Don't Let Shipping Details Ruin Your GTM Plan
You may have an incredible product, perfectly designed, and ready to disrupt the market. But if you can’t get it in the hands of your customers, you’re dead in the water. And the current freight situation, both domestic and overseas, can be a massive hindrance to your go-to-market plan. So we’ve noted a few tips for navigating the current reality to give you the best opportunity to avoid delays or overcome them as you prepare for a new product release.
Plan Your Orders Earlier
Seems like a no-brainer, right? But many businesses miss deadlines for getting their products on shelves during peak seasons because they simply start the production process too late. And in the current situation, it could be because they don’t factor the shift in shipping times into the equation. The same timeline you utilized for the last product likely won’t work now. Maybe it will, but that’s a big chance to take.
The same timeline you utilized for the last product you ordered likely won’t work now.
As much as it may feel out of place to see Christmas decor in the aisles during Labor Day, the freight industry is doing what retail stores have pushed customers to do for years: plan ahead. Right now, you’d be wise to include an extra 6-8 weeks more than you typically would in your production timeline. This will help ensure you are not stressed as you approach launch day. The extra steps in planning can be uncomfortable, but they likely will pay off both financially and logistically. Plan ahead and think a little farther out about what your customers will need a year or more from now. They’ll find it somewhere, and if your products are still on a ship somewhere instead of on the shelves, it will be from one of your competitors.
Research Freight Forwarders
Good production partners understand the level of trust that goes into sending your goods across the Pacific. The best ones have long-standing relationships built on open and ongoing communication. However, you may have your own resources, as well, and you should always speak up and go with the option that best fits your needs. If you have a trusted freight partner, a good production partner should be happy to work with them (they are always looking for new, proven partners, anyway). And if there is anything the we need right now to address the current lag in freight and shipping, it’s creative minds coming together to find feasible solutions.
Increase Order Quantities
In the past you may have had the luxury of ordering 4 times a year (an order for each season), or even twice a year with no issue receiving your products on time. But one of the best solutions to navigating this ever-changing freight market, is to combine your orders and ship as much as you can at once. This has a couple of benefits.
Combine your orders and ship as much as you can at once.
First, shipping a full container load is faster than a partial container load. Meaning, if you have enough product (pallets) to fill an entire container, you are likely to receive it more quickly than you would if your product only filled half a container. Many shippers wait around to fill the rest of a container if one is not full. And a given port takes a lot longer to sort through partially filled containers to locate your product when it is combined with other peoples’ products. When a container is yours alone, there is no searching required.
Second, the price difference between shipping partial and full container loads is quickly narrowing, which may make it worth paying the extra amount to get your product in your hands faster. Additionally, plants may sometimes provide discounts when multiple orders are shipped together. So it may behove you to look a product or two ahead in order to save some of the production costs, shipping costs, and ensure that your product will be to market on time with plenty of supply to fill the orders you’ll receive.
Freight delays are certainly no reason to avoid the production process; you just need to plan well for possible problems and search for sustainable solutions.
If you're ready to create brand-developing products that connect with your customers and enhance your brand—and you'd like help with all of these timeline details—CōDRA is the collaborative partner you need. Contact us here.