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Value-Added Services in Logistics and Warehousing

Value-added services in logistics allow businesses to provide more comprehensive benefits, which has become an essential tool in increasing customer satisfaction. Using these services is especially vital in operations based on customer trust. Supply chain and logistics are some of the most competitive sectors and adding value can give your organization an edge.

What is a Value-Added Service (VAS)?

The term value-added services refer to the additional distribution and warehousing services offered by third-party logistics providers to business looking to outsource their supply chain operations.

Whenever logistics providers add value the right way, it affects the level of customer satisfaction, while indirectly increasing their bottom line. Service providers know the ins and outs of the business and they can assist companies in responding to customers’ needs. Companies partnering with value-added logistics providers can focus on their core business and work on being more competent in the market. Value-adding is not a one-time task — it requires continuous maintenance and 3PLs are working toward providing value-added services in conjunction with their more traditional offerings.

Adding value to your packaging and transportation process can give your company an edge in the market and enable you to stand out from the competition. Service providers offer a range of contributions that add value to your brand, but how do they do that? And is it advantageous? Let’s look at some offerings and how they can benefit your organization.

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How Do Value-Added Services Help Improve the Supply Chain?

Forward-thinking companies use their supply chain to gain market share and get ahead of their competitors. Spending time and resources to keep this supply chain smooth has become a notable trend in the logistics industry. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs work toward maintaining supply chain excellence, and it has become a widely accepted business strategy in today’s market. Value-added logistics services are not only for customers but also for management. Consider these reasons behind the importance of common supply chain value-added services.

1. Increased Price Pressures and Competition

Previously, brand recognition and product features were more than enough to set companies apart but things have shifted. After commoditizing several products in the market, organizations need better methods to stand apart.

Brand equity and product innovation are no longer the only tools that can allow a business to set a higher selling price. Staying in the competition and emerging on top will require a redesign of supply chains and traditional methods.

Companies are using two methods to adapt to this trend. First, they assess cost-reduction strategies and create new techniques to build a more efficient value chain. These changes will allow them to retain a competitive edge. Second, companies are searching for strategies to provide value-added services that will enable them to meet savvy customers’ demands.

2. Outsourcing

As the market evolves, many companies are taking a step back to evaluate their core competency and some organizations realize that outsourcing part of the supply chain can be beneficial.

The marketplace continues to revolve around three pillars:

  1. Cost and quality of global manufacturing and distribution
  2. Information mediums and systems
  3. Product design capabilities

By outsourcing their supply chain and logistics operations, companies can breathe new life into their business. Still, without the correct systems, processes or organization management, the risk can rise to unmanageable levels. When their business model relies too heavily on outsourcing, companies must implement solutions to make up for off-site supply chain capabilities. The need for details becomes the foremost priority in an outsourced logistics environment.

Staying in the competition and emerging on top will require a redesign of supply chains and traditional methods.

3. More Complex and Shortened Product Lifecycles

Companies are under significant pressure to develop cutting-edge products and launch them to market quickly, without maximizing or compromising the integrity of their high-demand existing products. To meet this ever-growing need, companies require streamlined product lifecycle management processes, which emphasize new product launches, product discontinuation and design.

The primary benefit of product lifecycle management technology and processes is that it helps companies design products that can share components, operations or materials — reducing the risk of obsolescence write-offs, ensuring optimal use of all infrastructure investments and limiting increased costs when buying essential materials. In addition to all these benefits, it will also shorten the time to market. Companies can focus on product lifecycle management efforts in all these areas and buffer themselves against the risk of any unexpected cost increases, spontaneous obsolescence write-offs and underwhelming product launches. These practices will also enhance customer perception of your company and establish yourself as an innovative reformer.

Top benefits of using value added services

Top Benefits of Using Value-Added Services for Your Business

You can find several positive reasons to consider a 3PL provider for value-added logistics services. Here are a few notable benefits of value-added services that can readily translate to a competitive advantage for your business.

