Back-to-school time is often a time of new beginnings and possibly new clothes and new school supplies. It is also a time that retailers look forward to every year. Most people take for granted that whatever supplies they need to start a new school year will be abundantly available at their favorite retailer. But do you ever stop to think about the journey those goods have taken to get to the store shelf?
Take for example that new package of color markers or #2 pencils. It’s entirely possible that they traveled via truck or train to a shipping port then across the ocean in an ocean container, traveled again via truck or intermodal train to a warehouse center where they probably traveled again via truck to yet another distribution center and one more time via truck to a retail outlet. Wow! That’s quite a journey for pencils.
Manufacturers of these goods and their retailer customers work together months in advance to coordinate all this movement attempting to accomplish it as quickly and as affordably as possible. Public distribution centers like The Shippers Group store these items before they are needed by the retailer customer. This means during Back-to-School time, there is often a significant increase in stored inventory, inbound receiving and outbound shipping. Space and labor are key and especially in today’s environment of low warehouse vacancy, low unemployment and tight trucking capacity, planning and communication are critical to ensure the resources are there to deliver goods to retailers in a timely and complete manner.
Manufacturers shouldn’t take for granted that their supply chain partners will be able to accommodate their needs just because they did last year. With detailed planning and synchronization of all partners within the supply chain, the outlook for a great start of the new school year is very promising for everyone!
The Shippers Group wishes a fun and successful Back-to-School to all our customers, parents and students whose school supplies and food products we’ve been privileged to distribute. For more information on The Shippers Group, visit our services page.