Aug 23, 2019

retail logistics case study

With so many products available and so little shelf space, point of sale (POS) merchandisers like King’s recent client have become a staple of the retail supply chain. As an integral part of the retail sales supply chain, these providers must confront the massive task of servicing clients that sell products at many of the 3.8 million retail establishments located across the U.S.

This King client provides full-service retail merchandising services to large-scale manufacturers whose products line the shelves at retail locations across the U.S. and Canada. Their agile business structure is the foundation of their merchandising and product management services, and their numerous connections with retailers like Target, Walmart and Kroger have allowed them to create a large-scale network of locations for their customers to display their products.

With tens of thousands of shipping destinations across the U.S. and Canada, they made it a point to reach out to King for help with their retail logistics and shipping plan.

The challenges
King’s client had a client who had six more clients. It’s not the start of a joke or a riddle, and it goes even deeper. Each of these six clients had multiple POS displays that needed to be kitted, consolidated into single shipments and sent to one of the 1,846 Target stores across the country on a specified date. Sound confusing? Allow us to simplify (it’s what we do!). There were several notable challenges our client faced.

Challenge #1: the client had to receive 500 total pallets of products from their six clients, but they lacked the room to receive them.

Challenge #2: the client needed to breakdown and inventory the products and build 51 different kits, but they lacked the necessary systems and manpower to get the job done in time.

Challenge #3: the client had to ship the kits to 1,846 Target stores in a cost-effective manner. Complete visibility would also have to be maintained so merchandising crews could quickly locate the kits in the backroom of every Target store.

Let’s recap the numbers:

  • Products from six companies
  • 500 pallets that would be broken down and rebuilt into 51 different kits
  • 1,846 total end destinations

The King solution
The execution of this solution took place over three phases:

#1: Receiving

King had the space and the ample resources to receive, handle and breakdown the pallets as well as assemble, package and prep the kits for delivery. Our team set up all purchase orders to be received in our warehouse and ensured that all components spread out across 500 pallets arrived and were sorted based by client and based on the kit that needed to be built.

#2: Kitting

Planning was essential to achieve the price point needed by our client, so our team mocked up each kit type to ensure we could use the smallest carton size, allowing us to get the lowest shipping price possible. We then kitted and inserted all products and included specialized instructions (different per each kit type).

#3: Delivery

After procuring a partner for the shipments (UPS), we planned out the shipping dates around the client’s specifications. In order to deliver as closely as possible to the in-store date, the shipments were released in waves. To solve the visibility issues (both while on the road and at the store level), we provided daily tracking reports to the client, who then shared with their field managers. As a solution for visibility at the store level, we produced and printed bright neon labels (stating to hold for the merchandisers) that acted as the beacon to find them.

The results
Between our facility space, inventory systems and the expertise of our team, King successfully completed this custom shipping program, hitting every “Target” we set along the way. All packages arrived at the store level on time to be merchandised, and the final invoiced amount came in slightly lower than the budget we initially set. The kits were labeled, easy to find and installed successfully by the client’s merchandising team.

Our proactive tracking also allowed us to identify six kits that UPS did not have in their system, which we were able to rebuild and ship in order to still hit the dates (that’s visibility you can count on!).

The incredible success of this initial program was the mere start of our client’s POS delivery service offerings. They now offer more kitting and distribution to their clients, knowing they can rely on the full expertise and experience of King Solutions.

Have a shipping target you need to hit? Contact me today.