1. Flexibility

The most significant benefit of using a 3PL provider is flexibility. Partnering with them will allow you more flexibility in labor, space and equipment. They can offer all these components to enable you to meet your customers’ requirements more effectively. Some 3PL providers also offer extra physical space for a specific time as a value-added service, which could be a warehouse for storing rush inventory or a meeting space for discussing on-the-fly software updates. Labor resources are also available as part of value-added services. If any of your product campaigns require a more hands-on approach to attract your audience’s attention, a 3PL can quickly shift their staff to your project and keep your labor cost to a bare minimum.

2. Quality

A 3PL’s added-value services department is primarily a team of specifically trained staff who can assist you in executing specialized projects. With the assistance of a dedicated professional team working or overseeing any customization, you can focus on quality and work efficiency. The value-adding team provided by a trusted 3PL provider might collaborate with customers. They can outline the project, ensure accuracy and precision and take the necessary steps to complete the project on time.

3. Ease of Integration

Partnering with a 3PL provider’s value-added services enables the seller or company to work with one partner for all their logistics needs. A reliable 3PL can assist you in managing warehousing, transportation and all the value-added services you need. This help can make the process more seamless to integrate any updates or changes along the way. Keeping the product in a single fulfillment center can also minimize the cost of moving products and transportation.

Types of Value-Added Services That Improve Your Competitiveness

Types of Value-Added Supply Chain Services

In warehousing and distribution, value-added services go further than normal operations and can set you apart from your competition. Among these types of activities are cross-docking, transloading, palletizing, kitting, and return processing.

Here are some value-added service examples that decrease your costs and impact your business operations.

Cross-Docking

A cross-docking system allows companies to move products directly from the receiving dock to the shipping dock. This streamlined method saves space and eases manual handling in the distribution center. Cross-docking requires close synchronization of all outbound and inbound shipping movements and reduces the cost by decreasing stockpiling. Cross-docking also involves re-packing, inspection and labeling.

Transloading

The process of transloading requires more than one transport mode. Businesses primarily use this solution when one mode of transport, like land, air or sea, is insufficient to deliver the goods from the origin point to the destination. International shipments, which require multiple modes of transportation, are the best example of transloading. The international shipment process usually begins by air or sea, followed by a truck.

Transloading lets you arrange and sort the shipments before delivering them to the distribution center or warehouse. This streamlined process removes any expensive or unnecessary land transportation. All shipments get grouped upon arrival, eliminating the need for any distribution center.

Transloading also enables your business to save money by removing any less-than-truckload costs. In addition to benefiting the companies, the process is also speedier, thus bringing your customers more satisfaction. You can reach different areas with transloading by using various local and international shipment methods, increasing business possibilities and growth.

Palletizing

In palletizing, you place items or goods on pallets. Depending on the business and product, you may use manual, semi-automated or fully automated methods to put the shipments on pallets. Moving palletized products is more efficient, with a quicker delivery turnaround. With palletizing, you can move perishable goods faster and decrease the risk of spoilage. The palletizing process also reduces labor requirements.

With standard pallet sizes, you can optimize warehouse workflow and operations. Palletizing significantly reduces the risk of worker injury. Since the pallets are more durable than other shipping containers, they can allow you to carry more products at a single time.

Order Fulfillment Services

Order fulfillment services provide the highest customer satisfaction among all the value-added services, and it is one of the top value-added services in logistics. These services can simplify your supply chain and allow you to move your products faster. The order fulfillment services can help you delight your customers with a streamlined process and faster deliveries. This service includes in-house packaging with the latest technology tools. Order fulfillment services perfectly handle labeling and new product launches. When you employ a trusted partner’s help, you can increase your efficiency in handling operations and save a substantial amount of money on purchasing and maintaining expensive equipment.

Return Processing

Returns can cause financial and logistics problems, but they are an unavoidable part of doing business. Returns can require substantial effort and time and sometimes companies can get themselves in trouble trying to handle them. With value-added services, you can outsource your return processing. These service providers have dedicated warehouses and ample personnel to process and manage the returns as required. When a return arrives, workers scan it into the system to determine whether it’s possible to resell. Quick action can keep your business reputation intact and monitor the return patterns for insights.

