Product Logistics – above and beyond

Charles Kendall Freight’s innovative Product Logistics service is designed to serve the manufacturers of fast- moving consumer goods, streamlining the supply chain from end to end. The company won the Specialist Services category of the 2018 BIFA Awards

Fast-moving consumer goods include mobile phones, clothing, health and personal care items, and foodstuffs. In the traditional supply chain model, such goods are manufactured, transported, stored, distributed, re-labelled, re- packaged and sold by numerous separate entities. Charles Kendall Freight’s core business is still

moving shipments from A to B – but in response to the changing demands of today’s shippers, the company goes beyond that brief. Managing director Peter Sunderland said: “Our

Product Logistics service bypasses the distributor, taking the product direct from the manufacturer to the market. “It brings together all of our areas of expertise,

from procurement to transport to consolidation to documentation services. For instance, we can raise a purchase order from the retailer to the brand owner, handle all the paperwork and get the goods from A to B. “We effectively own the product ourselves, and

April 2019

drip-feed it into the market.” This ‘just-in-time’ model is more efficient than

a company over-forecasting demand for a product, ordering large quantities, paying VAT and then having that product sit (expensively and potentially wastefully) in a warehouse.

‘The brand is king’ At its purpose-built facilities in the UK and the UAE, Charles Kendall Freight carries out a range of re-labelling and re-packaging activities, thereby getting more deeply involved in the supply chain than a traditional freight forwarder. The company works with regulatory authorities

to ensure it meets the requirements of the local market as well as the needs of the brand owner. There are also things like payment and shelf life to consider. “The brand is king,” Sunderland said. “It must

be protected, with goods held secure and delivered in the same condition as when they left the factory.

“We have a web store capability that can sit

behind our customers’. We fulfil the orders, so our clients do not have to administer the process themselves – but to the shipper it looks like the brand owner is doing everything. We are essentially an extension of the manufacturing process.” He observed that there is growing demand for

similar services in the US and China. “In fact, we have six locations in China, which

has a lot of cross-border e-commerce including a huge amount of business coming into the country (not just outbound), as Western products are in demand there. We work in free zones such as those at Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin [Beijing’s main port].”

Labour costs Sunderland noted that labour in China is becoming more expensive than other Southeast Asian locations, but it remains a cheaper option for reworking goods than doing so in the UK or Europe. However, some reworking has to be done at the point of origin, not at the destination, due to the strict regulations governing such activities as re-labelling foodstuffs. Compliance with such regulations is essential

to avoid rejection by Customs, fines, delays or destruction of a product, not to mention the damage that could occur to a brand’s reputation as a result. The Product Logistics service is the first of its

kind, Charles Kendall Freight said, and that innovation is a necessary attribute in today’s marketplace. “There is a lot of competition – but it keeps

you on your toes! You have to keep developing to satisfy your customers. We lose sight of our customers at our peril,” Sunderland concluded.


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