Inbound Logistics | January 2024

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS Mid-market and enterprise level companies typically have a better handle on logistics processes than their SMB Mid-market and enterprise companies typically have a better on logistics processes than their counterparts. These rms know counterparts. These rms know what their customers expect, they buy or manufacture at scale and their supply chain—ne-tuned to address end-to-end transportation concerns—operates like a well- oiled machine. “And they’re likely doing all their customers expect, they manufacture at scale at scale and their concerns—operates these things at a much lower cost per unit because “And likely doing these things much per unit they’ve doing long Dave Giblin, of transportation they’ve been doing it for a long time,” says Dave Giblin, vice president of transportation services at ODW Logistics. SMBs encountering large supply chain cost gaps often benet from partnering with a 3PL to nd solutions that give them the capabilities typically associated with bigger companies. “SMBs might have a nice little product but they’re going to get clobbered on cost,” notes Giblin. When it comes to transportation, SMB shippers do not usually send full truckload shipments. Small-package and less-than-truckload (LTL) freight is far more commonplace. While shipping LTL freight is easy and can bring cost savings compared to shipping full truckload, it may still not be the right t for a small shipper. “On a per-unit basis, the big shippers move full truckloads and their cost per services at ODW Logistics. ODW Logistics. SMBs encountering large chain cost gaps cost gaps often benet

unit is still lower than shipping LTL,” explains Giblin. Ideally, the right 3PL will work with an SMB to nd the optimal transport solution in terms of price and service. Sometimes, Giblin suggests, that solution may be a consolidator, who will take freight from multiple customers and put it all on the same truck. The consolidator will align the delivery date, pick up at one facility, deliver to one facility, and offer it at a much lower cost than LTL carriers that are generically consolidating freight but not specically consolidating freight. “LTL carriers offer a lot of extra touches, a lot of extra handling, and a lot of extra pickups and deliveries whereas a consolidator—if they’re effective in your network—builds much fuller loads and has fewer moving parts,” Giblin says. REGULAR CHECK-INS There are many agenda items that clamor for attention when an SMB conducts annual assessments of its operations, as it should. “Supply chain can sometimes be an afterthought when it comes to budgeting and upgrading systems,” says Novak at Alpine Supply Chain Solutions. He argues that it shouldn’t be. “A lot of small businesses will say, ‘Well, we’ve made it to this point using the software that we have. Do we really need something else?’ And the answer is typically yes, especially if you’re growing,” he says. “Small and mid-sized businesses need partners and solutions that can scale and grow with them,” Novak adds. n

“Being able to do everything within the one ecosystem of Salesforce has made a big difference to us,” says Hill. “Running the CRM and the CMS for the website all in one place is powerful.” In the past, when a promotional idea came up during marketing meetings, Pro-Ma staff knew they’d have to rst check with their software developer to see if the plan was feasible. Even if it was, integrating a marketing initiative into their supply chain software was often a complicated process. “Now with Salesforce and StoreConnect, we’ve got a team in place and we can just re off a promotional or marketing email,” says Hill. “We can easily achieve so much more now that we have the freedom that this system enables.” Consolidating multiple technological solutions that a company has acquired throughout its history takes time and sometimes a leap of faith. “But the benet is that you can start moving quickly again and that’s where the competitive landscape is going to improve for that small business,” Lindsaar notes. Pro-Ma Systems, maker of the Grace Cosmetics line, traded in its cobbled- together homegrown tech stack and implemented Salesforce and StoreConnect to improve and streamline back-end CRM and CMS functionality.

“A lot of small businesses will say, ‘Well, we've made it to this point using the software that we have. Do we really need something else?’ And the answer is typically yes, especially if you’re growing.” –Brandon Novak, Senior Director, Alpine Supply Chain Solutions

154 Inbound Logistics • January 2024

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