Pick and Pack

Pick and pack is part of the order fulfillment process, but sometimes you need to pay some extra attention to ensure uniform packing and delivery of all products. A pick-and-pack service can streamline all your packages and deliver them before the expected date. Value-added service providers have the latest technology that assists them in finding the best route and double-checking the delivery address to reduce any chances of mistakes.

Kitting

The kitting process includes combining multiple products into a simple and easy-to-pick package. The process works in many ways, whether it’s banding two similar items or creating an integrated solution by pairing two commonly purchased products. This solution can significantly reduce transportation costs and delivery time. It can also slash your company’s combined costs.

What Are Customized Value-Added Service Solutions?

Value-added services can transform your supply chain, but it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Service providers must understand a supply chain’s business model and weak spots. With an effective solution, you can optimize your supply chain’s operations.

Besides solving logistical challenges, an expert service provider can also provide other long-term benefits. Customized value-added services can build delivery models that will improve inventory and transportation costs, enhancing your operations and saving time and money.

Value-added service solutions can work on distribution channels to address your company’s trucking capacity and assist you with time-sensitive deliveries. Service providers can offer consultations and innovative solutions to address your trade landscape and warehousing requirements.

A significant benefit of customizing value-added services is an improvement of the supply chain by finding discrepancies in the process and taking corrective measures to improve them, so you can focus on customer satisfaction by providing optimum services.

Crown LSP Group Can Be Your One-Stop Solution for Managing Your Supply Chain

Choose Crown LSP for Managing Your Supply Chain

When you go toe-to-toe with your competition, it’s essential to partner with service providers who take care of your fundamental requirements while offering insights on distribution best practices to help you stand out from the competition. Being able to offer value-added services has become the latest norm in the constantly evolving market. Partnering with a reliable logistics service provider is paramount in optimizing your supply chain and distribution channel. Your partner should understand your business’s unique needs and deliver on them to achieve quantifiable results.

At Crown LSP Group, we can assist you with our value-added offerings and establish your business in the market. Take a look at the wide range of solutions we provide and get in touch with us for a customized value-added solution.

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Winter Supply Chain and Logistics Guide for Businesses

Winter weather can be hard on the supply chain, from blizzards to freezing rain to brittle cold snaps. Cold weather can affect supply chains in many ways, including disruption in transportation routes, damaged cargo, and sudden power outages. Businesses can prevent costly delays and fulfill orders efficiently by planning ahead for the impact of winter weather on supply chains.

This guide to preparing supply chains for winter discusses the importance of planning ahead for winter and some of the top ways cold weather affects the supply chain. We’ll also provide tips on preparing your supply chain for winter weather and the benefits of partnering with a trusted third-party logistics provider for all your winter transportation and logistics needs.

Importance of Preparing Your Supply Chain for Winter

When entering the winter season, it’s important for businesses to prepare for the changes that come with cold weather and changes in consumer behavior. Preparing your supply chain for winter challenges ensures your business remains successful and can weather any storm ahead.

Here are some of the top reasons why it’s important to prepare your supply chain for winter:

  • Prevent increased overhead costs: As the season changes and temperatures drop, the ability to keep a steady supply chain is disrupted. These disruptions lead to companies needing to make additional expenditures to support their supply chain efforts, including additional labor. To minimize unexpected increases in overhead costs, companies must prepare for potential winter disruptions.
  • Keep goods secure: Preparing your supply chain for winter is critical to ensure you have enough warehousing space to store goods as needed. Disruptions in the supply chain can cause goods to become backed up at certain distribution points. Securing enough warehouse space can help protect your goods and keep them safe while transportation routes clear up.
  • Meet customer demands: Failing to prepare for winter supply chain challenges can lead to disruptions in customer service and maintaining customer relationships. To meet customer demands and expectations, prepare ahead of time for some of the potential challenges during the winter season.

