As EstafetaUSA continues to offer customers warehousing services, our experts wanted to provide you and your team some education about Warehousing 101! As the leaders in providing full warehouse management for you and your company as they ship to Mexico, we’re devoted to educating our customers on the best ways to warehouse and keep your profits rising. EstafetaUSA has been offering everything from everyday management, to pick and pack forwarding, to simply helping your warehouse team navigate customers, with an eye on making sure your packages navigate safely and securely through Mexico. Our dedicated warehousing team, perfect for companies both big and small who have a continual need to serve customers in Mexico, have a big recommendation for these companies; know how to inventory!
Companies, big and small, have to quickly learn about inventory and what it means to them and their timeline (and bottom line.) We are happy to share our logistics knowledge to help businesses across the world streamline their shipping methods, no matter their level of experience with shipping. We know that inventory is one of the most crucial aspects of successful logistics and want to help professionals of all levels improve their operations with it. Using these five methods, your business can maintain a consistent inventory without going out of your way or budget.
Set par levels
In most things, your aim is to be consistently below par. In shipping, “par” refers to the amount of inventory on hand (typically an amount designated by the purchasing department) at all times, and it’s an important level to be consistently at or above. By remaining at levels close to par, you are able to satisfy all customers and escalate sales without losing money on storage space for extra goods or risking spoilage of goods. It is also important to note that your par level may change as your business grows or trends emerge, while it may be a fluid metric at times it is important to have recorded for efficiency.
It’s one of the rules of business and life; finish the task at hand before starting something new. By utilizing a First-in-First-out method, you can reduce potential spoilage and avoid packaging damage as much as possible. While the ideal situation is to always sell your exact inventory amount, this is rarely a perfect science which means that sometimes items have to wait on the shelf until the next round of shipments. You need to minimize loss caused by those scenarios and maximize profit. The answer is as simple as selling oldest stock first and rotating product. Whether this is done manually or communicated to your warehouse staff, this crucial concept could save you significant amounts of spoiled or worn goods later on.
If you’re managing your own inventory, regular auditing it key in monitoring your product. By setting aside time to do a full inventory, you are able to update your product amounts and evaluate if your current tracking method is effective. If you find that your original numbers were far off, it may be time to consider inventory management methods that are automated to avoid human error. By allowing time for regular stock audits your business is forced to evaluate its methods and ensure that they are functioning as planned. Additionally, it can provide a written record of seasonal trends that can be used for training and forecasting of inventory. Audits aren’t a continual system but rather regular check-ups, they take time and man-power meaning it isn’t sustainable to do daily.
Perpetual Inventory System
In between regular auditing, it is important to have a perpetual inventory or real-time system that allows you to have constant updates on stock levels. This means keeping track of what is going out of stock and what is being reordered at all times, it can be an automated system or kept track of manually with very careful attention to detail. It is from this data that you are able to determine how close you are to your par levels, and how much of each product needs to be ordered to maintain balance. A system that can run continually is ideal as it allows you to manage details that are more variable while also providing the information needed for operations. Likely, your warehousing partner has systems in place to manage this for you and provide you the metrics needed but you may need to request it otherwise.
By keeping meticulous data throughout the year, you are able to forecast future trends and prepare for them. While it’s natural to know what your busy seasons are, by getting in-depth with these results as well as cross-checking them with events, trade shows, or marketing initiatives that your company ran, it could mean data was left on the table that needs to be accounted for. By isolating this data and putting it to use, you can increase company efficiency and reduce cost without it having been replicated yet. For more common events, such as gifting holidays, you may be aware that you need triple the amount of normal inventory but it is important to write down exactly what amount to increase and when so it can be duplicated, as well as to detail which products.
Inventory and warehousing can be looming terms that are often feared and not fully understood. EstafetaUSA is proud to help businesses across the nation by managing and regulating their logistics needs. If you aren’t to that point yet, these methods will make a significant difference in your overhead costs and operations but we are always here to help.
