It’s no secret that consumers’ buying habits have shifted. We live in a time where it has become an expectation to order something and then receive it in just two days. Unfortunately, this expectation can be difficult to deliver on in some industries, especially those our customers serve. That being said, there is an option to help customers that want to cut lead times while maintaining quality, and that is by creating a quick ship program.
In order to stay competitive with companies overseas offering low cost, lower quality products, OEMs are creating solutions that allow them to reduce lead-times from 21 or more days all the way down to 10 or fewer days. By targeting their most popular sizes and colors, representing around 60 to 80 percent of sales, manufacturers can choose the perfect combination of SKUs to include in a quick ship program. The industry as a whole is moving this way, and now is the time to put a plan into place to adapt and give your company a competitive edge.
Here are a few solutions to best utilize a quick ship program with an outsource partner:
- 1. Decrease lead times by having raw material in stock. You specify the materials and colors, and your partner will keep them in stock and ready to produce at a moments notice.
- 2. Even better than having raw material ready to make your parts, build a stock of finished parts with a partner who's ready to ship when you need them. The advantage here, you don't have to keep them in inventory.
- 3. You know the colors and sizes you need. Go ahead and order them in bulk today, get your parts made and shipped to you, put them in your inventory and send them right when your customers order. When you're running low, simply order more. You can even have them individually boxed, so they are ready to go.
Recently, a customer created a plan to eliminate the standard three-week lead time from placing an order to receiving tops for some of their projects. They wanted to be able to start assembling final products right after receiving an order, and deliver in less than 10 days. Our customer created a new line of work surfaces, eight sizes and two colors, based on research from their sales volume. In order to meet those expectations, we created a stocking program to keep the materials in house to make finished product to put in inventory. Now we have product produced and ready to ship when they need it—no lead time required.
The concept: Companies can create a new option with a limited product offering. But in return, customers are gaining the speed in which they receive their order. They get to make the decision, “Do I want it quick, or custom?”