February 26, 2015

Last fall, Capacity was featured by the fine folks at Transportation and Infrastructure magazine, one of the leading media outlets covering the vast spectrum of supply chain services. We picked up the print edition at the time (PDF below), and can now share the piece with you here online.

An important element of what was discussed, the importance of flexibility in order fulfillment, is also a timely one, given the major disruption experienced by west coast supply chain operations in recent months. Continue reading The Advantage of Adaptation and Flexibility in Order Fulfillment

February 18, 2015

One of the great joys of our industry is that we get to work with so many different types of products and brands, from the chic selection we see in health and beauty, to the intricate supply chains of apparel and the demanding development of technology brands.

When it comes to pure fun, however, it’s the toy brands that are always guaranteed to deliver!

That’s why we had no choice (poor, poor us) to head over to the 2015 Toy Fair at New York City’s Javits Center earlier this week. Not only to visit clients who were displaying their latest and greatest items at the event, but for some vital industry research into key supply chain issues and logistics… okay, fine, we just really love to play with the toys… it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Here’s a selection of shots taken by our lucky attendees:

 

 On our way to the Javits Center, the powerful presence of Barbie loomed large to greet us…

Barbie Princess Power

…and in to see the award-winning range of beautifully designed Playsam toys.

Playsam - client VICI

Anyone with cavalier kids will appreciate the combination of neon cool and safety of the Brightz light range. High vis. gear for the very young!

Brightz

Also high visibility, thanks to their iconic brand identity and widely distributed range of products that every new parent knows well, is NYC’s own Skip Hop!
Skip-Hop

We build supply chains, Tegu builds awesome magnetic block models… both are equally cool, right? Right?!
TEGU-Magnetic Building Blocks

And one of the best announcements we saved for last, with Wicked Cool Toys revealing a high-power brand partnership with the Girl Scouts. You can read more about that here (but just know that you can now make those famous cookies around the clock, in your own home!)
Wicked Cool Toys - girl scouts

This captures just a small segment of Toy Fair 2015, but you can catch a lot more on the Instagram or Twitter feeds covering the event. (Just be prepared for a lot of cute little Groots…)

And if you’re a growing toy brand and want to know more about mixing fun with order fulfillment, get in touch with us today!

February 17, 2015

As a result of ongoing severe weather conditions, both FedEx and UPS have warned customers to expect delivery delays today. Winter storm Octavia passed through the southern states overnight with less overt warning than previous weather events, delivering around one foot of snow and severe icy conditions, the like of which the region has not seen for some twenty years.

Anyone who reads our blog regularly will know that we had cause to pull out the shovels on several occasions last year, and it looks like the nation is getting an unwanted share of this experience. From the East coast blizzard in late January, to Octavia’s less hyped but no less disruptive impact this week, most areas of the U.S. have been forced to figure out what to do when winter steps in on their supply chain.

truck stuck in snow
Digging out in New Jersey last year. Around the country, this winter has been just as challenging.

For the country’s two major delivery services, the impact was immediate and widespread.

FedEx reported that it experienced “substantial sort disruptions” at its Memphis, TN hub overnight, resulting in uncertainty over whether delivery commitments for the day will make their deadlines.

UPS made a similar announcement regarding its main service center in Louisville, KY. The statement goes on to tell customers that they are working hard to move shipments to their final destinations today, but that some may experience unavoidable delays that are not covered by the company’s service guarantee.

It followed up this afternoon with details of the most affected areas:

“Severe winter weather is impacting service in areas of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, including locations in Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. There will be no pickups or deliveries today in the affected areas.” –Brown Bulletin, 2/17/15

As of Tuesday morning the East coast was being impacted by Octavia, with difficult driving conditions and a winter weather advisory in effect until noon. Conditions are expected to clear as the week continues, leaving delivery services to play catch up on shipments that didn’t make it out.

If your customers are expecting deliveries this week, the key to keeping them as happy as possible is communication. Most of us understand that severe weather is unavoidable and delays will happen. What they accept less is not knowing what’s happening, which is where your service team can step in to help track packages and reset expectations for revised delivery times.

Part of keeping your communications responsive is knowing what’s going on around the supply chain in the first place. For more frequent email updates on this and other industry news, or to enable another contact to receive these updates, click here to sign up. Stay safe… and warm!

February 11, 2015

With the severe congestion on the U.S. west coast, shippers are searching for alternative ways to get their cargo into the country.

Even with several major ports available up the coast from Los Angeles and Long Beach, where much of the media coverage has been focused, the influence of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is significant enough to slow all western intake to a crawl.

Nor are the port operators free from blame in the protracted negotiations, which have now entered their ninth month. But playing the blame game is the last thing on the mind of business owners. Continue reading A Quick Look at Why Bicoastal is Best for Order Fulfillment

February 5, 2015
English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain
Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of us in the U.S., Target’s announcement that it would be shutting up shop in Canada came as something of  a surprise.

The big box retailer experiences big bucks success here in its homeland, and with Canadians extremely receptive to having the brand open its doors north of the border, the 133 stores that appeared should have been set for a bright future. Continue reading Supply Chain Lessons from Target’s Calamity in Canada