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    Kelly Direct assembles, warehouses and ships merchandise and promotional products all over the world.  We have managed thousands of fulfillment projects and shipped millions of items...   More>>
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    Kelly Direct manages dozens of highly-vetted fulfillment and freight companies in the US with millions of square feet of warehouse space and excellent resources in Mexico, Canada and Europe..... More>>
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    Supplies
    Kelly Direct's volume discounts on shipping cartons, packaging and other materials cut costs... More>>
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    Kelly Direct applies decades of experience to manage individual projects, ongoing fulfillment programs and corporate-wide supply chain initiatives...  More>>
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Blog
Industry News September 2018

PAPER OK BUT NOT MERCHANDISE?  

The USPS has proposed that all marketing mail that is sent via USPS must be printed matter and no merchandise or goods will be allowed of any type (regardless of value).   The USPS says that the change allows them to “ship the items to mail streams with better end-to-end tracking capability". The alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM) challenged the move claiming the USPS doesn't have the legal authority to regulate what nonprofit companies and fundraisers can put in envelopes. The USPS, in response, basically said not to worry just yet.

UNITED PARCEL SERVICE TO BEGIN SUNDAY PACKAGE DELIVERIES

Teamster negotiators and UPS have reached a handshake deal on a new 5-year contract that would  raise pay for existing workers but also create a new category of lower-paid drivers to handle weekend deliveries  This discussions would become one of the biggest collective bargaining agreements in the US.  The hybrid-driver role would allow UPS, which now delivers on Saturdays in some markets, to start regular Sunday delivery of packages (something the USPS provides for customers such as Amazon).

WALMART AND COSTCO IN PROMO PRODUCT SPACE

Walmart and Costco are now competing with promotional products distributors by offering customizable products directly to consumers.  Walmart has been in the game for a little while now, but Costco has quietly started selling products in the same way Walmart has.  Costco announced on its site that it will now offer personalized items like writing instruments, apparel, bags, drinkware with a production turn time of seven business days.

Sources:  Wall Street Journal, USPS Federal Register, Promo Marketing Magazine

 
WHAT'S IN IT FOR MY CLIENT?
We're all in the business of over-delivering to our customers.

With large scale assembly and fulfillment programs, over-delivering is not just getting the right merchandise to the right people at the right time.
It's about being smart, responsive, customer-focused and offering pricing that, frankly, your competitors can't touch.
Here are ways Kelly Direct helps you over-deliver to your customers on projects requiring product assembly and fulfillment:
Not all fulfillment companies were created equal.  They vary greatly in areas of specialization, IT sophistication, capacity, ability for rapid staff-up, overhead, rate structure and location.  The physical location of the warehouse is of extreme importance to calculate cost and turn time.
We strategically negotiate with and manage the project in the warehouse that makes sense for your project. Due to proximity to Ports of LA, many projects will be worked in one of nine highly vetted fulfillment companies in Southern California.
We know where pricing should be.  We've worked with, competed against and/or socialized with some of our partners for decades.  We know who does what well and what they can (really) handle. Best of all, we know where pricing should be. We frequently dictate pricing, not the other way around.
We add to your bottom line.  We are entrepreneurs, not brokers. We work for you. We negotiate every nickel on your project and pass along these volume discounts, providing your company with yet another source of revenue.
We allow account executives do their real job without spending time with the important yet frustrating mystery details, shipping rules and last minute changes that accompany every fulfillment program.
We make you look like an expert.  We guide you through the bid process, suggest talking points, recommend packaging, send photos of product upon arrival, jump on client conference calls and provide automated tracking for each and every shipment.  What's more, you will have a status report every morning when you arrive at the office.
Please let us know how we can help you over-deliver to your customers.

 
HOLIDAY PROMOTION PLANNING
Holiday promotion planning is in full swing right now.  Of course, calculating the number of days to fulfill and ship the product is crucial.  Here are five FAQs about warehousing and kitting we get this time of year:
How many days does it take to get the package from the loading dock to its destination?
Carriers move substantially more packages during the holidays (UPS alone will ship 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Years Day).  Due to the sheer increase in volume and severe weather conditions, there were some fairly significant delivery delays in 2017.   Major shippers launched new systems and solutions this year but they have not yet been tested.

#1:   Add a 2-3 day pad when planning turn time for in-hand delivery date

How can I get my products entered into the inventory system as quickly as possible?
Your products will handled at as many as four warehouses from start-to-finish of the fulfillment process.  In general, the cartons and pallets that get received in first are those that are readily identifiable, stand out, and have all info needed for disposition.  To stay out of the research zone, consider neon labels, identify the full carton count, barcode the product (if possible), and provide an ASN.
#2:   Make your cartons stand out and provide explicit handling instructions
What will materials cost?
In most cases, your shipments will be need to re-packed into something else. Can we re-use the in-bound cartons or do we have to purchase? What are the dimensions and weight of the product to determine least cost packaging? Can I get "free" shipping envelopes and materials from the carrier itself?   How do I protect fragile products?

#3:   Look at materials rates at  uline.com or any large office supply supplier
(We get substantially lower wholesale rates, but it will give you an idea)
Will there be returns?
Databases that are 100% accurate are very rare.  To avoid undeliverable shipments, first evaluate the mailing list. Where did the list come from? How old is it? Are multiple people providing lists that must be de-duped? Did consumers (notorious for bad data) input their own information?  Even with careful vetting, returns processing should be considered at program bid stages.

#4:   Expect a 5%-7% return rate on consumer shipments.
What other ways can I shave time and cost from the project?
Kelly Direct has holiday fulfillment projects for over 27 years on behalf of America's Fortune 500 brands and leading agencies.   We scope the project, select the appropriate warehouse partner, negotiates wholesale rates and manages the program from start-to-finish.  Exceptional rates and exceptional customer service.
#5:   Call Kelly Direct at 818.262.0613 or click here

 
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