Tag Archives: logistics

What is Logistics?

Logistics is a term used to define the process of moving goods from point of origin to point of use, notwithstanding the process of reverse logistics, which describes the process in which finished goods get put back into the Supply Chain to create added value.


What is logistics

History

The definition of Logistics has been a constant for many years, with origins going back to the Military, the term Logistics simply represents moving product from Point A to Point B in the fastest and most cost effective way possible.


Although answering the question, “What is Logistics?” is relatively simple, the processes are far more complex.

  • Tightening of the economy, currency fluctuations, increased competition and reduced margins have been catalysts for companies to take a closer look at their cost centres.
  • Manufacturing, Warehouse Space, Inventory, Technology, Shipping Costs, Packaging, Staff and Material Handling Equipment, all represent a significant cost to a company; but yet are necessary to operate an effective Supply Chain.

3PL Providers

Although many companies continue to manage their own supply chain, more and more companies choose to outsource their supply chain to specialist organizations; these organizations are called 3PL providers.

3PL providers manage inventory, storage and distribution of product. 4PL providers take it a step further; not only do they run inventory, storage and distribution; they also manage Customer Services, Reverse Logistics and other value added services.

Although this is not a new concept, we are starting to see more small to medium sized businesses adopting these options. Whilst it is beneficial for SMEs’ to invest into product development rather then capital expenses; it is also beneficial for SMEs’ to concentrate on sales and marketing rather than storage and distribution.


A Word of Warning

Freight companies are not 3PL providers, holding inventory does not make a freight company a 3P provider, when looking for a 3PL or 4PL provider do your due diligence, take a look at their current clients, take a look at their technology and finally make sure they can scale as your Business scales.


So, the original question “What is Logistics”

What is logistics? Logistics is a term, Supply Chain is the process, whatever you do make sure you can get your product from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here at 3PL we can guarantee the use of a third party will add value to your business.

See more information on third party logistics here…

 

Peel Ports Liverpool2

The Imminent Arrival of Liverpool2

Liverpool2
Design concept of imminent Liverpool2 Deep Water Container Terminal

North West England – The Good Old Days Are Set To Roll Again

As the owner of a leading Third party Logistics Company with its roots firmly embedded in the North West I am often asked by overseas businesses the following two questions:

• Do you have any central warehousing in the Midlands?
• Do you have any warehousing close to the southern ports of Felixstowe, Tilbury and Southampton?

On those two questions alone you can get a good feel for how International businesses presently see the UK logistics landscape. There is a general misconception that Central England (The Midlands) is Central UK and that the Southern Ports are the only ticket in town. Of course they are soon corrected and assured that the North West of England is indeed Central UK and is THE prime location for International businesses looking to trade with the UK.

After all where else in the UK can you access the following attributes?

• Access to over 35 million consumers within 150 miles of Liverpool Port
• The largest volume and density of large warehousing (over 9,000 sqm) of any region, encapsulating more than 28% of the UK’s large warehousing and more than the Golden Triangle (20%)
• Excellent multimodal connections, with 10 motorways within 10 miles of Liverpool2 and 10 rail linked terminals
• Access to the most centrally located deep water container terminal in the UK to allow global services to connect with Liverpool
• Direct connections the heart of the UK, Scotland and Ireland from the shipping lines.
• Access to the Green Water Highway that connects the two great cities of Liverpool and Manchester via the Manchester Ship Canal

It appears that our Maritime and Industrial heritage right here in the North West has been lost on the younger generation and it’s about time the region put that right.

Liverpool2Cranes Shipped for Liverpool2

With the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse running alongside game changing development projects such as Airport City, HS2, the resurgence of Manchester port and the imminent arrival of Liverpool2 all of that is about to change.

Without question the opening of Liverpool2 will shake up the UK Logistics market and the wider global supply chain. For any North West business with trade links to America, Asia-Europe, South America Intra-European, and the Indian Subcontinent then Liverpool is a logical choice.