Planning for winter supply chain challenges will reduce impacts on your bottom line and improve customer satisfaction.

Supply Chain Challenges During Winter

To prepare for supply chain challenges during the winter season, it’s critical to be aware of the most common issues impacting businesses this time of year. The major difference between the winter supply chain and supply chain practices the rest of the year is the cold weather that causes freight transportation and delivery delays.

In addition to weather, businesses face other unique challenges during the winter that can affect supply chain management. Knowing what to expect can help your business acquire the necessary resources and assistance for a successful winter supply chain.

Below are the top supply challenges during the winter.

Severe Weather

Severe Weather

The biggest threat to the supply chain during the winter is the risk of extreme weather. Though some regions face more extreme winter weather than others, cold temperatures, and snowy conditions affect businesses across the country when the supply chain is nationwide.

Some of the major impacts of winter weather on supply chains include:

  • Road closures due to snow and ice delay freight trucks
  • Extreme weather that grounds cargo planes
  • International delays in cargo flights, ground transport, or sea freight due to weather in other countries
  • Power outages that affect distribution centers and warehouses

All of the above winter weather hazards can result in delays, accidents, and safety risks that impact the supply chain.

Increased Holiday Demand

Another one of the challenges of the supply chain during the winter is the increased consumer demand that occurs ahead of the holidays and in the months afterward. There is a general nationwide increase in demand during the holidays and an increase in demand for certain types of products that require unique warehousing and transportation needs.

It’s crucial to know the type of demand your business can expect during the holiday season to plan for your increased supply chain needs. Using forecasting tools can help you predict holiday demand based on the records from previous years.

Longer Lead Times

The combination of severe winter weather and increased seasonal demand creates a ripple effect that impacts the rest of the supply chain. As a result, it’s important to anticipate winter’s impact on the supply chain timeline. Many businesses experience longer lead times during the winter, as it can take longer for trucks to turn over products to and from the warehouse and delivery points.

While it’s difficult to predict from year to year just how much winter weather and demand will impact the supply chain, you can mitigate the risk of these delays by setting the expectation of longer lead times.

Warehousing Shortages

When consumer demand increases in the lead-up to the holidays, it can create a shortage in warehouse space across the country. When companies fail to plan ahead for an increase in consumer demand, they often are left scrambling to find ways to warehouse goods strategically in anticipation of increased customer orders.

Additionally, when winter weather impacts major transport routes, warehouse turnover rates slow down, leading to a backlog of goods that would otherwise already be out for delivery. This creates a bottleneck in the supply chain that further impacts lead times and drives up supply chain costs.

Increased Transportation Costs

When winter weather impacts the supply chain, the net result is an increase in operational costs, particularly in the cost of trucking or transportation. When demand starts to exceed supply, this naturally results in an increase in the cost of all goods related to the supply chain. From fuel to labor to shipping containers, supply chain cost increases affect all areas of logistics.

Because the increased costs associated with a lagging supply chain get passed on to the customer, it’s important to prepare financially for the effects of the winter supply chain.

Tips for preparing your supply chain for winter

Tips for Preparing Your Supply Chain for Winter

Despite the challenges that winter weather and holiday demand cause for businesses and their supply chains, there are concrete steps you can take to mitigate these issues. Preventing winter weather from impacting your supply chain starts with preparation. Knowing which issues arise during the winter ahead and how to plan for them can determine business success.

Here are some of the top tips for preparing your supply chain for winter.

1. Monitor Weather Reports

Keeping your pulse on regional weather reports is one of the smartest ways to prepare supply chains in winter weather. By monitoring weather reports, you can be alerted to some of the weather patterns impacting key areas of your supply chain. You’ll become aware of weather issues such as extreme cold and ice that can delay truck traffic and cause collisions. You’ll also be able to anticipate any forthcoming blizzards that might interrupt the power grid.

If you rely on air cargo as part of your supply chain, following commercial and cargo airline delays can also help you predict and react to disruptions. As you continue monitoring the weather, adjust operations as necessary to accommodate interruptions. This can include rescheduling workers or updating shipment tracking information.