Are you ready to save 30%-40% on your logistics costs with our experts? Contact us today.
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Logistics are no small obstacle, and oftentimes we meet customers who have tried to manage the shipping-related complexities on their own, only to get lost in the language and specificities. In an effort to deal with some of the complexities of shipping, we wanted to share some helpful shipping terminology that should help you and your company when it comes to the logistics of getting across the border.
Not all shipping is created equal, or rather, not all shipping needs are equal. Some businesses need to ship 200 packages a day across the country, and others need to ship five packages a week- each highly fragile and expensive. While many company structures are similar their shipping needs vary by factors such as location, shipping volume, product size, and more.
We will walk you through three common forms of shipping, for more specific information pertaining to your business submit your information here and we’ll be in contact shortly.
Ground shipping is the dedicated shipment, via freight truck, to your desired location. For businesses, this dictates a sizable, consistent shipping load that is picked up from one of your company’s locations, including a company loading dock, from office, or warehouse. It allows shipments to be robust and high volume while still maintaining a low operating cost and providing personal service from an experienced EstafetaUSA driver and shipping expert. By using ground shipping for your large shipments, you are able to transport goods between country borders without the cost of air travel, and still move materials that are of a larger size or volume. While making paperwork at any of our customs bonded warehouses a breeze and allowing 24/7 tracking information on your products. Additionally, ground shipping offers a wider array of services such as cold chain shipping (refrigerated trucks) and express courier options that put a rush on your orders.
LTL shipping, or Less Than Truckload, is a good fit for businesses that don’t have a shipping volume large enough to warrant a more robust logistics method. It allows you to have regular shipments, a personal representative to work with, and a low cost per shipment while still utilizing ground shipping techniques. LTL shipping is a form of ground shipping that allows for a shipment volume that would normally be too small to warrant a on-location pickup. We see a lot of LTL clients starting their business with these services, and gradually growing their service level from there to warehousing, air freight, and more. Companies with limited frequency or volume in shipments will find this service may fit them best, while companies with a larger volume or higher frequency may find themselves leading towards the larger scope of services that ground shipping offers.
Air Freight shares many of the factors that other methods offer however it is unmatched in speed and can handle a large volume shipment at any time. Shipping via plane rather than freight truck for most companies is the only way they’ll ship, meaning this higher-cost method is their only way to get your package across the border. If your shipments are palletized, extensive, and need to arrive quickly, air freight is likely your best option. With one of the largest air cargo fleets available in Mexico, we can distribute from US or Mexican warehouses and move your product in style. These options allow us to move large volumes of product in the most efficient method possible and ensure prompt delivery and handling. While air freight may not be for everyone due to the large volume required, if your company is moving more than trucks can handle or needs it there faster than a freight truck can manage we are here to help.
After you have your shipping methods in line, it comes time to decide where your products will be shipping from. Most companies start out with a basic knowledge; they can either drop off packages at a location, or request a pick-up. That’s the start of it. Then come the decisions as to how many companies you will employ to manage each step of the process (order processing, fulfillment, delivery, tracking) and where you will base your warehouse. Before those decisions are made, let’s clarify a few terms that are commonly used for warehousing that may help you decide the scope of work you will need from your logistics provider.
Fulfillment services refers to the process that occurs between the time a customer orders and receives their products. This can range from a practice involving one provider to a team of companies. It includes anything from kitting to assembly and shipment as well as everything in between. Most commonly the fulfillment process begins with a customer placing an online order and a third-party service processes the order and selects the necessary items then packages them appropriately. Next comes the package tracking methods and how quickly it will arrive at their door. While many middle steps can occur (assembly, kitting, warehouse inventory, etc) this process simply means how you get your products to their new owners.
Pick & Pack
Pick and pack is the process of having inventory on hand and using it to fulfill customer orders. Warehouses are laid out specifically so that each product can be pulled as ordered and packaged specifically for that customer. For example, if cosmetics are being shipped and a customer orders 3 lipsticks and 6 blushes, the cosmetics company itself doesn’t need to manage the order, rather EstafetaUSA gathers those items from our warehouse storage and delivers it directly to the customer. This means the only responsibility left to the seller is to provide inventory to the warehouse as needed.
