Over the last decades, retailers have heavily invested capital, time and expertise into their supply chain. Most retailers today have the necessary tools to precisely determine the logistics cost allocated to each item that gets displayed on a store shelf, in a showcase display or onto a mannequin.Standard size stretched wrap pallets of boxed clothing, food cans, books and other general merchandise travel safely in a hub-and-spoke LTL network. Replenishment orders make their way through distribution centers efficiently and every penny allocated for handling and transporting these goods from manufacturing to the final retail outlet is accounted for.
Logistics costs for delivering non-merchandising goods are different
But what about the logistics costs associated in delivering the store fixtures, architectural millwork, countertops, refrigerated cases and the many other non-merchandising parts which features practically everything sold in a retail outlet? Anyone who has attempted to receive these types of shipments through their regular inbound network can confirm that a completely different logistics approach is required to deliver these types of goods. Visual merchandising focuses on creating purchasing desire and increasing sales, the logistics component is not a priority in designing these units. The unique dimensional aspects and the fragility of these items often require additional packaging and direct drive services to limit the handling in transit and in order to avoid eminent damages. The physical attributes of such goods, however, are not the primary challenge in getting them to destination.
After hour retail fixture installations are the norm, so should be the delivery
Retail outlets run their core operations during normal business hours. A mall store will lose potential sales if a carrier occupies their main entrance for an hour and scares clients from walking into their door. Supermarkets and large scale retail stores reserve their receiving docks for the consumer goods inbound operations. After-hour installation or visual marketing teams are often the ones expecting the non-merchandising deliveries and will prefer to receive these goods after standard operating hours so they don’t get misplaced amongst general goods on a receiving dock throughout the day.
Other modest-sized retail outlets, kiosks and urbanely located storefronts do not permit access to a receiving dock and therefore require specific offloading equipment such as hydraulic liftgates or loading ramps. Heavy or bulky units will warrant the services of additional manpower typically offered by moving companies.
Select a strong partner, who understands the complexity of retail fixture logistics
The challenge becomes even more interesting when a chain of restaurants or retail outlets need to replenish, open or close an important number of locations in a reduced amount of time. Whether you are renovating a single outlet and need to replace the architectural millwork – or you have a roll-out to replenish fixtures in thousands of stores across North America – a strong logistics partner will recognize the potential roadblocks and will find the optimal solution to overcome the emerging challenges. This includes various levels of white glove service such as debris removal, reverse logistics, coordination of deliveries with mall security and project managers, basic installation, after hour deliveries or additional manpower.
Every store opening, renovation or closure has its unique components, hence, so will every tailored logistics solution.