Last-minute design and production
changes are Titan Global Distribution’s
greatest challenge in managing retail
projects, according to Mark Sesti, senior
account executive. “This squeezes the retail
installation schedule into a shorter period
since the start date gets pushed out while
the completion date remains fixed. Last-
minute changes also create extra and expe-
dited shipping costs,” he says. “Titan meets
with clients at the early stages of the pro-
cess to review production, shipping, and
installation schedules and to set deadlines
for each aspect. We are flexible, but have
drop-dead dates to ensure that the launch
is completed on time and successfully.”
Such delays raise costs, Robert Masters,
senior vice president of Centrek Distribution
Services. “If production runs behind, that
throws the in-store deadline off and the
carrier may have to add cost for storage or
delayed delivery. Ensuring that the in-store
deadline is adjusted to production timelines
mitigates the problem,” he says.
7Have the Site Ready to Receive “Talk to your stores and let them know
the product is coming,” says Progressive’s
Agrees Centrek’s Masters, “A general
communication throughout the location
ensures that managers, assistant managers, and employees are aware of the
impending delivery and do such things as
clear a safe, secure spot for the freight.”
8 Communicate Effectively “It is critical that we continue to work
with our retailers/suppliers/project managers closely to increase communication and
share information in the most real-time
environment possible,” says MacDonald.
UniGroup uses robust systems to provide
clients with warehouse inventory levels, shipment status, estimated times of
arrival, and other needed information.
To keep project contributors on the same
page, Tech Trans sets up a communications
network between the retailer, vendors, and
general contractors or installers and then
ensures that its own office is staffed during
a job, says Moorehead. He urges retailers
and suppliers to ensure that the product
shipped is packed well and easily identified
and to provide contact numbers for every-
one involved, including an after-hours contact for the retailer. “A lot of times, crucial
decisions have to be made late at night and
on weekends,” he says.
Individuals to be contacted should have
the ability to assist and resolve problems
and should have decision-making authority, notes Progressive’s Olsen. Suppliers also
should provide written instructions including pictures or diagrams for inside delivery
projects and ensure that dimensions and
weights are correct, says Masters of Centrek.
For a nationwide rollout, schedules
for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?’s role can change
hourly, and 10 to 20 pickups may need to be
coordinated within a day, says Gontovnick.
“To make this successful, we need to effi-
ciently communicate not only between
our account managers and clients, but also
internally with our customer service cen-
ter, drivers, and franchisees.”
Shippers need to communicate to their
logistics providers the updated status of
product availability when needed, adds
Coulter of Atlas Van Lines.
More than 90 percent of customer proj-
ect time is spent managing exceptions,
MoveIt’s Partridge says. “Sometimes one
problem, like incorrect graphics from
a manufacturer, can take half of a per-
son’s day to resolve. Our focus has been
on reducing that time through efficient
reporting, tighter controls, and responsive
customer service. In today’s business envi-
ronment, useful systems tools are essen-
tial. We have found that a rapid response
approach to customized development can
make all the difference in a successful roll-
out. Thorough pre-calls to sites and quick
responses via email or phone make prob-
9 Keep up with the 3PL World Olsen believes it’s important for retailers and suppliers to understand logistical
needs. “Stay abreast of the changing environment. Don’t sit back and say it is someone else’s problem. What worked just five
years ago will not work now,” he says. “Load
our trucks faster, plan better, and know the
store layout and give it to us. Don’t leave it
up in the air.”
Jo Rossman, leeD aP,
gPaP, is a.R.e.’s manager
of sustainability and
e-mail her at jorossman
Resources the following a.R.e. member companies are among those suppliers that have provided information
regarding their transportation and logistics services. For more companies and details, see a.R.e.’s supplier|connect
online search, desktop app, or mobile app; see www.retailenvironments.org for more information.
Aire-Ride Transfer Inc.
Atlas Van Lines Inc.
Bay & Bay Transfer Co. Inc.
Centrek Distribution Services
Champion Logistics Group
Dynamic Resources Inc.
Installation Solutions Inc.
JL Installations (J&L)
Merchants International Inc.
MoveIt Specialized Logistics
Progressive Transportation Inc.
RLS/Technical Transportation Inc. (LAX)
Specialized Transportation Inc
Suddath Transportation Services Inc.
Titan Global Distribution Inc.