Gut Check Your Shipping Supplier (& Yourself)

Male worker packing cardboard box with tape gun dispenser in warehouse

In today’s hyper competitive economy, monitoring & managing profitability has never been more essential.  I other words, a global view is necessary when evaluating spend to ensure dollars are invested as effectively as possible.

To help you streamline your backend operational expenses here are 5 key questions that should be asked of your shipping materials suppliers:

What criteria was employed to qualify products recommended to us?

Frequently, when asked this question, you’ll get a long awkward silence accompanied by a blank stare!  Why?  Because most shipping suppliers either haven’t or are unable to demonstrate the capability and performance of their products and how this impacts your operation.  Rather the focus is on cost/unit, not a reliable metric.

Experience shows that failing to ask this crucial question is a leading contributor to your products failing after they leave your dock. 

What is your understanding of what happens to our products once they are shipped?

Once again, suppliers aren’t thinking beyond what they see.  Finding a vendor partner who is capable of evaluating these factors, making proper recommendations & taking responsibility for outcomes, is critical to the security of your products throughout the supply chain.

How does frequent handling & multiple transits impact our products & your materials in use?  How is this factored into your recommendations?

The potential for damage and loss is amplified each time a product is handled and shipped.  LTL vs. truckload shipment, layers of distribution within your supply chain and even probable length of storage impact product performance and outcome.

What is the true cost per use of these products & how should that be evaluated?

When was the last time a supplier of shipping materials asked you about damage, shrink & loss?  Each of these elements contribute to the overall cost to use their products. 

A study was conducted in 2007 focusing on supplier damage & loss in the grocery, drug and wholesaler markets.  Depending on market segment, 30-60% of unsaleable product was due to damage.  This equated to just under 1% of manufacturer gross sales.  This is a staggering figure.  

When applying this information to a company generating $10MM+ in sales annually, you can infer that they are experience an unsaleable rate of $100,000 per year, every year.

How are you reacting to changes in the market & innovations in packaging?  What is your strategy to keep us and others informed of change & how we may be impacted?

In 2020 and looking forward, the one constant we can count on is change.  How many businesses are experiencing seismic change currently due to the COVID-19 crisis?  While this event would have been nearly impossible to anticipate, our team at First Packaging Systems are always considering and planning for “what if” moments within our customers businesses.

The First Packaging Systems team takes great pride in providing you with the best possible products and broadest range of flexibility in order to anticipate change.  Utilizing our warehouse and “know how” to leverage effective purchasing and streamline your internal & external supply chains is all part of the package we deliver on a daily basis.

If you’re looking to optimize your packaging & shipping processes, call us First.