It becomes a no brainer for businesses looking to explore importing and exporting via its closest commercial seaport and enjoy tangible benefits such as:
• Shorter lead times
• A more cost effective route to market i.e. Reduced Inland Haulage Costs
• A more carbon efficient footprint
The incessant rise in online retail will also see increased demand on the supply chain as a whole. Consumer demand has never been greater and the demand for prime grade A warehousing in prime geographical locations is off the scale.

The return of the “speculative build” is a good barometer that prime warehousing stock is low and investor confidence is high.

The on-going development of Omega North / South is just one of the many examples of major construction work being undertaken to ensure adequate industrial and commercial stock in the region.

As a region if we have confidence in demand, and we are fast putting infrastructure into place then the missing link here is PEOPLE.

The question isn`t whether we have sufficient numbers of people to fill the jobs in the region but more so do we have the sufficient experience and skill?

Whilst everyone is busy building infrastructure we mustn`t forget that it is the quality of people that will give the North West region the edge and the “preferred location” status.

The skill gap problem in the logistics sector isn`t just isolated to the North West in general but is more a UK wide challenge. Providing we can overcome the skill gap in the region then the combined components of demand, physical infrastructure and a skilled workforce will ensure that the region stays at the forefront of supply chain innovation for many years to come.

It`s high time we showed a generation what they`ve been missing…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


With its head office based in the North West Ian is the Managing Director and original founder of 3P Logistics, a leading provider of global logistics and order fulfilment. His business provides outsourced supply chain support to a wide range of UK & International b2b & b2c clientele. Recent winners of the Wigan business awards the business also works closely with various affiliated bodies in helping its UK based clients to grow internationally.

For more information:

Email Us: enquires@3p-logistics.co.uk
Call Us: 01942 402314

3P Logistics provide for Brand Hatton

Hatton Boxing Chooses 3P Logistics

3P Logistics provide for Brand Hatton

Ahead of the eagerly awaited launch of its new “pride in battle” equipment range Hatton Boxing has partnered with outsourced supply chain specialist 3P Logistics. The UK based logistics company will handle the freight imports, store and distribute its product range.

Hatton Boxing

In addition to supplying the highly acclaimed Hatton Academies, 3P Logistics will also be fulfilling consumer orders placed via the Hatton Boxing website: www.hattonboxing.com

Inbound freight will arrive at our Wigan facility from Hatton`s manufacturing partner. The goods will be stored in a mix of pallet racking and shelf storage for both Academy and B2C picking requirements. 3P Logistics has also agreed to provide a number of value-added services including pre-retail and contact centre support.

“Hatton Boxing is a really exciting brand to be associated with. If it’s half as successful has Ricky was in the ring then it will be a hugely successful venture” said Mark Pawsey, Commercial Manager.

He continued: “Identifying that supply chain is an area of specialism very early on in the business journey can often be the difference between new business ventures flying or failing. Launching a brand encompasses many ingredients of which supply chain is just one of many critical components. It is therefore essential that businesses focus more so on their areas of specialism and what is deemed to be the core business. Time spent handling logistics is ultimately time lost in developing the brand and routes to market”.

Hatton Academy’s training and educational director Jon Eade, said: “When selecting our logistics partner we spoke to a number of parties and found 3P Logistics to be dynamic and appreciative of our requirements. We are confident that 3P Logistics’ account management support and flexible approach will mean that the company becomes a valuable extension to our business – leaving us to focus on what we do best.”

Mark Pawsey added: “By providing Hatton Boxing with a complete end to end logistics service, we are confident that we will play an integral role in the success of the “brand Hatton” for many years to come and look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship.

Just don’t ask me to get in the ring with Ricky!”

Outsource Your Logistics Operations 3PL

2016 – Outsourced Logistics Becomes The Norm

Outsource Your Logistics Operations 3PL

Today’s business models demand a much leaner, flexible and scalable approach that is very much akin to the concept of outsourcing ALL non-core activities. Every business needs partners and 2016 will see a real shift towards outsourcing becoming best practice and the new norm.

So how do you decide if you’re ready to outsource?

With over 25 years in the sphere of third party logistics and currently providing warehousing and logistics support for many aspiring businesses Ian Walker shares his thoughts:

In-house Operations vs. Outsourced Operations?

