kitting at any given time, meaning you need a lot of extra floor or table space.

Then, once the bundles are made, you need to have the space to store the fully kitted packages prior to their sale.

When you outsource, you don’t have to worry about finding space in your facility for all this to happen. Someone else has to manage the logistics of kitting your products, keeping your space requirements much lower than if you handled kitting on your own.


Sometimes, your business needs a lot of kitting help. At other times, you don’t need much.

If you handle your own kitting all the time, you are responsible for ensuring that you’ve got the staff to take care of the busy times, while making sure you’re not keeping too many people on the schedule when things are slower. And, if you have an unexpected uptick in demand for your kitted products, that can mean a major scramble to find and train enough people to keep up with demand.

Partnering with a 3PL, on the other hand, gives you all the flexibility you need to respond to ebbing and flowing demand without any of the stress.

Your 3PL dials up your service level to meet increased demand, and can easily pull that service back as your demand dips. This allows you to continue to provide the same level of service regardless of demand, making your customers happier in the process.

Better Customer Service

Your customers want the right product, on time, every time. As a small operation handling everything yourself, this can be difficult as you spread yourself and your staff very thin.

Whether this means you send orders out that are full of mistakes or you let your responsiveness to customer requests slide in order to accurately fulfill orders, an inability to provide a solid level of customer service at any time can cause you to lose business from current customers and may dissuade potential customers from purchasing.

By outsourcing, you get to provide all those kitted products to your customers on time without causing your responsiveness to customer requests and demands to slide.

This allows you to maintain a higher level of customer service, leading to more repeat and new customers and helping your business grow.

Increased Focus

No matter how hard you try, you can’t possibly offer a high level of competency for every single task that comes with your business.

You may be great at developing and marketing products, and responding to customer requests, but your ability to manage picking, packing, and shipping orders isn’t so great. That’s OK! No one is great at everything, and part of owning a business is realizing where you need to ask for help so you can give your customers the experience they deserve.

Working with a 3PL for those tasks you may not be so great at, such as kitting, allows your time and attention to be freed up to focus on the things you are great at. 

In the long run, this ability to focus on your core competencies and to, in turn, partner with people who are good at the things you’re bad at, will strengthen your business and help it grow faster.

Skilled Kitting Services on the East Coast

If you offer products that need to be picked, packaged, and listed under a single product code, don’t spend your time dealing with this task! At Cannon Hill Logistics, our team is experienced at kitting from end to end, offering you experienced, detail-oriented services that help your business reach its potential. Call today for an individualized quote so we can meet your business’ needs!

11 Common Warehousing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

For every warehouse that exists there’s likely a method for managing the people and things inside it. But just because every warehouse is a little different doesn’t mean there aren’t some general guiding principles that should be adhered to.

To help you stay on top of your warehouse management and avoid any excessive, unnecessary supply chain costs, here are 11 common warehousing mistakes and how to avoid them:

Holding Excess Inventory

One of the most common mistakes across the industry is holding onto too much inventory “just in case.”

Whether you’re preparing for a big seasonal jump or you just haven’t yet mastered the fine balance between too much and not enough inventory, having too much inventory can lead to exorbitant extra costs that your business may not be able to absorb.

Having too much extra means you need to store more, increasing your storage needs and costs. It also leads to an increased chance of inventory loss through damage or, for perishable goods, spoilage. 

To prevent your warehouse from holding onto too much extra inventory, it’s essential to thoroughly track your inventory levels and customer demand over time, keeping your inventory levels as low as possible without completely running out of individual products.

Using Paper

Technology has made the warehouse management industry much more efficient, but there are still some warehouses clinging to the old ways of doing things.

Utilizing paper processes for everything increases the risk of mistakes and missing paperwork. It also requires more man hours to manage all the paperwork and materials, causing your costs to balloon.

By switching even portions of your operations over to digital processes, you’ll increase your efficiency and accuracy, leading to an overall decrease in costs over time.

Not Optimizing Picking Paths

Just like a library, a well-organized and optimized warehouse floor makes it much faster and easier to find the products necessary when it comes time to pick an order.

Failing to optimize picking paths by not grouping items that are commonly ordered together in the same area, or just putting the dispatch area too far away from your storage, causes your manpower costs to skyrocket.

The slower your team is able to pick items and fulfill orders, the higher your picking costs go and the more you have to charge for products to make up the increase. By carefully planning your picking routes – with help from a warehouse optimization specialist, if necessary – you can increase your profit margins and increase your team’s efficiency.

Neglecting Goods-in Processes

In many warehouses, all the focus is placed upon increasing the efficiency and decreasing the costs of the process between customer order and shipping out the door, with little to no focus on the receiving end of the warehousing process.

Not paying attention to how your warehouse receives goods and manages stock until it is placed on shelves can lead to increased damage and waste, as well as continued inefficient picking paths.

If possible, it’s best to designate specific team members for goods-in tasks, with some trained extra hands put on backup for especially busy times. This will ensure that your goods-in team knows how to properly handle the receiving process, making everything easier and more efficient for your goods-out team.

Overlapping Shipping & Receiving Areas

When space is at a premium, it can seem a luxury to designate separate areas for shipping out orders and receiving goods.

