It’s not too late to get your product to store shelves in time for Black Friday, thanks to the swift performance of air cargo service. With significantly shorter lead times than other modes, air cargo can get your product to market in as little as a day. It adds efficiency and flexibility to your supply chain and better equips you to quickly replenish inventory throughout the holiday shopping season as consumers sweep through aisles or fill their online shopping carts.
Here are three things to keep in mind as we enter the fast-paced final stretch of Black Friday and Cyber Monday preparation.
Plan, plan, plan. To thoroughly prepare for major logistics events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, roadmap it out with your third party logistics (3PL) provider. It’s a good diagnostic tool for understanding the reliability and readiness of your supply chain, and it can help you navigate the complexities around forecasting, scheduling, and optimizing your shipments. Poor planning oftentimes translates to a mad scramble for last minute replenishments, and it can make your supply chain more vulnerable if breakdowns occur somewhere along the way. The bulk of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday planning likely happened months ago, but it never hurts to revisit your plan, adjust it as needed, and make sure you have a contingency plan in place.
Expect the unexpected during this busy season. With peak volumes of goods moving through the supply chain and the ever-present possibility of unforeseen events popping up—like a factory delay or changing customer demand—any number of challenges can arise and quickly alter the status or urgency of a shipment. Working with an experienced 3PL provider can help minimize the potential for disruption in the supply chain and help ensure your product gets to market for shoppers by facilitating a seamless shift from one mode to a faster one, like air, in order to meet demand in a timely manner.
Understand the metrics of air cargo: time and money. When you’re evaluating the costs of air cargo, freight is only one component of the equation. Inventory carrying costs and the opportunity to capture market share—especially relevant during Black Friday, when consumers are ready to spend and expect to get their hands on the products on their shopping lists—can offset freight costs. What’s more, if you can add even a single day to your timeline, there are savings to be had. The tighter the constraints, the more pricing will inch upward—which is why planning ahead, as much as possible, makes the cost perspective look even better. In addition, consider the ancillary services that happen behind the scenes, such as customs clearance and distribution/delivery sourcing. Those services may not be top of mind when considering freight options, but they move in concert with the speed of freight and are key to ensuring on time delivery. An experienced 3PL provider will keep these in mind when advising the best options for you—helping translate an optimized supply chain into lower overall transportation spend.
To learn more about how air cargo can help optimize your global supply chain, download: Optimizing Your Supply Chain with Air Cargo.
Editor’s note: As one of the United States’ biggest single shopping days of the year nears—and the unofficial start of the U.S. consumer holiday shopping season begins—we’re highlighting several areas of logistics that are integral in making Black Friday possible. Check back next week for the next post in our Countdown to Black Friday series.