Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Retail Customers Demand Improved Supply Chain Logistics says UK Freight Forwarder

All Options Must be Available to Suit Different Clients Needs
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE - Davies Turner, part of System Alliance Europe (SAE), the grouping of independent freight forwarders which has similar expertise in the logistics required to deliver to town centre locations throughout the Continent where there are frequently emissions limits, permit issues, and associated local regulations in addition to ‘out of hours’ requirements, has released details of what it calls a ‘complete support package’ suitable for supplying retailers with improved supply chain options.

With many UK retailers, not least in the fashion industry, looking to export markets for expansion, coupled with the difficulties inherent in satisfying the needs of end user delivery options, Davies Turner's head of retail development, Dave O'Brien says that the company has recently been inundated with requests for rates and schedules from UK retailers joining the rush to open stores across Europe and beyond, for replenishing stock in their international stores. He explains:

"Keeping ahead of the competition and maximising margins, particularly in fashion retailing, demands an agile supply chain capable of delivering rapid store replenishment. We now have a system in place that can deliver from a supplier's UK distribution centre directly to the shop overseas, without passing through another distribution hub. This is especially important when fashion retailers move out of their comfort zone to develop new markets and sales channels.

"This move to open stores overseas, as well as channel proliferation, is adding pressure to the already hyper-competitive apparel market -characterised by seasonal merchandise with short cycles, fickle consumers, and fierce price scrutiny. We have therefore developed reliable, competitive and optimal supply chains that allow apparel retailers and their suppliers to meet these challenges, while still satisfying the standard requirement to keep costs under control and deliver the right products to the right place at the right time."

For clients from the fashion logistics world opening stores outside the UK, Davies Turner offers multimodal freight services covering both full loads and worldwide groupage consolidations, with regional warehousing hubs, plus (internet) order-sorting and fulfilment where required. This is combined with the company's own supply chain management system from purchase order to final delivery- P2D. The capacity to develop and integrate its own software with bought-in or customised products results in real savings, as does the ability to combine both 3PL and 4PL roles.

Underpinning these systems is the company's network of 20 branches covering the U.K. and all Ireland, which offers daily road trailer and intermodal operations serving mainland Europe, as well deep-sea container and air cargo services for the rest of the world. While each retailer's approach to trading through their own stores and overseas distributors may differ, one essential for succeeding in this new retail environment is supply chain visibility. O'Brien continues:

"Knowing where your product is, whether it is moving in the most cost-efficient manner and, if it will be available to ship from a distribution centre on time and to be delivered into store on time is key to handling multiple sales channels. Bespoke systems, designed in house and tailored to individual apparel customer requirements are part of our service which is proving indispensable to managing the supply chains of stores overseas.

"All companies using our services to replenish their export outlets get prior notification of the transit and lead times for delivery, which will not fluctuate erratically from job to job. We are determined to continue enhancing our services for the fashion and retail industry where time is of the essence to our customers.

"While we can, and do, provide direct international store replenishment from the UK, it’s not every client’s preference. This being the case, we also have resources and facilities to offer local distribution centres within each destination where a client can keep stock for the best-selling lines [which] can be replenished same or next day if needed. It's this flexibility that is assisting in our clients international expansion successes."