However, not separating these areas at least in some way can lead to inefficiencies and mistakes that cost money.

On an especially busy day, for example, your team may accidentally put a set of just-received products right back out onto a truck for shipping, or they may place a picked and packed order back on the shelves. Either of these mistakes can lead to an incredible amount of delay and waste, and decrease overall customer satisfaction.

At minimum, designate opposite areas of your warehouse for goods to be shipped and those just received so that there’s little chance of cross-over. However, if at all possible, consider placing shipping and receiving in completely different bays of your warehouse so there’s little chance for confusion.

Sub-par Health & Safety Management

Just because your warehouse is clean and tidy doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe. You could have shelves that are unstable and overloaded, waiting to tip at any moment, or your equipment could be dangerous.

Having strict health and safety policies and procedures, as well as scheduling routine health and safety checks, is essential to keeping your workers safe and decreasing accidents.

And, when accidents and near-misses do happen, it’s important to thoroughly investigate and analyze what happened, making any changes necessary to improve safety across the warehouse.

Inattention to Housekeeping

If your warehouse has messy loading docks, aisles littered with shrink-wrap and garbage, and overfilled pallets, it’s time to pay a little more attention to housekeeping.

Too much mess and clutter is not only dangerous, it can cause increased costs as your employees have to navigate the mess to continue doing their jobs. Or, if things are really bad, you have to stop all work just to clean things up to an acceptable level.

Rather than letting the clutter accumulate day after day, try designating a portion of the end of each shift to tidying up the warehouse. This keeps the clutter at bay while allowing the following shift to get down to their duties without delay.

Failing to Plan

What works now may not work in the future, especially if your operation grows. But not taking the time and effort to plan ahead for that potential someday can really cost you a lot in the long run.

If you’re not keeping up with the latest changes to the industry, or you’re not evaluating your processes to see where you can minimize inefficiencies, your business will suffer.

Instead, take some time, at minimum, annually to think about where you’d like your warehouse and business to be in the following year, and figure out what you need to do to get yourself there. Schedule quarterly or monthly reviews of your progress toward these goals.

Taking the time to plan for the future allows you to see opportunities and jump on them as they come up, helping you avoid a sudden panic period when you need to adapt and change your business operations.

Measuring the Wrong Things

Measuring data such as average time for order picking or amount of time products spend on your shelves is great, but if you’re not getting the whole picture – from receiving through shipping – you’re not going to notice the inefficiencies and expenses that could be avoided.

Understanding just what metrics are most important to your business operations is the first step toward collecting actionable data in your warehouse.

And once you know what metrics you need to track, it’s a simple matter of putting the processes into place to collect that data and then analyze it. 

If you aren’t sure what type of information you should be collecting about your warehouse operations, consider hiring a warehouse optimization specialist or logistics consultant. Paying someone to spend some time figuring out what you should track and helping you set up your processes may be expensive at first, but it will pay off in the long run.

Ignoring Staff Training

Tight budgets and time constraints can often mean that your staff is sent out on the floor with very little training in safe practices. This can lead to injuries, inefficiencies, and added expenses.

Investing not only in a solid initial training program for all staff, but also ongoing training and development opportunities for your staff can help them become more skilled and invested in the overall success of your business. This can help your warehouse become more profitable and efficient, and decrease accidents and staff turnover.

Carving out time and budget each year to allow your staff opportunities for ongoing development and training will pay your business back tenfold, as it’s far less expensive to invest in training and development for existing employees than it is to constantly have to fill vacant positions.

Technology for Technology’s Sake

Utilizing technology is essential in the modern warehouse, but there is a point where too much technology is a negative.

Spending too much money on the newest, flashiest piece of technology a salesperson pitches to you, or investing in something that’s not going to work for your warehouse operations, means you run the risk of spending way more on that technology than you ever make back in its use.

Instead of just jumping on the latest gadget or piece of software, carefully consider whether you need everything that item claims to offer, and whether you already have something that works just as well.

Being smart about the technology you use in your warehouse is a key component to a well-run, profitable warehouse.

Warehouse Solutions on the East Coast

At Cannon Hill Logistics, we understand not all businesses are able to fully manage their own warehouse operations. That’s why we offer flexible, affordable warehousing and logistics solutions to businesses of all sizes, giving them the tools they need to become profitable. Call today for a customized quote!

4 Things Companies Get Wrong About Supply Chain Management

As a retail business, having a smooth-running supply chain is essential to your overall operations and future growth.

Without proper supply chain management, even the greatest, most helpful product in the world won’t sell well because it can’t get into the hands of the customers.

For many business owners, their struggles with supply chain management comes simply from misunderstanding the process. Many decisions are made regarding the supply chain of a company without knowing there’s a better way, and these decisions can cause major problems for the business.

Here are 4 things companies frequently get wrong about supply chain management:

Neglecting Data

Collecting, compiling, and analyzing data takes time and brain power. But, if your business fails to collect important data on your supply chain, you could easily be bleeding money unnecessarily.