Much like Pick & Pack, kitting refers to the gathering of materials to be used for fulfillment. However, kitting differs by eliminating the custom option of orders. By packing boxes with the same combination of goods, a ‘kit’ can be created and prepared for the next customer who places that order. For example, the same cosmetics company sells a package of various lipsticks, blushes, and cosmetics. Those can be prepackaged to enable faster shipping once the order is placed.
Many products have more than one stage of assembly for production. The sub-assembly process entails the logistics provider using the raw parts in order to compose the first stage of assembly and then shipping off for final assembly. For example, a chair may have the frame assembled in our warehouse and then be shipped to an upholstery specialist for finishing. This step often makes the final assembly process significantly easier, and cuts down shipping costs because the products can still be packaged as a smaller size.
While dedicated warehousing refers to a facility that your company owns and runs, shared warehousing is held by a third party and can be shared among multiple companies. This allows labor costs to be averaged for all customers using the facility and drastically lowers the entry cost for equipment and supplies. EstafetaUSA offers custom bonded warehouses at entry points across the border, meaning costs are lower for companies taking part in them and customs is a part of the everyday process, meaning fewer hiccups.
Rely on Estafeta to transform your business logistics in Mexico into a competitive advantage.
Most companies will tell you that they provide more services for less money, but not all can back it up. As Mexico’s largest shipping company, we’re trusted by thousands of individuals and businesses to get their packages from door to door, with ease and efficiency. With the right amount of shipping for your business, we may be able to save your company from 30%-40% off what you are paying for comparable services when you ship outside of the country. Shipping, especially for your business, means not only reining in expenses wherever possible, but reining in expenses while also prioritizing your delivery experience.
Shipping for your business doesn’t look the same for everyone. If your business specializes in shipping products with a declared value of under $50, we may be able to help you complete paperwork to exempt you from paying most taxes (or VAT) when shipping to Mexico. It means that inexpensive products or materials, whether it’s an eCommerce offering products such as clothing and blankets, or an assortment of smaller goods and supplies to your offices across the border, can be shipped at a lower cost for less stress. We also ensure that you work with an Estafeta USA shipping expert, who can talk you through which fees and duties you will need to pay (and which you can avoid entirely) to make sure there’s always someone in your corner helping you save. Shipping more expensive items? You can learn more about the complete breakdown of per-shipment pricing, taxes, and more here.
While many international shipping companies require your products to be loaded onto a plane and flown into Mexico, we are the only company that also offers ground shipping across the border. That means your shipments, whether they are less than a load or a few freights worth, can be shipped in a few different ways to accommodate the shipping strategy that works best for your business. We even assign a personal shipping expert to you in order to make sure all the proper paperwork is done beforehand. We won’t leave you wondering what step comes next.
With more cities serviced across Mexico than anyone else, our connections make a difference. Our over 100 point of sales in Mexico mean that not only can we get your package closer to your customer, we can do it for less too. With thousands of customers across the nation, your packages are rarely alone on the freight, cutting cost for your business and accelerating delivery time. We use our size to our advantage, and yours too.
Part of shipping smarter is leveraging costs you don’t have to make into shipping options that will protect you in the future, and Estafeta USA’s insurance options provide peace of mind today and a lower overall cost on shipping. We offer attractive damage/loss insurance options that can save you money and stress, call our shipping experts to learn more about insurance options for your shipments. By streamlining that process and dealing with a single company instead of multiple not only are your packages safer, and your bill lower overall, it also requires less time on your end. We make tracking easy and insurance options reasonable while also providing you peace of mind.
Consolidation can be much more than convenient, it can be cost effective. If you’re warehousing with one company and shipping with another your bills are higher and your billing cycles more stressful. We offer consolidation services so that you can do much more than just ship with us at one low rate. We can store your goods, take care of kitting and tracking needs, and ship them straight from our warehouses (making delivery lightening fast).
