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o Last But Not Least (Transportation & Distribution Magazine)- Sometimes the best way to conquer new challenges is to go back to basics. This article offers insight into how order picking and warehouse organization can reduce travel time.
o ILOG Optimization Suite (ILOG)- This product allows businesses to make better decisions about how to commit assets like equipment, capital, people, vehicles, raw materials, time and facilities.
O INNOVATION (CAPS Logistics)- This product is a manufacturing and distribution planning tool which optimizes the tradeoffs among production, inventory and transportation over multiple time periods. It handles everything from raw material selection to end customer demand variability.
O MDS Yard & Dock Management (OMI International)- OMI’s MDS system offers the control needed for yard transportation planning, plan execution, performance reporting and process improvements – in a completely real-time environment. All yard and dock operational processes along with warehouse activities are operationally integrated with MDS. In conjunction with existing WMS applications, MDS can provide more accurate forecasts and projections for improvements.
O Optimizer I™ (Trade Tech, Inc. )- Optimizer I™ is the only dynamic cost modeling software in the market that interprets containerized shipping service contracts without having to key in every combination manually. Optimizer I™ enables transportation companies, importers, exporters, and consultants to develop real time models of all pricing combinations available to them for a specific origin, destination, and commodity grouping. Furthermore, third party logistics companies (3PL’s) that manage multiple contracts at one time easily access the optimal contract rate to apply to each shipment or transportation segment. Costs are displayed in an “all inclusive” manner and are sorted from least cost to most cost.
O TransPro (CAPS Logistics)- For transportation planning; optimizes planning & operational transportation decisions involving freight consolidation, mode/carrier selection, and pooling. This product is for companies that use 3rd party carriers in addition to or instead of using their own or dedicated fleets.
O TruckStops (MicroAnalytics)- This product allows companies to determine the best route for their commercial delivery systesm. It contains minimization routines for a commercial routing system and may enable companies to decrease their transportation costs while improving their routing and customer service.
The ability to change prices in the blink of an eye, instantly responding to market fluctuations, seems as if it would be an attractive tactic to online retailers. However, so-called dynamic pricing has not caught on yet in the e-commerce Free Download – Look Who’s Driving the Next Generation of e-Commerce world.
It is not as if the process of implementing this feature is complicated — it can be done using existing technology. Moreover, the potential benefits are significant: Integrating dynamic pricing with existing e-commerce and sales support systems can allow companies to measure their customers’ buying behaviors.
So, what is stopping dynamic pricing from gaining a foothold in the e-commerce sector — and will it eventually become popular among companies and consumers?
Dynamic pricing is neither a new nor an untested idea. The airline industry is often cited as a dynamic pricing success story. In fact, it employs the technique so artfully that most of the passengers on any given airplane have paid different ticket prices for the same flight. Pricing for airline tickets can vary depending on frequent flier mile usage, special promotions or travel site discounts.
Dynamic pricing also can be used to change rates depending on a customer’s physical location or preferences. For example, a shipping company might use its online quote system to give estimates based not on distance alone, but also on other variables, such as how many customers need goods in a certain city.
Forrester analyst Noha Tohamy told the E-Commerce Times that dynamic pricing enables a business to respond to a customer’s request for quotes on the basis of real-time supply-and-demand information. Such data can be invaluable when trying to reconfigure prices.
“Demand information could be the customer-specific information, like contract terms or performance metrics,” she said. “It could also incorporate competitive information, like what is the price that a competitor is offering right now.”
On the flip side, supply information can include anything from inventory availability to transportation costs.
Companies that want to invest in dynamic pricing also have the advantage of choosing among several major vendors in the field, including Azerity, Rapt, Maxager, Revenue Technologies and Manugistics.
Logically, then, it seems that implementing dynamic pricing should be a snap, because real-time data updates are easily accomplished and could work well with pricing software. However, the strategy Free How-To Guide for Small Business Web Strategies – from domain name selection to site promotion. Is far from widely implemented.
“Dynamic pricing is still in the early stages of adoption,” Tohamy noted. “The primary reasons have to do with enterprises’ traditional focus on efficiency and cost minimization versus top-line growth.”
She added that use of dynamic pricing software depends on how dedicated a company is to integrating it with other applications.
“To come up with a good solution,” she said, “a lot of integration is required with other apps and functions. CRM, ERP Latest News about enterprise resource planning and SCM apps that offer inventory and transportation visibility need to be considered.”
To use a dynamic-pricing system properly, variables beyond software integration also must be taken into account, according to Azerity spokesperson Frank Chevallier. He told the E-Commerce Times that dynamic pricing must be implemented with corporate objectives in mind.
