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    Our customized solutions offer bottom line results.  With over 25 years experience, Kelly Direct brings clients a powerful arsenal of supply chain tools to create or supplement a customized program for efficient manufacturing, marketing and distribution...
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Blog
So How Do You Fulfill Live Ants Anyway?

Kelly Direct has fulfilled countless products over the past 25 years…..apparel, basketballs, bicycles, CDs, collectibles, gift certificates, frozen shrimp, weight loss supplements, yoga wear and even severed feet (for a horror film release).

Some of these products have shipping restrictions.  Some do not.  It is our job to inform you of merchandise susceptible to guidelines or restrictions which may affect ship time, ship cost or the ability to ship the products at all.

“Hazardous” materials such as aerosols, cigarette lighters, perfumes and some types of cosmetics cannot be shipped.  Federal Express won’t allow postage stamps. UPS won’t allow batteries.

Alcohol is a whole other story.

Furthermore, depending on the type of shipment, we may be required to comply with the Department of Transportation, the Food & Drug Administration, International Air Transportation Association and other regulatory agencies.

Given these restrictions, it got us thinking:  What kind of restrictions do they place on shipping live ants, ladybugs and creatures?

It turns out that ants are OK (spiders are not).  Turtles are OK (snakes are not).

You can ship ants to 50 states (but tadpoles to only 48 states).

The foremost leader in fulfilling live creatures is Uncle Milton’s Industries.  The Southern California based firm introduced the flagship Ant Farm® habitat to children and families in 1956.  Uncle Milton now processes online orders directly to consumers and distributes products through a broad range of retail channels including mass merchant, specialty toy, online, hobby, gift, and department stores nationwide.

Shipping live ants presents unique fulfillment challenges to Uncle Milton:

 

  • Data capture:  After the product is purchased, consumers mail in an enclosed (non-replicable) certificate.   The PO box is swept and envelopes are opened.  Consumer address data is then input to the order entry system to create ship labels (Uncle Milton uses USPS).

 

  • Product safety.  Ants are packaged into customized ventilated containers for safe travel.  Each ant must be at least 1/4 inch in size or they could escape from the habitat.

 

  • Weather Conditions/Ship Delays.  Ants can only be shipped if the temperature is greater than 32 degrees Fahrenheit and less than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  If the temperature range does not fit in this category, Uncle Milton emails a delay notification to the client.

 

  • Return policy and guarantee.  Uncle Milton guarantees the live arrival of the ants.  If the creature order arrives in ”an unsatisfactory condition”, the consumer fills out an on-line form to request a one-time replacement.  One-time replacements will only be honored if the company is contacted within 48-72 hours of the consumer’s receipt of the ants.  It is also “not required that the dead creatures be returned.”

 

While this is certainly a unique and entertaining fulfillment scenario, it underscores the importance of identifying any restrictions that may impact the packaging and shipment of merchandise to your end-users.  Call Kelly Direct today for expert shipping guidance. 

 
HIGH-VOLUME KITTING AND ASSEMBLY

Kelly Direct is an expert at providing highly efficient – and therefore extremely low priced -- high-volume kitting and assembly services.

We formulate a production plan, analyzing the foot print of the project and each hand movement involved in the assembly project.  Projects may be assigned up 200 employees, all of whom are supervised by the Production Supervisor and supported by Production Leads who re-stock kit components.  Kit assembly is frequently accomplished using a motorized conveyor belt and assembled components are weighed to assure insert accuracy.

Some recent projects managed by Kelly Direct include the assembly and distribution of:

  • 45K t-shirts kitted with a poster for a major technology firm
  • 135K sets of glassware to a national retailer
  • 1,800 POP displays and promo items for an in-store Super Bowl promotion
  • 1 million CDs for a major ISP
  • 10K Kids club bags to a leading hotel chain
  • 137K keyrings for a new television program launch
  • 240K product samples to national supermarket chain
  • 3,500 backpacks with a promotional items to an Italian distributor
  • 50K “free” candy bars from internet promotion

 Please contact us today for an estimate on your next assembly project.

 
18 MUST ASK QUESTIONS FOR ASSEMBLY PROJECTS

If your program requires assembly or fulfillment, here are 18 questions to properly scope the project and estimate costs.

 

PRODUCTION

  • How many units will be shipped?
  • How many SKUs (individual items) are involved?
  • Is there any preparation needed to make “ship ready” (e.g., removal of polybags)
  • What is each step in the assembly process?
  • How many total drops will be needed?
  • Do you need any additional materials (envelopes, jiffy bags, boxes, etc.)?
  • What is the turn-time/deadline?

 

SHIPPING

  • Where is product coming from?
  • How many manufacturers/suppliers will be sending items?
  • Do you need to quote inbound freight?
  • Are outbound shipments domestic or international?
  • Are we shipping to residences or businesses?
  • What service level do you anticipate (ground, overnight, etc)?
  • Is there a need for trackability, insurance, signature upon receipt, etc.?
  • To which account will shipments be billed (your account, client, KBD)?

 

OTHER

  • Are there any storage needs?
  • Where should returns go?
  • Where do leftover materials ship?

 

 
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