Whether your business ships thousands of packages or is just starting out, it’s important to set up your services in the right place. While you could have one company assemble, another ship, and another continually fulfill those orders, finding a product partner that offers either the entirety of the services you are searching for, or even a portion of them, to limit touch points for daily for your business can have a significant impact. Whether your company ships 10 packages or warehouses 10,000, we have the services to help. We can manage as many or as few services as are needed to streamline your business and save you money.
For most larger businesses focused on buying, selling, or the need to transport, consolidation means storing your products in our warehouse and then shipping them from here. This makes a very large undertaking seem a bit smaller and cuts cost drastically by streamlining the process. You no longer have to communicate with 6 companies for an order but can simply hand it over to us.
For eCommerce retailers, brick and mortars, or other small buy-and-sell services, it means everything from pick & pack to sub-assembly, order fulfillment, and outbound administration. It also means as you grow, so do we. You may start with simple shipping needs and then as your office fills with boxes you realize it’s time to warehouse and we’re ready for that. We can build, store, ship, and care for your products in anyway you need.
Consolidation can be a bit of a broad term, but it is also a broad service. The breadth of service really depends upon your needs and customers, we adjust to fit what your company is most in need of and what is most efficient for you. So as you think about warehousing, shipments, tracking, assembly and more think of it all occurring under one roof to streamline communications, efficiency, and so much more. While streamlining can seem scary, it certainly has its merits.
More time for you
When your schedule no longer consists of contacting different companies and serving as the liaison for all issues, it becomes significantly more open. One call to our shipping agents, and questions and concerns regarding everything from tracking to assembly can be answered. If a change does arise, we can simply communicate within our lines instead of having to create a conference call of 6 businesses simply to inform them that a new screw will be used and the weight adjusted by 3 grams. Our streamlined process prevents us from being caught in semantics and enables us to focus on the larger tasks at hand.
When reporting season comes around, or you just want a quick update, our back office tracking systems enable you to get an update on all services within minutes. No more crazy charts detailing one small item, just log in to our portal and view updates, statuses, and tracking for every step of the process. Our user portal is simple and informative so that within a few minutes you have your answers and are ready to report back. Because when it’s all on one screen you can easily find your answers and move on with life.
Our bilingual staff are shipping experts who can answer every question you think up and make complex processes seem simple. We won’t send you to an FAQ document or a forum for help, our agents answer the phone every time and are happy to email you for any questions you may have. We won’t leave you in the dark about any process and won’t take days to respond, that’s just what we do. And if you’re not the phone type, we offer live chathat through our website 6 days a week which means the same real person answers your questions but without any background noise. Because when you’re trusting us with your companies products we understand how important that is and always want to keep you informed.
We know the fastest way to get your customers what they want is to have it all in one place and we have the perfect place to start. Telling your customers it could be 4 weeks before their product arrives rarely goes over well. We can cut that delivery time in half, with an average shipping time of 6-10 days from your business to theirs, that time is drastically shortened when it starts in our warehouses. We will store the supplies, assemble, fulfill, and ship orders for you at the click of a button. Not only do they get to your customers faster, you don’t have to worry about deadlines either.
As you grow, so do we.
Business is constantly changing, and a company that’s rigid simply can’t change with it. Our flexible services mean that no matter what the sales landscape- we are ready. We can match the level of service you need and expand whenever you do, so whether your company needs simple warehousing and shipping to full pick & pack and fulfillment services we can adjust. If you decide to grow from selling packaged snacks to selling frozen goods as well, you don’t have to switch companies and split costs. Our diverse services portfolio means we can manage everything from critical spare parts services to fulfillment to order tracking. And if your company is already grown, we are ready to take on the task with more than 200 locations across Mexico and warehouses along the border we are prepared for any workload.
