Monthly Archives

October 2015

General

Specialty Shipping Series: Fitness & Supplement Products

Specialty Shipping

Today marks the first article in a series we are calling “The Specialty Shipping Series.” The point of this series is to highlight various products that are both lucrative to be a part of and also require special shipping and storage needs.

Being in the warehousing and shipping industry, we’ve stored and shipped just about anything you can think of. One of the most lucrative markets out there for any warehouse and/or shipping company is the fitness and supplement markets. These types of products are not only worth a lot of money to you as a warehouse/shipping depot, but it’s also a lucrative market because nutritional supplements are a product that people reorder often, meaning the demand stays high and there is business year round.

In terms of your role as a warehouse/shipping depot, you are to provide the best storage facilities that you can and also ship their products so that they arrive on time and in prime condition. This is something that isn’t as easy as it sounds at times when it comes to shipping supplements. Here are some things that you need to keep in mind when shipping both types of products.

Nutritional Supplements

The main thing to remember when it comes to storing nutritional supplements is that they need to be in an air controlled environment and stay dry at all times. This requires the product be stored or stocked higher than some products in case of an occurrence of a spill or flooding. Some manufacturers require certain specific needs that must be meet before they will even speak to you about storing their product. One of our customers makes a highly rated testosterone booster that requires us to not only keep it in a high place at our facility, but we also have to store it in airtight containers to ensure moisture stays out and the product stays good longer.

It’s also important to store the products where the older ones goes out first. This is necessary so that products don’t go bad simply because they weren’t shipped out when they should have been. This may seem like a lot of work to just handle one customer, but these customers have a potential to bring in a lot of money and recurring business, so it’s well worth it.

Fitness Products

We have many customers who make and sell fitness products like knee sleeves and ankle braces. One of our bigger customer’s claim to fame is that they make the best powerlifting wrist wraps in their industry. While these products don’t require as much specialty storage and shipping as nutritional supplements do, you still want to ensure that their product stays completely dry and the products are kept off the ground as well. This is because most of these products are made of cloth or cloth-like material. In the rare occurrence of a rodent infestation, you don’t want to report a loss on inventory because product was destroyed by rodents. That’s embarrassing for your company and a quick way to lose customers.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes when you are shipping nutritional supplements, they will also have to be shipped in a certain type of container. This is because of the chance of moisture effecting the product and ruining an entire batch if water begins to seep into them.

Hope you found these tips helpful. Stay tuned for more in our this series and good luck in your shipping endeavors.

Inventory

How To Control Inventory In 2015

Inventory Management

There is an old saying that goes,”You can’t manage what you can’t track.” That saying is never truer than in the world of managing a warehouse. All that space is no good to you or your potential customers if you can’t find anything when the time comes. There are many ideas on how to do this effectively, but what I’m going to talk about today is how to manage inventory the most efficient way and to do it in real time. No more finding out about missing items days or weeks after it’s lost. In today’s world of warehousing, you can find out about a missing item almost as soon as it’s been reported missing. Basically, technology is great and allows for us to be more accurate than ever before.

Tablets

The best thing that has happened in inventory management in the past 10 years is the invention of the tablet. In terms of managing inventory, it allows employees to have on them at all times a device where they can lookup, report, and find information they need as they need it. No longer is there a need to write something down, track down a computer station, and do whatever is needed to be done at that time. Everything can be pretty much instantaneous. When you are trying to manage inventory and keep things as tight as possible, a tablet is your best friend. We’ve had really good luck with the actual iPad itself, but there are new tablets coming out all the time that could work for whatever your needs may be.

Accountability

Still, with all the technological advances we have in shipping and inventory management, the key to strong inventory management is having employees that are accountable. If your employees who are in charge of inventory aren’t held accountable when it comes to moving, finding, and shipping the inventory, then you will continue to have inventory problems. This doesn’t mean that employees are fired for misplacing an item, but it means is that nothing is touched in the warehouse without some sort of notation in your system that is made. Inventory will never be 100% accurate, but that doesn’t mean you don’t strive for that and hold employees accountable when mistakes are made.

Be Proactive

The best practice that can be made into a habit when running a great warehouse is to be proactive in terms of your inventory. One thing we implemented years ago was when an item wasn’t picked for a period of time (whatever works for your inventory), then it makes a list and made sure it is still in the place it’s supposed to be. This goes a long ways in reducing lost inventory. When we started doing this, we reduced our error rate by about 20% because we would figure out something was missing and figure out the issue before we were up against a shipping deadline.

These are just a few things that you can do to take better control of your inventory than you were able to even 5 years ago. Technology is only going to help inventory management even more as time goes on, so just keep your ear to the ground and keep evolving.

General

What Can Affect International Shipping Times

internationalshipping

When it comes to shipping all over the world there is no getting around having to ship many things via boat. It’s not the most efficient method of shipping as it is prone to more delays and things that can happen out of your control compared to shipping via air. Given that there is no getting around it there are some important things you should be able to tell your customers about their shipments. This is a handy guide that we have used for years that helps us determine shipping times depending on the season and let’s us be able to communicate shipping times more effectively to our customers

TIDAL INFORMATION

The dominant tide in the Mumbai Harbour is the semi-diurnal tide with a period of 12 hours and 40 minutes. The following are the particulars of tidal levels related to Chart Datum.

