Like many organizations, one US art supply manufacturer and distributor was leveraging the infrastructure put in place by large e-tailers for selling and distributing its products to Canadian consumers. Working with those established e-tailers on a third-party logistics, resale and distribution basis, the company was at the mercy of those companies when it came to delivery times.
In some cases, the company had to wait up to 30 days to get its products into the e-tailers and available for sale to end consumers—virtually a lifetime in today’s fast-paced distribution environment. For help, the company tapped an existing relationship it had with global logistics provider DB Schenker, which vastly reduced the amount of time it was taking for the art supplier to get its goods from the US and into Canadian facilities.
“We completed our first shipment with them within seven days,” said Rob Segsworth, DB Schenker’s Vice President/Head of Land, Canada. Equipped with a robust logistics infrastructure and strong carrier connections, DB Schenker can move any shipment from the US to any point in Canada within an aggressive transit window.
For the US based company, DB Schenker is not only streamlining fulfillment but it’s also helping the company greatly reduce its time-to-market and get its goods into consumers’ hands much faster. DB Schenker has also reduced the amount of “idle” inventory that was sitting at various 3PL locations—stock that was sitting stagnant and of little or no interest to Canadian resellers.
To solve this problem and reduce the company’s inventory costs, DB Schenker helped its customer design and implement a returns program whereby idle and inactive stock was brought to DB Schenker’s facility, consolidated and then shipped back to the US. “This freed up inventory capacity and allowed the organization to send new, higher demand stock,” said Segsworth.
Taking the Pressure Off
By enhancing its returns program and removing inactive stock to make space for new stock, the company also accelerated the order fulfillment processes, making both new and fast-selling products available to Canadian customers in a timelier manner. “We’re now moving product for the company multiple times per week across Canada into the various e-tailer fulfillment centers,” he added.
To make that happen, DB Schenker uses its own terminals as deconsolidation points. This helps simplify the freight entry process into Canada and allows the logistics provider to quickly deconsolidate orders and then make appointments to deliver those goods. This has helped streamline the US art supply manufacturer’s delivery process, which in the past involved the company’s e-tail partners (and happened mainly via a portal for booking delivery appointments).
“We book the appointment to execute final-mile delivery from our two primary Canadian deconsolidation terminal locations,” said Segsworth. “This takes the pressure off the customer, simplifies the cross-border supply chain and also supports a 100% success rate of executing appointment deliveries for it.”
Helping Customers Eliminate the “Cost of Failure”
Some companies face significant service issues when it comes to delivering shipments within their customers’ designated time windows. This can severely impact supplier-customer relationships and add up to significant costs in the form of fines, penalties for non-compliance and lost customers.
In many cases, companies have to both fulfill designated purchase order requirements and meet their end customers’ delivery needs. “If either of those windows are missed,” said Segsworth, “there’s either a rejection of the delivery or a penalty associated with the service failure regarding either the PO fulfillment or appointment delivery execution.”
To help companies avoid these costs of failure, DB Schenker executes on the deliveries on a timely basis while also maintaining almost 100% service levels. “This not only makes our customer happy, but it also makes their customers happy because product is getting to retail locations in a timely manner,” Segsworth said.
“This illustrates how cost of failure sometimes can add up to more than the cost of transportation,” he added. “It makes companies stop and think before opting for the cheapest provider, knowing that might cost them on the tail end.”
Serving as the Customer’s Logistics Arm
As you can see from these success stories, companies understand that the low-cost provider isn’t always the best choice and that ease of administration, simplified processes and dedicated account management can all add up to significant time and cost savings. “At DB Schenker, we don’t look at things from a transactional level,” said Segsworth. “Instead, we assume a partner relationship and serve as our customer’s logistics arm.”
For US shippers that are transporting products into Canada, DB Schenker helps simplify the process with its Canada Made Easy (CME) offering. CME provides freight consolidation at origin, line haul to a destination terminal, deconsolidation at that terminal, and then shipment to final destination. Also known as a hub-and-spoke or pooled distribution approach, CME leverages multi-customer fulfillment in a simple, consolidated line-haul network.
With strategically-placed origin terminals in the U.S., DB Schenker picks up the freight from multiple different companies, consolidates it, and then sends a single, consolidated line haul across the U.S.-Canadian border. Because it touches every zip code between both countries, the global logistics provider offers a complete solution for any US company that wants to speed up its deliveries, eliminate the cost of failure, or both.