The good news – there is no right or wrong answer here as only a set of pre-determined circumstances can determine the appropriate outcome. Such circumstances are governed by a wide range of factors including people, timing, finances etc.

When asked to quote for our services we start by understanding the key drivers for change and what are the perceived benefits to be realised from outsourcing. Adopting such an impartial and consultative approach at this early stage ensures that the right guidance is offered regardless. In the main outsourcing should be seen as a long term commitment and long term partnerships can only be realised when both parties fully understand and are able to satisfy each other’s needs.

It’s the same in marriage – so why should business life be any different?

The Climate

A decision to outsource can be determined by many factors and a subsequent weighting is normally applied. A number of common elements that act as the proverbial tipping point for outsourcing include:
– A dilution of the core activities due to a lack of time
– The existing building lease is up for renewal
– A desire to convert assets such as buildings and equipment to hard cash.
– A growing business with insufficient capacity and experience
– A decision to expand into International markets
– A need to reduce operating costs by Leveraging the collective buying power of a 3PL
– An Inferior service level compared to the competition.

All of the above and many more are valid reasons to consider forming a long term alliance with a relevant industry expert.

Gain a Competitive Edge

There is logistics and then there is value added logistics. Do not be fooled into thinking the two are the same as they offer a very different proposition and can often prove to be your competitive edge in a “me too” marketplace. Value added logistics providers not only provide the basic warehousing and distribution services you would normally expect but will also provide on demand access to a comprehensive “sweet shop” of support services including:
– Re-work / Co-packing
– Pre-retail
– Product refurbishment
– Call centre operations i.e. Inbound telesales
– Customer services
– Web photography
– Digital studio i.e. Listing support & store design
– Demand planning etc.
– Freight forwarding and customs support

Traditionally such services would be spread across 4 or 5 business types but not anymore. Logistics pioneers of this variety remain in short supply and finding a partner that can offer such versatility provides a real competitive edge and greater efficiency.

Focus on Your Core Activities

If you’re a manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer then warehousing and transportation is not your core business nor is it your core area of expertise. Every day spent in this field may well detract both directly and indirectly from the main areas of focus and negatively impact the bottom line.

If you aren’t in pursuit of growth and you wish to touch and feel every aspect of your business then outsourcing probably isn’t for you. On other hand if you are seeking significant growth and your perceived constraints centre around physical infrastructure and industry expertise then forming an alliance with a reputable logistics service provider could well unblock the blockages.

Outsource to Gain Control

There is a common misgiving that outsourcing various services relinquishes control. In today’s modern world of web based applications and management reporting this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The time gained through outsourcing some of the more physical aspects of your business combined with info on demand puts you bang in control. Instead of being the oarsman operating below deck you instantly become the captain above deck and the management information supplied acts as your instant to dashboard for key metrics associated with the your business.

If you’re serious about scaling a business then a carefully selected partners are key to achieving this aim.

The Utopia

The last few years has seen a growing trend of businesses opting to downsize and relinquish physical operations in exchange for an out of town head office that also houses the sales function with showroom feature where applicable. More often than not it is the warehouse that governs the location of the head office and without the warehouse the choice becomes a whole lot more attractive.

Amongst our many clients across the retail, wholesale and manufacturing sectors there are many examples of a head office and a third party warehouse working in tandem and to great effect.

As a value added logistics provider 3P Logistics work in partnership with Splashabout International a leading manufacturer and retailer of baby swimming products worldwide. Our client conducts its central functions from its head office in Grimsby and from our purpose built order fulfilment centre in Wigan we provide an extensive range of support services including freight management, warehouse storage, b2b trade order fulfilment, b2c ecommerce fulfilment and client services.

3P Logistics UK and China

From Wigan To Shanghai Via No 10

3P Logistics UK and China

It was an eventful week for the founder of 3P Logistics

Question – what has Lord Maude, David Cameron, Jack Ma (the second richest man in China) and a North West Logistics business all have in common?

Answer – they all have an insatiable passion for flying the flag for International Trade between the Great Britain & China.