2. Implement Time Management Practices

While you can’t do anything to change the weather or consumer demand, you can implement strategic time management practices that will help alleviate pressure from the supply chain. When shipping to regions with known inclement weather patterns, set longer lead time expectations with customers. This allows you to buy time to explore other routes or logistics options without affecting the customer.

Because severe weather can cause closures at ports, runways, and highways, it’s critical to have a flexible schedule that can incorporate other solutions that still meet customer demands. Setting realistic timelines can reduce the impact of delays and decrease the number of shipping errors.

3. Consider Freight Protection

How does cold weather affect the supply chain? Unpredictable winter weather does more than impact the ability to transport cargo. It can also impact the goods themselves. Certain types of goods may be more susceptible to damage with sudden temperature drops. Cold and freezing weather can damage goods like precision instruments and appliances, perishable foods, chemicals, and paints.

When preparing supply chains for winter, be sure to consider whether your goods are temperature-sensitive and what additional protection they may need to arrive safely. Most trailers aren’t temperature-controlled and cannot protect goods from freezing weather. Arrange to have sensitive products shipped in climate-controlled trailers for guaranteed freight protection.

4. Improve Communication

To ensure your supply chain functions properly in cold weather, businesses need to have excellent communication among their own staff and outside warehousing and logistics partners. It’s also important to maintain communication with the customer.

If extreme winter weather is anticipated, ensure each point along the supply chain is up to date with new procedures and contingency plans. Having transparent communication with your logistics partners provides you with peace of mind and more control over your operations. This allows you to update your customers in time should any shipping delays occur.

5. Create a Backup Plan

Though it’s hard to predict the impact of winter weather on supply chains, it’s still possible to prepare for potential delays by creating a contingency plan. When creating a winter weather supply chain backup plan, it’s important to know whether you will adopt alternate modes of transportation and logistics. Alternatively, you may be able to split your loads across multiple different modes of freight to minimize disruptions.

As part of your contingency plan, it’s important to budget for the possibility that you will need to switch to an alternate mode of transportation that costs more. By planning ahead, you can have the financial and logistics strategy to accommodate weather delays.

Benefits of a 3PL for Your Winter Supply Chain

For businesses to thrive, they need reliable systems and processes for streamlined order fulfillment. Efficient order fulfillment ensures businesses can meet their customers’ needs and continue to grow their sales. However, fulfilling orders can become increasingly more difficult to do in-house, especially during challenging winter weather when the supply chain is impacted.

Turning to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider like Crown LSP Group for help with order fulfillment can help businesses overcome winter weather supply chain issues. 3PLs provide an array of logistics and supply chain management services that support businesses in managing and moving goods to their final destination efficiently and securely.

Here are some of the ways 3PL services from Crown LSP Group can become an integral part of your winter supply chain.

Inventory Management

When you partner with a 3PL provider like Crown LSP Group, your business can rest assured that your goods will be properly managed and tracked at all times. When winter weather delays the supply chain, businesses need real-time information about the status of their goods to ensure open communication with the client.

3PL providers are able to transport your goods in safe and secure truckloads and track them at every stage using GPS technology. This ensures that businesses are always informed about the flow of goods and when shipments are delayed or on the way.

More Transportation Options

Part of winter supply chain planning is knowing what additional or alternative modes of transportation you may need to rely on when bad weather impacts logistics. 3PL partners can take on this responsibility, freeing up businesses from finding alternative transportation and logistics solutions on their own.

3PLs are experts in supply chain transportation solutions and can offer creative solutions in the event of inclement winter weather. 3PL providers at Crown LSP Group can offer less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment solutions, which allow businesses to save money and maintain productive lead times.

3PL can provide additional overflow warehousing

Warehousing Overflow

If increased winter demand causes constraints on your in-house warehousing solutions, a 3PL can provide additional overflow warehousing that accommodates fluctuations in supply. Relying on a trusted 3PL for warehousing services helps businesses save time and resources, particularly with labor and management costs.