One less bill to pay
By focusing your services through Estafeta USA, you are able to pay one bill a month for all services rather than 20. We keep billing simple and straightforward so the one bill you do cover can be painless. Simplifying your monthly expenses is nothing to scoff at, especially if we can lower the overall cost and effort to pay. With every package we save you money and when that’s all added up it can leave a significant amount of extra money in your businesses pocket (30-40% to be exact).
So when you’re ready to consolidate your businesses shipping and fulfillment needs into one place our agents are ready to help. We know every step in warehousing and are ready to share our knowledge with you.
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eCommerce comes with many obstacles. Through our years of shipping we have worked with many eCommerce gurus, and were happy to share their knowledge. Who would’ve thought that you’re Etsy shop would one day need a human resources department?
Make your site search ready
The first step is to make sure that customers can use every inch of your beautiful site. In order to do that you need a search tool that does much more than simply match keywords. Enabling a more advanced search can not only usher customers to products they’ll love but also provide you more data on what they are looking for. These tools are often self-learning, and come with auto-correct features which means you don’t have to self program each possible mistyped word anymore. The more easily your customers can reach their end goal, the more likely they are to return. Tools such as Unbxd or SearchSpring can help you utilize your already present content and make it as user friendly as possible.
Keep an eye on the exit
Once your site is searchable, you will need to begin identifying when and why people leave it. Tools can help you track customer activity on your page and identify where they are located directly before leaving your site. Once you have this information you can improve the page they usually exit from or install a tool that will navigate them elsewhere quickly. Knowledge is power in eCommerce, and this type of knowledge can’t be faked. The longer customers linger on your site the greater stickiness rate search engines detect, this means higher search ranking all around. Tools such as CrazyEgg, OptiMonk, and ExitBee all allow you to trace when most people exit your site and help to determine why.
Monitor the competition
Kick the fear the your competition is beating you, and save time with systems that track competitor prices and actions for you. If the information is always waiting, there is not room for wondering. By keeping an eye on competitor rates you cannot only adjust lower as needed but raise your price when the average goes up. Being the lowest price around has never been easier, and it can kick your obsessive habit of checking their site (you’re only helping their analytics and hurting your schedule). Some of our favorite platforms include PriSync and Price2Spy, both track multiple competitors and report results.
Maximize Customer Happiness
While price is important to monitor, it’s not everything. Customer service, quality products, and creating an enjoyable experience are equally as important and valued. Consistently monitoring and providing open communication channels to customers will allow for the service, quality, and attentiveness to shine through.You can’t allow customer satisfaction to drop, and also can’t afford the time to email back each concern or question. If your response times have been dropping and it’s time to regain the positive feedback, time to answer their questions in real time. While the concept can seem overwhelming, the execution usually isn’t. Systems can deliver chat requests in multiple methods (email, text, phone, etc), which means that your excuses for delaying are quickly dwindling. Services such as Zopim and Tawk can get you started and you can develop your best customer service method as time goes on. Being available to your customers doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Share their good news
When you perfect the customer service experience, it’s time to start collecting and displaying positive reviews highlighting your customers boasting about how great you are. Positive reviews serve to both instill confidence with customers, and boost your search rankings by providing back links and mentions. The more your name is quoted (naturally) the more likely you are to match to a keyword for your product. But how do you go about that? Tools like Yotpo or testimonial robot allow you to collect and display reviews on your webpage or you can monitor your outside reviews from platforms such as ReviewPush. Whichever route you pick, be sure to bask in the glow of customer satisfaction for a bit.
Cover the basics
As you grow your eCommerce business it is important to cover the little things. Don’t let things like establishing a good human resources system and accounting matters fall through the cracks. By establishing good practices when you are still small it can simplify the process drastically as you scale. Not to mention, it requires you spending less time in a ‘Taxes for Dummies’ book and more doing what you love. If you aren’t yet ready to hire staff to manage those aspects you can use services such as KinHR that can cover yours HR bases and accounting resources like InDinero. While these services won’t work forever nor include all needs, they will help to power your business forward in growth with a safety net of processes and systems.
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