How Good Data (and Understanding It) Can Help Build Your Brand
We previously discussed how retail consolidation services can help build your brand, mitigate costs and reduce shipping headaches.
Another powerful program benefit is the capability that allows you to fully understand your data and then build upon that increased knowledge. Knowing how to properly look at your data to find ways to optimize consolidation can also boost your efficiency and fine mitigation.
Joining a Retail Consolidation Services (RCS) program not only provides you with the immediate benefits of consolidated shipping but also builds the groundwork of an efficient supply chain by combining a mixture of data and expertise.
When working with a new customer, there are typically three steps we take to engineer a retail consolidation solution:
1. Compile and Review the Data
One thing that often gets lost when building out a shipping portfolio is how to utilize data and determining what the right data is. If you’re collecting bad data, that can be a total waste of time and can lead to bad decisions that will leave you in the hole for the foreseeable future.
By setting up a solid plan to identify the right data and how to utilize it can set you up for long-term success. Below is the key data we request when evaluating for consolidation points:
- Weights or pallet count to each DC for either a six-month or annualized amount of time
- Frequency of shipments
- Density or class information
One of the vital points for data accuracy is obtaining a full year of data. This provides a solid base to make informed decisions along with providing the right information to maximize profits as well as properly mitigate losses and disputes.
2. Build out a Cost (Pricing) Model
Before building out a cost (or pricing) model, it’s important to remember that cheaper isn’t always better. You may spend more money on the front end, but a good solution will likely save you money on compliance fines.
Working with an experienced 3PL that can build your supply chain efficiently and has the knowledge to mitigate costs on the back end is essential. It’s important, however, especially in today’s economy, to have flexibility. That’s why we provide various pricing options to best fit your needs, such as:
- Pallet rate: Setting the price for pallets per week lets you know how much you’re paying at the beginning of the week. This also offers the benefit to the supplier, the ability to budget and accrue as soon as the orders are dropped from the retailers.
- 100 weight pricing: This pricing model is based on a series of weight breaks that are established through the contracting process. The first weight break is referred to as the “min charge”, whereas any order that is under that set weight will pay that min charge. As orders grow in weight, pricing is determined by the weight break they fall into thereafter. This benefits a mid-sized customer that has weight that falls on either end of the light or heavy spectrum. As a result, you’re not set to just one price.
- Traditional LTL tariff pricing: Included with this type of pricing are pricing per lane, zip codes, mileage, and rate per mile (RPM). Also, this pricing model mimics what you’re used to which provides a familiar cost structure.
3. Consultative Approach
Sound options are what you should expect from a 3PL or consolidator. Our solutions team takes all the information provided and builds out a forecast model for a specific business plan for your company.
Each business we work with is unique, so it’s important to build models that are flexible and can fit your specific needs while keeping costs low and maximizing profitability. Having a team that can tailor and adjust to specific needs is crucial.
Our team of experts walks our clients through the potential pitfalls and advises on how to successfully track performance. This can be extremely useful for small businesses that are working on getting their footing. We’ll show you how having a good plan in place will help mitigate fines, optimize your solution, and continuously capture improvements.
There are many struggles that customers face that can be resolved with a retail consolidation services program. Some key blind spots we see with companies include:
- Lack of good data.
- An ineffective TMS.
- No accounting for appointment times with LTL.
- Not realizing how to utilize reporting and visibility (which begs the question, how sophisticated are you with your technology and ability to understand data?).
- Inability to understand retailer metrics and KPI’s.
Without a solid understanding of the blind spots listed above, it’s difficult for companies to dispute false charges (which is why people often lose the most money) and avoid continually paying fines for not meeting retailers’ requirements.
A solid RCS program not only takes care of all these issues for you but also provides consultative solutions. You’ll understand what to look for as the program reveals your previous blind spots as well as how to fix and prevent them from ever reoccurring.