“You need to do three things in the right order,” he said. “First, you have to provide the best pricing execution system. You have to think about how you deliver the pricing with the right quoting system and make it easy to use.”
The next step is to capture data properly. “If you do the execution right, that only works for a time,” Chevallier said. “You have to think about what is fed into the pricing mechanism.”
The third step is price optimization, in which the company feeds the newly captured data into the pricing engine.
By using these three steps and keeping long-range business plans in mind, dynamic pricing can be used efficiently and swiftly. That is crucial for high tech in particular, Chevallier said.
“The high-tech industry is driven by price variations,” he noted. “Responding to these can mean the success or failure of a company.”
Dynamic pricing might be slowly catching on with high-tech manufacturers, but it has yet to be adopted by many other e-commerce companies. One reason for this lackluster reach might be that although changing prices in the B2B world are common, consumers are not used to flexible price tags.
Kevin Scott, a senior analyst at AMR Research Latest News about AMR Research, told the E-Commerce Times that people have accepted variations in airline ticket prices when using sites like Orbitz or Travelocity, but that model does not translate well to other e-tail sites.
“If I go on Best Buy’s site and buy an MP3 player for $100, I don’t want to go on the site the next day and see it for $80,” he said. “Consumers wouldn’t be too happy about that. They’d wonder what was going on.”
In addition, Scott said: “Aside from consumer upheaval, you’d have a hard time integrating that into the back-office systems. You’d have to make sure the invoices [were] reconciled with whatever price was on the screen at the time.”
There are many ways to measure a 3PL performance. Obviously, if the 3PL is picked by the OEM (your customer), those measurements do not mean anything.
But for the sake of answering your question, here are some KPIs:
– Ontime delivery
– Movement (deplition,…) signal lag time
– Physical inventory/cycle count accuracy
– Cost of inventory holding
I am not an importer of these items, but we have imported bicycles, parts, etc from Asia.
The process is not as difficult as you would think. You do not typically use UPS because they are expensive. You want to find a shipping company that can help you from start to finish.
Take a look at Http://www.3pl.com. You can find a third party logistics company here — ‘3PL’ — is an obvious acronym once you look at it and easy to remember.
Also, you can post what your needs are and have vendors respond to you. However, be prepared to be inundated with responses, some good, some bad.
We found a great company to provide all of our warehousing space through this system and are very happy with the results thus far.
We are a small business and began selling ‘team building’ games that focus on communication, leadership, etc. After 9/11 because our main source of business — facilitation — crashed horribly.
In the beginning, we were very small and simply shipped out of a garage using UPS (VERY handy with their Worldship software).
However, after a time, we began selling quite a bit and it became too much. We began looking to open a warehouse, but that meant a LOT of overhead and new staff just for our side business of the products. A friend in the bicycle industry turned us on to 3PL and now we have everything shipped through a huge warehouse filled with staff around the clock in Dallas, TX. They automatically receive our orders and fulfill them without us doing anything. Also, we have a simply inventory system in our on-line shopping cart and they update it with each sale so we know when we are low.
You can see our ‘store’ at www.buildingteams.com and my wife’s company at www.dinnerinabag.com. She also uses a 3PL provider to ship her frozen food.
We still manufacture everything in our shop, but that is nothing like having to maintain a warehouse full of stock. Or our garage!!
1035 E Watson Center Rd
Carson, CA 90745
So if you grow, this might be a solution for you.
The company we use, and like very much, is Triangle Network. Here is their contact information:
If they cannot help you import, they can probably help you find a reputable vendor.
By the way — the shipping industry is VERY shady! Filled with lots of characters that will give you a good deal on shipping but not be the shipper at all. Be very careful of cheap deals.
Back to some direct answers for you about the actual shipping.
I am assuming a fairly large amount of items shipped on a pallet. The items that are imported will be shipped to warehouse and you will be responsible to pick it up there, most of the time.
If you want the items shipped directly to you door, prepare to pay quite a bit and most trucking companies will only ship on pallets, so if you don’t have a loading dock, which I doubt, then you will have a few problems. I have had large items trucked to my house, but they insist you keep everything — the pallet, shipping materials, etc. And will not take it back with them.
That being said, I rarely run into problems with the warehouse people letting you pull your boxes off the pallet to put in the back of a truck or van and leaving the pallet and garbage in their dumpster. But you never know.
I hope that helps, even if just a little bit. It can be a scary endeavor, but if you just start moving forward you will see it is fairly easy.
Best of luck!
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