Additionally, 3PL warehouses are strategically located, ensuring your goods can be housed and shipped from a location that mitigates delays, including weather-related disruptions.

Improved Safety and Security

One of the supply chain issues that businesses face during the winter is the impact of freezing temperatures and hazardous conditions on the safety of goods. To ensure your goods are transported, stored, and managed safely and securely, rely on a trusted 3PL.

Professional 3PL services from Crown LSP Group offer integrated technology and systems to keep track of your goods and ensure their safe transportation and arrival. With warehousing services, 3PLs can provide the safety and security your goods need, including temperature-controlled storage.

Contact Crown LSP Group for Help Preparing Your Supply Chain for Winter

Preparing supply chains for winter requires advanced planning and effective logistics strategies and solutions. Knowing the common issues that impact supply chains in the winter can help you prevent logistics disruptions and delays. To keep your supply chain running smoothly in the winter, getting the help, you need from a trusted 3PL partner is important.

Crown LSP Group is your third-party logistics solution for better winter supply chain management. We offer various transportation and logistics services to fit your supply chain needs. We have the flexibility and scalability you need to accommodate winter supply challenges. Contact us today for more information on our personalized 3PL solutions or request a quote.

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CSX Intermodal North Carolina

CSX Intermodal North Carolina

After years of development, CSX’s newest intermodal terminal — the Carolina Connector — is moving toward completion and streamlining distribution in North Carolina. It’s an innovation that will allow users throughout North Carolina to efficiently transport goods across the state and into other regions.

What Is the CSX Carolina Connector?

The eastern United States railroad company CSX has moved forward with construction on an intermodal terminal in eastern North Carolina, ideally positioned halfway between Boston and Miami. Located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the Carolina Connector — or CCX — will be the first CSX terminal of its kind in the state. This significant asset for the logistics industry will enable efficient, convenient access to customers for all companies in the region.

freight train on tracks

While it has encountered many obstacles along the way, from the initial deal falling through to the COVID-19 pandemic slowing progress, the plan is to complete the project in early 2021. With various offerings for businesses throughout the area, this new development will be a significant milestone for many industries. It will make transportation more cost-effective, sustainable and reliable, letting companies move goods from one place to another more efficiently than ever before.

Advanced technologies and optimized terminal designs will make the Carolina Connector more usable and sustainable for years to come. Features such as machine vision technology, zero-emission electric cranes, X-Gate and self-service kiosks also offer various benefits for companies looking to take advantage of CSX transportation.

Advantages of Using NC Warehousing for Intermodal Freight

When you’re moving products over significant distances, using warehousing near CSX can be highly effective and efficient. CSX transportation can help you easily access North Carolina warehousing and more efficiently reach your customers throughout the region.

If you’re looking to integrate CSX transportation into your operations, finding a warehousing third-party logistics (3PL) option in the region can help you handle numerous processes more efficiently. Store goods and get them from the warehouse to customers quickly and effectively. With the services of 3PL providers such as Crown LSP Group, you can get support for warehousing and other crucial operations in the Carolina Connector region.

How Crown LSP Group Stands Out

At Crown LSP Group, we’re here to go beyond maintaining transactional relationships — we want to be your trusted business partner. Our convenient locations in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, allow you to maintain highly efficient, cost-effective operations directly beside the CSX intermodal terminals.

As a distribution solutions provider with extensive experience in the industry, we understand that every business is different. We’re committed to delivering solutions that fit your unique needs, prioritizing personalization over a one-size-fits-all approach. Whether that means we adjust our shipping hours to match your requirements or provide storage space near your location, we’re here to create a scalable strategy for your business.

Find Trusted Warehousing Near CSX With Crown LSP Group

The CSX intermodal terminal offers an exciting opportunity for North Carolina businesses. Take advantage of the benefits the Carolina Connector can offer and partner with Crown LSP Group to make it happen. To learn more about the benefits of working with a 3PL when you contact us today!

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