Tide Above(+) or Below(-) Chart Datum
Highest High Water recorded + 5.39 m
Mean High Water Spring Tides. + 4.42 m
Mean High Water Neap Tides. + 3.30 m
Mean Sea Level. + 2.51 m
Mean Low Water Neap Tides. + 1.86 m
Mean Low Water Spring Tides. + 0.76 m
Lowest Low Water recorded. – 0.46 m
Highest Low Water + 2.74 m

Statistical studies made indicate that :-

  1. All high tides exceed + 2.70 m.
    2. About 5% of all high tides would be less than + 3.20 m.

 

WIND

General direction of wind is from the North to the West quarter, with seasonal variations as shown below :-

SEASONAL WIND VARIATIONS

Months Directions Speeds
1. Feb-May Mainly from N.W. (Max. 8 to 10 Beaufort
Substantial 4-6 Beaufort)
2. June-Sep Mainly from W.N.W. (Max. 8 to 10 Beaufort
Substantial 6-8 Beaufort)
3. Oct-Jan Mainly from N.N.W. (Max. 6 to 8 Beaufort
Substantial 2-6 Beaufort)

CYCLONES

These may occur in the period of May/June or October/November. The last severe cyclone off the coast of Mumbai was experienced in June 1996. Prior to this the earlier cyclone occurred in 1992.

CURRENTS

The currents in the harbor are essentially caused by the tides and are not influenced to any extent by monsoons etc. The tidal flow is unsteady and the magnitude and direction of the current varies with respect to location, time and depth.

WAVES

The predominant waves are the swell waves generated by deep sea storms. These mainly arise just before and during the South West monsoon. The statistical analysis indicates that most wave periods fall between 6 seconds and 10 seconds.
During the continuance of the North-East monsoon, North-Easterly winds known as “Elephantas” blow for short durations during the months of October-November. As the fetch and duration of these winds are limited, the “Significant height” of the resulting waves is not likely to exceed 1 meter with period ranging from 3 to 5 seconds.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY & TEMPERATURE

Relative humidity ranges from 61% to 87% being the highest in the monsoon period. During the winter months (Nov-Jan) relative humidity ranges from 61% to 72%. Mean daily temperature ranges from 24 Degrees C to 33 Degrees C except during the winter period when the minimum temperature may fall to about 19 Degrees. The hotter months are March, April, May and June.

VISIBILITY

In general, on the West Coast, above latitude 16o N mist sometimes develops during sunrise but disperses thereafter.
At Mumbai from November to March smog hangs over the land, obscuring everything in view. This happens only for short periods most often shortly after sunrise but also occasionally in the evenings. Visibility is generally good for most part of the year.

RAINFALL

The climate of the region has a regular seasonal variation determined by the occurrence of two annual monsoons. The South-West monsoon period extends from June to September. Most of the annual rainfall occurs during the South-West monsoon, the average monthly rainfall being about 45 cm.Rain during the North-East monsoon is slight. The average annual rainfall over 20 years is 193 cm.

 

Trends

How The Internet Has Changed Shipping Worldwide

internet-shopping

There is no denying that the internet has greatly changed how people send and receive mail and packages. If you think back to thirty years ago, anything you chose to send out or have delivered, would have to be done in person, at the post office. It could be especially inconvenient for those needing to mail large and heavy packages. Luckily, the internet was invented and shipping was never the same. Many positive changes have come out of using the internet for this purpose. Let’s examine those that have influenced us the most.

Shopping Made Easy

Online shopping is a booming industry that is growing at a rapid rate, and for good reason! Consumers have figured out that it is so much easier to point and click than to face the crowds at busy malls and shopping centers. The reason it’s so much easier? Fast and (sometimes) free shipping! On a website like Amazon, you can choose the speed at which your packages are delivered, some as fast as next-day shipping. Delivery companies have had to adjust to the demand, especially during the Christmas season, to account for the amount of online shoppers. Smartphones have also increased the need for more parcel delivery services, as you can online shop from literally anywhere at any time, as long as you have your phone.

More Couriers

As stated above, the demand for faster delivery for online shoppers has increased the demand for more couriers. In the not-so-distant past, the only delivery service available was the post office. Now, there are hundreds of couriers to choose from, and a variety of services available. UPS has gradually gained more popularity as the post office has gone the opposite way.

Keeping Track of Packages

Thankfully, delivery companies listened to their customers and made it easier than ever to keep track of their packages they are sending or planning on receiving. With the more popular companies, you can know exactly where you package it at all times, whether it’s in transit, sitting in a warehouse, or out for delivery. All you have to do is enter a tracking number into the company’s website and voila! You’ll know where it is!

Pay for Service Online

What is a nice perk to using the internet for shipping purposes is that you can pay for shipping charges and have your package picked up, all without leaving your house! Depending on what company you use, you may pay a small fee for pickup, but it is a major time saver by not having to physically go down to the store and lug those packages.

The internet has truly made shipping services better. They are more reliable, accessible, and sometimes, affordable. As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, delivery companies will only get better and more efficient. No longer will we go back to the time when you have only one choice to ship your packages (post office). Perhaps in a few years, the post office will be obsolete, as other delivery companies have started to improve at a faster rate. Only time will tell.