Solving Supply Chain Challenges with Fulfillment Services
Authored by Brian Webb, Senior Vice President of J.B. Hunt Dedicated and Final Mile Services
Your business can’t grow if you don’t have your shelves stocked or inventory ready to ship. There are lots of options for getting products from your suppliers to your warehouse and out to your locations, but why not go with one that is customized to fit your specific operation?
In its most simple form, fulfillment services at J.B. Hunt are an efficient way to pool shipments from multiple suppliers and consolidate deliveries to your locations. Here’s a simple graphic to show how it works.
On the surface, it looks to be a pretty straightforward process, but as with any product move, there is a tremendous amount going on behind the scenes that we manage so you don’t have to.
Cost Savings Through Efficiency
Speed to market is paramount, but fast doesn’t always mean efficient and in many cases, it could cost you extra. You could send long-haul LTL shipments from your suppliers directly to your store, but the nature of LTL shipping isn’t built for your needs. Sometimes LTL may be necessary, but you could lose efficiency of time, number of truckloads, missed delivery windows, and service delays. Instead, your shipments could be pooled into one regional distribution center. Here, we use state-of-the-art automation to sort, segregate, and load those shipments onto a truck to one or several destinations. We implement dynamic routing for shipments which optimizes the number of deliveries and flexes with your changing volume. This results in fewer truckloads and faster deliveries, and fewer touches to products means less potential for damage.
Flexibility When You Need It
Since no two operations are alike, we customize fulfillment programs for each of our customers, but there’s room for flexibility. You may have a specific need now, but when you need to pivot, it’s good to know you don’t have to run to another provider for help. Like many businesses, one of our fulfillment customers experienced supply chain struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic. What once was a smoothly running operation was now having trouble getting shipments from suppliers. This reduced the amount of product available for their stores. However, many of these stores were experiencing a reduction in visitors. As the economy and in-store shopping picked back up, the customer was still experiencing supply issues. Because of the density of our market coverage, J.B. Hunt was able to shift resources and re-align shipment requirements to meet the customer’s needs and keep its store shelves full.
A key component in this flexibility is the unique ability J.B. Hunt has to engage other services and divisions within our own company such as our intermodal, truckload, LTL, and Dedicated Contract Services offerings. No matter what the challenges our customers face and or how markets and supply ebb and flow, J.B. Hunt Fulfillment Services can design a solution to meet today’s needs with room to grow for tomorrow. Get in touch with us today to see how J.B. Hunt Fulfillment Services can create efficiency in your supply chain.