Some common metrics that need to be collected and regularly analyzed include:

  • Cost per order processed
  • Cost per order handled
  • Fill rates
  • Fulfillment times
  • Cost per unit delivered
  • Average order value

Comparing these metrics can show you where your processes are inefficient or too expensive, allowing you to make important changes to positively impact your business.

Additionally, this data can be used to help you set goals for your business, and gives you a way to measure your progress toward those goals.

If, for example, you would like to increase the average order value by 10 percent, you’re only going to know what that increase should be if you’ve got data collected showing you what your average order value is now.

Failing to Future Plan

As a business owner, it’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your business.

But, to paraphrase the old axiom, if you fail to plan, you’re just planning to fail.

Not taking the time to plan ahead and anticipate potential problems, such as disruptions in your supply chain due to strikes, bad weather, or a carrier going out of business, could spell disaster for your business in the long run. Taking some time to figure out a Plan B and even a Plan C for if something goes wrong and then never needing those plans is much better than getting into the middle of a supply chain disruption and having no plan for righting the wrong.

You also need to plan your supply chain for the business you want in the future instead of simply focusing on the business you have now.

Picking, packing, and shipping all your own products may work well for you when your order volume is small, but it’s not going to serve your business for very long if you’re successful. Instead, putting into place some outsourcing or expansion measures in your supply chain while your business is still small can better prepare you for an increase in business and better protect your supply chain overall than scrambling to find solutions might.

Inefficient Processes

For many small and medium-sized businesses, supply chain management often falls on the options that are the quickest to put into place and that are least expensive.

However, these are not often the most efficient or effective processes, including:

  • Paper-based workflows
  • Putting technology implementation before actual process
  • Failing to learn from best practices
  • Maintaining processes and steps that add little or no value for customers

Rather than going with what’s easiest or cheapest, it’s important to carefully evaluate whether that process you’re putting into place will really be efficient and effective. And, as long as you’re gathering and analyzing data along the way, you’ll also be able to tell whether or not the processes you currently have in place are efficient, making it easier to swap out parts of your supply chain management process that are no longer serving you.

Messy Processes

Over time, it’s very easy for the supply chain for any business to get a little “messy.” This could come from working with too many partners, or paring the process down too far so that one little issue can cause the whole thing to fall apart.

Take a careful look at your supply chain. Do you have a lot of vendors providing overlapping services? Are you paying for something you don’t really need? 

If you find that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, weed out any that you don’t need so that you’ve got an efficient, effective process across the board.

However, just be careful to not pare down your supply chain too far that, if one partner falls through, your whole chain falls apart.

It’s a careful balance between having a supply chain that’s too lean and one that’s right on target. Regularly evaluate the partners you’re working with to make sure you can strike that balance between too many and not enough for a well-running, effective supply chain.

Fulfillment Company on the East Coast

If you’re looking to outsource part or all of your supply chain management, look no further than Cannon Hill Logistics. We have more than 30 years of experience helping businesses succeed, and our convenient location on the East Coast means your products get where they need to go faster. Call today for a quote!

5 Reasons to Reduce Production Cycle Times for Business Success

Modern business relies on quick movement of goods from production to consumers. The faster you can get your products through the production cycle, the more competitive your business is overall.

If you’ve been considering shoring up your production cycle times as a way to make your business more efficient and competitive, it’s important to understand just how beneficial all that hard work can be.

Here are 5 reasons to reduce production cycle times for business success:

Innovation Opportunities

If you are consistently turning out products on a short production schedule, you will be better poised to meet new market demands. This allows your business unique opportunities to offer innovative solutions and get in on the ground floor of new products and technologies.

This ability to innovate can position you for more opportunities down the road, leading to greater success over time.

Better Positioning

For businesses whose products go to resellers or other businesses that then repackage and redistribute products, being able to quickly supply your products allows you prime positioning with your customers.

The faster you can provide your products, the better off your business looks in the eyes of your partners, and your business will be seen as more trustworthy and reliable.

Increased Productivity

When turning out higher volumes, it is essential to reduce overall production cycle times. If you don’t, you’re just running your production floor into overtime needlessly, eating into your profits.

By reducing your production cycle times, you’re making your operations far more efficient, and giving your business room to grow and produce even more in the future.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

If your company sells directly to customers, it stands to reason that the faster you’re able to get your products into their hands, the happier they will be.

By decreasing your production cycle times, you are getting products to your buyers more quickly, increasing customer satisfaction. And when you have happy customers, they’re more likely to recommend your business to their friends and family, or to make repeat purchases, helping your business grow and succeed.

Increased Profitability

The more products you can move through the production line in an 8-hour working shift, the more profit you can make.

By carefully analyzing the places in your production cycle where you can make changes and make things faster, the better off your profit margins will be. Where you could once move 10,000 units through the line in 10 hours, reducing your production cycle time allows you to move the same amount of units in 8 hours. This gives you two extra hours to move additional units through, giving you more to sell.

Experienced Fulfillment Services on the East Coast

For more than 35 years, Cannon Hill Logistics has assisted businesses across the world with all their logistics needs. We pride ourselves on developing individualized solutions to meet your unique needs, whether you need a small amount of support or want someone to run your whole logistics operation. Call today for a quote!