Why not being bound to air freight will save you money and time
So your company is going international, but how? Companies based in the United States, if not immediately, respond to an international market requesting their product, tend to start within the continent, and serving other North American countries, especially Mexico. They face the option of how they will transport their goods to the country, and what they want their distribution to look like. This situation becomes even more unique when shipping from the USA to Mexico, as some carriers, like EstafetaUSA, can accommodate international shipments across the border via freight truck. Thus opening up a slew of possibilities and decisions to be made, EstafetaUSA offers international air and ground freight, making our team specifically equipped to serve businesses of all sizes and needs.
Without exception, it’s every company’s obligation to understand the cost and potential returns of going international. When considering shipping on a solely cost basis, ground shipping will likely win out for smaller shipments. This option saves money on gas, customs clearance, and staff needed. Additionally, the equipment is a lower starting cost and consists of lower maintenance. All of these savings get passed directly on to you and make a noticeable difference in your bottom line. Air freight focuses on providing savings in volume over time. If your products are sent in large amounts but not common intervals your savings will likely be best manifested by the use of one plane rather than multiple trucks.
The volume and frequency of shipping will contribute greatly to an appropriate price quote, but also to the overall method used. Ground shipping is best utilized for companies that are in need of Less-than-Truckload shipments or have items that will fit into a freight truck. If the product is being shipping in large palletized loads that will need to arrive quickly, air freight may be the most effective answer. Another variable is frequency of shipping, a one time load will arrive faster via air freight, while regular shipments will be more regulated via ground shipping due to fewer and shorter weather delays, equipment delays, and other outside factors.
If your bottom line budget is clear and both options are viable, then likely you’ve moved on to considering what requires the least input from your company with the maximum returns. Getting your products to the point of shipping is the first adjustment needed if you’ve been warehousing in-house previously and now may need to transport them first to a mid-way point to be collected by your logistics company. While air freight will require the products to be taken to the location of the plane, this can be worked around with the correct shipping partner to require minimal time and cost. Ground shipping offers the convenience of door-to-door service for both your business and it’s customers. This requires no additional waypoints for your products but can take longer for the full transport to take place.
Multi-level Marketing, or direct sales, has become much more than something your friend posted on Facebook. Multi-level marketing has increasingly proven to be a sustainable business model, one that more and more new businesses are turning to in an effort to engage their consumer audience. By utilizing brand advocates and encouraging representatives to spread their story, many MLM’s have sprouted, grown, and are ready to take root in new areas across the globe. But when is the right time for your MLM to cross the border? We spoke with our Direct Sales experts, and got the latest news and tips on when to transition out of ‘US Only’ status.
Making the Decision
If you’re a sales representative who is fluent in Spanish and obtains permission from your company to expand to Mexico, you’re ready to go international. Likely, something that drew you towards direct sales was the openness to be your own boss, and this is a chance to make a business decision that helps to define that. No official title is required to expand your sales base across the border, just drive and knowledge. As we commonly share, new markets hold returns, so it may be time for you to own your management position within the company and expand your sales base (and income level).
Know the Basics
You have the decision making power, but do you have the basics down for logistics and shipping across the border? The answer is simple, you don’t have to. Our sales experts know the ins and outs of customs clearance, export laws, and MLM needs. We work with companies of all kinds, and have the knowledge you need to cross the border to Mexico without hesitation. But if you’re a self starter (like most MLM reps) we also share Inventory 101, warehousing tips, and import tax knowledge with you on a regular basis, because knowing what it all means it step one of seeing the results. We know that you’re always learning and are here to help you along the way.
Choose the right partners
We are members of the Direct Sales Association, which means we know who you know, and get the latest news too. As a supplier in the DSA, Estafeta provides assistance to MLM companies regarding the importation, exportation, fulfillment, and delivery of goods and services everywhere in Mexico (if none of that made sense, check out our quick reference dictionary). It also means that we know the answers to problems you may not have faced yet, and we are always willing to share our lessons learned. Our relationship with DSA benefits so many, and not just when we visit the Direct Sales Association Trade Show every year. We have the experience, relationships, and knowledge to help your MLM find new customers, increase returns, and expand to Mexico.
Talk to one of our shipping experts and see how much it really cost to export to Mexico, we’re guessing it’s less than you think.
We can’t count how many times companies tell us that their shipping volume isn’t consistent enough to warrant a permanent solution for shipping or export to Mexico, but is that enough of a reason not to have one when you need to? Whether you’re receiving requests from customers to expand your delivery range, or looking for a new market to grow your business in, if customers are asking you to deliver to Mexico, it is almost definitely the answer. EstafetaUSA makes the process of catering to customers across the border easy for businesses, one of the many advantages of shipping to Mexico.
Untapped Markets hold Returns
When your business successfully reaches its goal in the US, it isn’t time to call it a win and turn in for the day. Expanding to new markets is the next step, but what comes before diving in? The predecessor to any great business success is research. Fully knowing who your audience is in the new market, where your business base is located within the market, and what niche you wish to pursue is key. While larger businesses may have more abundant resources to pull from for this research, even those with smaller resource pools can take the time to ensure they are fully prepared before entering a market. The most simplistic step of this research is to gather what customers you have requesting your services now. Whether that be on Twitter, in email, or across your website, leverage those conversations to encourage word-of-mouth among their community. By beginning with this audience, you are able to see where your current customer base is and begin conversations in nearby areas to feed that growth. Next comes research for where to go next. Target niche audiences that would likely be receiving of your products and explore what the next expansion of your audience base would look like. By putting in your research before launching in other markets (or deciding upon one to launch in) you are able to better predict the behaviors of those markets and minimize risk.
Strategically Selecting Markets For Expansion
After the primary research is done, your business can evaluate which markets are likely to be most receptive to your brand and where your expansion could be received best. Through the years, Mexico has emerged time and time again as a market worth entering for US companies. It is the second largest trading partner for the United States, provides a close geographic relationship, and has familiarity with the value of U.S. goods. By beginning your companies worldwide launch slowly and with one country to start you are able to limit risk and experiment with expansion before submersing your business in the challenge. While your company grows to encumber the cross-country workload you become more prepared for global launch and can work out any issues on a smaller scale first.
Proximity Makes Entry to International Markets Easier
If your business is just warming up to the idea of shipping its products outside of the U.S., the proximity of Mexico may make the transition a bit easier. While EstafetaUSA can ship your products worldwide, we specialize in the shipping across the U.S. border and are the best resource available for the transition. Shipping internationally, especially consistently, is a laborious undertaking for businesses and the possibility of ground shipping to Mexico makes a large task a bit more manageable. By opening up shipping services to certain countries, especially ones that are most effective to ship to, and measuring results, you can gradually grow your customer base. This allows you the comforts of doing business close to home such as your customers low business travel costs, and market familiarity while also gaining international business experience, and preparing your business for the next step in growth.
International expansion isn’t an easy step for businesses and warrants many decisions and discussions. EstafetaUSA can guide many of those discussions and help your team prepare and execute all steps necessary for exporting to Mexico. The value in the Mexican market and customer base is not to be overlooked and we look forward to helping U.S. businesses bridge the gap between those markets.
Are you ready to save 30%-40% on your export costs and reach new markets? Contact our experts today.
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.
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.
Most companies can save between 30% and 40% and sometimes more. Contact one of our shipping experts today.