The women’s apparel sector alone was a $116.4 billion industry in 2013, up 4% from the previous year according to Global Biz Circle. Although revenue across apparel categories is only expected to rise over the next decade, new consumer demands and increased competition is making it more challenging for apparel companies to increase profit margins.
A key contributor to these new obstacles is the explosion of e-commerce platforms. Online clothing sales exceeded $44 billion in 2014 and are projected to top $52 billion this year. A major element of the apparel and footwear supply chain that can address budget strains and help streamline costs is transportation. Here are three keys for managing truckload transportation costs:
Isolate Transportation Costs
This is often easier said than done. As fulfillment processes become more complex, the actual cost of transportation can be difficult to identify. Shippers are often forced to revisit contract terms and look for cost-effective solutions. Looking across all of your transportation partners and options and how they fit in with your overall strategy can help to identify key differentiators and advantages that can positively impact your business.
Consider Every Transportation Variable
Every step of the transportation process from how an item enters the distribution center to how it is picked, packed, packaged, put on pallets and loaded can have a drastic impact on your transportation costs. Then beyond the doors of the warehouse factors such as carrier availability, customer requirements and the actual transit logistics need to be negotiated to create a streamlined transportation operation. The ability to optimize these variables, at least the controllable ones, will go a long way in trimming costs and expanding your existing resources.
Much like in every other facet of life today, technology is making things faster and easier than ever before. In terms of transportation this comes in the form of the TMS, or transportation management system. With the growth of cloud technology, TMS software is now becoming more advanced and affordable than ever. Updates and maintenance are no longer a burden and visibility all across the entire transportation operation is stronger than ever.
While these are only a few areas where apparel truckload transportation can be enhanced, it is important to realize that the opportunity to make improvements exists. As consumers continue to have more options and the ability to place orders from anywhere to anywhere, supply chains will face new and greater challenges. To meet these challenges, Barrett Distribution Centers creates customized supply chain and transportation strategies to meet the needs of apparel manufacturers.