In advance of the recent state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Ian Walker – MD of 3P Logistics joined a 40 strong British trade export delegation to Shanghai. The 5 day, 11,000 mile whirlwind trip culminated in an official reception at HSBC Shanghai offices in the presence of Lord Maude – Minister for Trade.

Whilst out in Shanghai, Walker received an unexpected invite to attend an evening reception with the PM at 10 Downing St to celebrate British Entrepreneurs and was only too happy to accept.

Jet lag aside the prestigious event was a roaring success capped off by a surprise meeting with Chinese business magnate and philanthropist Jack Ma.

With business cards exchanged it was now time to get down to some real business:

“An official invitation to accompany Mr. Walker to his beloved Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium!.”

Walker Adds:

“The Shanghai trip brought numerous introductions to some key players associated with facilitating cross border trade in China and the UKTI are doing a sterling job in helping to champion British business out there.

To be asked to join the China trade delegation was one thing but to be invited into number 10 to meet the PM was a proud moment for me personally but also a fitting tribute to the continued efforts of the 3PL team.

Meeting the founder of Alibaba was the icing on the cake for what was a truly memorable evening.

Whether he will take me up on the offer of a pie & a pint at the match? – well only time will tell……”

It Seems Like Yesterday

WOW! – How time flies?

Yes It`s been a whole year since we entered our shiny new order fulfilment depot in the North West – and my what a whirlwind of a year it’s been!
In the space of just 12 months, our 75,000 square foot warehouse and call centre facility carries over 30,000 unique product lines and over 3.5 million units and the extra space has certainly been put to good use.

3P Logistics Racking

In keeping with the growing demand for outsourced logistics services the depot has seen a wave of investment over the past 12 months which has enabled both existing clients to grow and for new business to join us. Since relocation, three additional phases of racking have been installed catering for over 3000 pallets of storage. In addition, a 3,000 sq ft mezzanine floor was installed and is now in full flow with phase 2 imminent. With an ever increasing demand for pick and pack services our packing stations appear to be breeding and at the last count some 15 workstations were in action.

3P Logistics Packing and Storage

Our 5,000 sq ft of head office space has also undergone some exciting changes, too. In addition to the 8 seat call centre, a web photography studio and staff shop is now housed within and adds real value for our clients.

If 2014 was great then 2015 promises to be a landmark year for everyone associated with 3P Logistics.
If you`ve ever considered outsourcing your warehousing and logistics to a third party then now could be the ideal time.

To find out how an association with 3PL can help support your business on the journey of “good to great”…

Chat to us: 01942 720 077
Email us: enquiries@3p-logistics.co.uk

Why Choose Outsourcing?

With Christmas firmly behind us, the New Year is a great time to re-evaluate your logistical set up in planning for another year of trading. Everything from freight imports, warehousing, end customer delivery and the quality of your logistics is an important factor in the success of your mission as an aspiring retailer.

It’s easy to identify that a smooth-running logistics operation will lead to a more successful business with lower operating costs, higher customer satisfaction and higher profitability. However it’s still very much the case that some business owners find it difficult to consider outsourcing as an option and to pass over such responsibilities to a third party.

3P Logistics In House Solution
Image source: Hostgator

In the first instance, the mind-set barrier of relinquishing control needs to be broken down. For many retailers, outsourcing delivers countless benefits which allow them to focus their efforts on other areas such as selling and merchandising, while leaving the logistics in the hands of a business dedicated solely to this function. The benefits gained by those who outsource enable them to grow quicker, and as a leaner business they are able move ahead of their competitors with greater flexibility, lower cost structures and higher customer satisfaction.

When a company outsources, its retail logistics can become more efficient through the ability to leverage processes, knowledge and expertise from a business whose sole focus is on the logistics process. You can hold your logistics partner completely accountable for the full process from transportation, deliveries, warehousing, installations and aftermarket support, taking off further strain of any pointing fingers – After all, it’s much easier to replace an outsourced vendor who isn’t holding up its standards than it is to replace and entire internal department. Your logistics partner can also respond quickly to daily, weekly and monthly volume demands making for quicker response times to stock fluctuations.

