March 5, 2015

Another storm has swept through the southern states and is currently impacting the East coast. Much as Octavia did two weeks ago, Thor came in the night and left commuters and delivery companies alike to deal with its mess.

Reaching for the shovels again, we’ve marched outside to look Thor square in the eye (of the storm) and tell him in no uncertain terms, “we’re open!”

Digging car out of snow
Digging out of Thor at our NJ facility

 

The snow has forced many companies to call off operations for the day, however, as winter advisory warnings go up around the Northeast and New Jersey has declared a state of emergency. Capacity is up and running despite this latest dump of the white stuff, while carriers are shutting down in some areas, struggling to stay on top of the deluge.

UPS issued the following bulletin to make customers aware that scheduled deliveries will be disrupted:

Severe weather in Louisville, KY caused a significant disruption to operations at Worldport®, UPS’s main hub in the United States. As a result, some shipments may experience unavoidable delays.

UPS is working to move shipments to their final destinations as quickly as possible.

EMP and FedEx trailers in snow
Trailers line up at Capacity’s NJ loading bays

 

One bright spot of this particular storm is that some believe it’s the last one for this winter. Whether or not you believe the weather men and women, two things are for sure: the clocks go forward for spring this weekend and the seasons officially change in two weeks time.

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We’re no softies when it comes to snow, but everyone will be cracking a smile as the sun starts to shine again and temperatures rise to melt all this white stuff. Until then, keep on truckin’!

 

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. Continue reading Disruption & Delay as Winter Storm Octavia Hits the South

December 22, 2014
Capacity Leaders, Disney and Silly Hats
Happy Holidays from Capacity LLC!

The last-minute orders are shipping and final deliveries being made, leaving only the logistics of getting your gifts wrapped (and perhaps hiding the sherry from Grandpa) to take care of.

Before you head back into the holiday madness, take five to put your feet up and enjoy some of these crazy logistic of Christmas statistics that bring out the best (and worst!) of the season: Continue reading Silly Hats and Santa Stats: The Logistics of Christmas

November 7, 2014

Earlier this week we talked about the preparations of major delivery companies ahead of what could be a record-breaking seasonal surge in shipping. Today we turn to another seasonal inevitability, the raising of the rates.

UPS and Fed-Ex have both confirmed that their charges will go up just before the New Year dawns. An average rate rise of 4.9% is the magic number this time around, and it joins the dimensional weight adjustment that we discussed earlier this year as an important factor to price into shipping costs for 2015.

 

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Given the additional consideration of dimension-based pricing, as a shipper of smaller packages you may find that your cost increases actually run into a double-digit percentage rise.

Costs can accelerate quickly if your business scales in a short period, so make sure you know what’s coming ahead of time and get your calculations in place for your full range of products. Combination packs may prove particularly variable and your decisions as to the contents of things like monthly gift boxes may be affected by the changes coming into effect. Even if things don’t change too much, it’s worth going through the exercise to get a current handle on your shipping & handling.

We’ll take a closer look at how these changes affect e-commerce merchants before the year is out, but to get a head start it’s worth checking out the advice of your regular delivery provider. UPS has advice here, while Fed Ex offers the same here.

 

 

November 3, 2014

As the calendar flips through to November shippers are inevitably in full swing, coordinating the arrival of a constant flow of goods into the country to satisfy our notoriously hungry seasonal demand.

While it’s not unusual to predict record-breaking years, this peak season seems set to be a doozy. Not only are major carriers like UPS expecting a bumper burst of action across a number of individual days, they also have the failures of 2013 fresh in the memory. In the final weeks of the year, insufficient resources and adverse weather conditions combined to prevent the smooth delivery required by a burst of late shopping.

Carriers have no desire to see a repeat of the backlog that occurred then at this most sensitive time of year. More advance predictions of an expected surge for the 2014 holidays will set the stage for the logistics industry’s equivalent of “Ground & Pound” (though hopefully with much closer coordination than this year’s Jets defense!)

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As the article says, UPS thinks it could see up to 34 million packages delivered on its single busiest day this December. This would top the heaviest day of 2013 by some 3 million packages, fueled by the continued growth of ecommerce and the opportunity that retailers see to drive early sales by offering special deals earlier online. Traditionally Cyber Monday, which follows Thanksgiving weekend and the expected physical retail therapy of Black Friday, has been the focus of online sales pushes.

But more and more in recent years retailers have tried to convince customer to make their move earlier, with web specials on Thanksgiving itself and even pre-holiday deals to whet the appetite.

Combined with  a resurgent economy and more confident consumers we’d have to say that the record-breaking predictions will prove well-founded this year. Retailers with robust supply chains and intelligent advance planning will see the fruits of their labors even more than most years, as products flow more smoothly through the distribution process and out to end customers in good time for the holiday season.

And if you’re on the other side of this process, ready and waiting to join the holiday throngs for hourly online deals and the more classic “doorbuster” specials (bring your pads!), you could do worse than to check out USA Today’s 10 big Black Friday predictions. We wish you a safe shopping season!