Outsourcing is a great way to take pressure from a business and leave it in the hands of people who are dedicated to the process needed to relieve that pressure, leaving you to focus on the core elements of your business and on its growth and success.

Banish The Post-Christmas Blues!

With the Christmas period now firmly behind us, our waistlines can begin to recover from the over indulging of the holiday season – but can the same be said for your business?

The festive season is known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, but spare a thought for the thousands of retailers beavering away behind the scenes to help bring Christmas joy to millions of families up and down the land.
Were you one of the countless online sellers struggling to meet demands and dreading this period due to the added stress and pressure?

If so, this simply does not have to be case.

3P Logistics
Image courtesy: thechickenshavehadenough.blogspot.co.uk/

I have no other choice – DO I?

Make the smartest New Year’s resolution yet by outsourcing your order handling to a third party Order Fulfilment Company and help to reduce the strain. By choosing to outsource to a 3PL, your business will not only benefit from increased scale but you will also manufacture the time to focus on other aspects of the business. The time spent storing and keeping track of stock, packing and posting etc., often detracts away from the critical focal points of sourcing and selling. Outsourcing to an order fulfilment company can often prove to be a cost-effective solution and help give your business the edge in a very competitive world.

How does it work?

-You send your stock to be securely stored and visible on system
-Customers place orders
-Orders are then extracted from your site/marketplace
-Orders are picked and packed to specification
-Timely delivery of orders on the selected service and system confirmation

What are the benefits?

Outsourcing is a great way to free up time, space and to save money. By choosing to outsource to an Order Fulfilment Company, orders are progressed from the point of inquiry right up to point of delivery including after-sales support. With orders being taken care of elsewhere, you can focus on the core elements of your business and on fueling business growth rather than simply “getting through” a working day. Outsourcing order fulfilment can result in lower operational costs which frees up money to be spent more effectively on other elements of your business, and let`s not forget the impact to work/life balance.
The ever-increasing demand for outsourced logistics shows just how beneficial a warehouse and logistics partner can be to your business.

Make outsourcing top of your New Year’s resolution list today and start enjoying the benefits tomorrow.

4 Ways To Deal With Slow Moving Stock

Dead Stock

Your worst nightmare is happening to you. You thought that item was brilliant and you have spent quite a lump sum of money stocking up on it. But no, no one is buying them – no one likes them. You are having a cash flow problem and you are panicking. I bet you are thinking of lowering the selling price of the product – at least I can get some money back from it! Hold your horses, retailers – there may be another way out for you…

First of all, do some analysis and try to understand why they are not selling. Is it because:

1. …it is not well presented?

Revisit your product description and your product pictures and see if you can improve them. You should also ask for other people’s opinion – sometimes they can make you see things from a different angle. Is your description too vague? Are the pictures doing the product justice? Compare this product to your best selling one, or your competitors’ one, and see if you can make any improvements.

2. …no one knows about your product?

Look into your analytics and see if people can actually find the products or not (check your page impression out – if it’s very low it means that people cannot see your products). If this is the case, work on its SEO by using better keywords and building more internal and external links.

You can also promote the product by many other methods such as featuring it on your homepage, sending out e-shots, or doing a shout out on various social media platforms. For something more creative, consider making a short video, or write a blog article about it. For instance, Pinterest is a good platform to showcase your products photos, and Vine allows you to demonstrate your product in a short but sweet 6 second video.

3. …it is too expensive?

Before you drop the prices, consider pairing up your slow moving stock with your strong sellers. For example, you can put up an offer like ‘buy this and get that for 50% off’, or ‘buy this get that free’. This can boost sales and encourage customers to spend more in each transaction.

If you have gone through all these methods and your stock is still not going, then perhaps it’s time for you to drop the selling price. You can take reference of your competitors’ pricing and work out how low you think you should price your own product. Don’t forget to promote the price drop by doing some marketing work!

4. Are they still not selling?

If dropping the price does not help, you can seek help from third party sellers. Although you would not gain as much profit as you wish, you could at least keep your cash flow moving. Some good examples would be Groupon, Wowcher, or our very own clearance store here and on Amazon.