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2019 SCI Leadership Meeting: Back to the Future

Every year SCI invites their leaders to a Leadership Meeting where we learn, grow and celebrate together. This year, the SCI Leadership Meeting was held on March 26th in Mississauga.

This year’s theme was Back to the Future. From interactive team building to client spotlights, from director panels to recognition awards, the day looked back at the great successes SCI has accomplished together over the past year and set the team up for continued growth in 2019 and beyond.

Over the course of three days, our leaders had the opportunity to network with their peers from across the country, meet new people, hear directly from clients, and recognize all of the Continuous Improvement and Safety award winners throughout the company.

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New Healthcare Clients Drive SCI Growth

SCI Launches New Healthcare Facility in Mississauga

TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2019 – SCI (www.sci.ca), a leading Canadian 3PL logistics company, has announced the launch of its new healthcare-dedicated facility in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The 150,000-ft2 fully-licensed distribution centre (DC) represents SCI’s latest investment in healthcare logistics aimed at helping over-the-counter healthcare product and medical device companies manage their omni-channel supply chains within Canada. This latest facility increases SCI’s overall footprint to over 4 million square feet across Canada with a total of 30 distribution centres.

The multi-client DC is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for storing temperature-sensitive healthcare products such as drugs and natural health products; as well as offering a high throughput automated order-to-kit operation designed for the OTC and Consumer Packaged Goods industries. In addition, SCI can provide distribution services, warehouse management, transportation management and late-stage customization solutions such as labeling, product kitting and configuration, and repackaging.

This new distribution centre will be managed under SCI’s Quality Management System, which operates rigid process controls through all areas of the supply chain. This ensures healthcare clients will effectively comply with Canadian regulatory standards and safety protocols. Sensitivity and security of the customer product and reputation are paramount to SCI.

“This announcement demonstrates SCI’s continued investment in the integrated healthcare network. Our goal is to help manufacturers lower costs, streamline inventory, and meet increasing demands posed by ecommerce, trading partners and Health Canada” says Peter Tostevin, Vice President Healthcare, SCI. “This investment comes on the heels of a year of significant growth in our healthcare logistics division.”

“We’re thrilled to be opening our brand new Healthcare facility”, says Chris Galindo, President and CEO of the SCI Group. “This is a continuation of our strategy to invest in leading technology, resources and infrastructure to support client growth.” As more healthcare companies diversify into new markets, we can play a significant role in the evolution of this important sector.

About SCI
SCI is one of Canada’s leading providers of supply chain solutions that go beyond traditional logistics services. SCI’s tagline “We’ll make you even better” is a commitment today from a business that’s leading clients into tomorrow.

Trusted by clients in the retail, e-commerce, technology, and healthcare sectors, SCI operates the most extensive national distribution and transportation network in Canada, consisting of 30 distribution centres coast to coast along with over 40 critical parts stocking locations and specialized white glove shipping hubs.

SCI shares the learnings from the sectors they operate in, providing the audience with information to guide their supply chain to success through blog posts, case studies and white papers.

For further information, please contact

SCI | www.sci.ca | Natasha Wookey | (647) 237-4972 | natasha.wookey@sci.ca

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SCI’s Partner is Pioneering Infant Nutrition Initiative

SCI’s Partner is Pioneering Infant Nutrition Initiative

SCI delivers new Canadian D2C Infant Nutrition program with RB Health (Canada)

TORONTO (ONTARIO), November 19, 2018 – SCI www.sci.ca, a leading Canadian 3PL logistics company, has partnered with RB Health (Canada), the leader in the North American Infant Nutrition, on a unique Canadian program for their Enfamil family of brands (https://www.enfamil.ca).

SCI will provide direct-to-consumer (D2C) supply chain services for RB Health (Canada) as it launches Enfamil into new Canadian channels.  This unique D2C offering will allow parents to have peace of mind by ordering all their infant nutrition products direct from the manufacturer.  Additionally, Mead Johnson will offer its customers special product promotions and additional support resources to help families navigate the early years of childhood.  The pioneering D2C initiative, underscores Enfamil’s leadership position in the Infant Nutrition market.

RB Health (Canada) partnered with SCI to provide fulfillment services for the D2C platform, as a result of their extensive healthcare ecommerce experience and direct linkage to the largest delivery network in the country.  SCI provides national fulfillment out of its healthcare campus in Mississauga, with the ability to support RB Health (Canada)’s footprint across Canada.  RB Health (Canada) will also be able to take advantage of SCI’s unique product kitting and value-added services.

enfamil

“We are thrilled to support the strategic move of RB Health (Canada) into the D2C space.  We see this as a key focus area for all fast moving consumer package goods companies, and RB is a first mover in the space” says Peter Tostevin, Vice President Healthcare, SCI. “SCI has successfully launched the RB Health (Canada) D2C program, and we are looking to rapidly expand in the near future.”

 About RB Health (Canada)

Reckitt Benckiser acquired the Mead Johnson Enfamil family of brands in January 2017, including Enfamil A+, Gentelease and Nutramigen + with LGG with a strong focus on the health and development of infants and children. We are the only global company focused primarily on Infant and Child nutrition. That singular devotion has made our flagship “Enfa” line the leading infant nutrition brand in the world. Today, RB Health (Canada) develops and markets safe, high quality, innovative products that help meet the nutritional needs of infants and children. With more than 70 products in over 50 countries, RB Health (Canada) products are trusted by millions of parents and healthcare professionals around the world.

About SCI

SCI is one of Canada’s leading providers of supply chain solutions that go beyond traditional logistics services. SCI’s motto “We’ll make you even better” is a commitment today from a business that’s leading clients into tomorrow. Trusted by clients in the retail, e-commerce, technology, and healthcare sectors, SCI operates the most extensive national distribution and transportation network in Canada, consisting of 27 distribution centres coast to coast along with over 40 critical parts stocking locations and specialized white glove shipping hubs.  SCI shares the learnings from the sectors they operate in, providing the audience with information to guide their supply chain to success through blog posts, case studies and white papers.

For further information, please contact

SCI | www.sci.ca | Natasha Wookey | (647) 237-4972 | natasha.wookey@sci.ca

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Choosing a 3PL Isn’t Just About Cost Anymore

In order to stay competitive, businesses need to always be looking for opportunities to make better use of limited resources, including personnel, equipment, facilities, and capital. For this reason, many companies wisely turn to third-party logistics (3PL) partners in order to achieve greater levels of efficiency, better customer service, and lower costs.

However, it’s important to know that not all 3PL logistics providers are created equal. Supply chain companies have different areas of expertise, and while  certain companies may come in at a lower overall cost, the level of service and capabilities are often vastly different. A great logistics partner will be able to support a long term competitive advantage for the right price.

Here are some of the key factors to look at when considering different 3PL providers.

Resource Availability

A 3PL partner may have a lower cost due to the smaller pool of resources available to them. Fewer locations, older technology, smaller fleets, and other factors can all play a big role in your company’s ability to meet the demands of an aggressive market.

Look at the network of locations that your 3PL has in place and weigh them against your long-term expansion goals.  For example, if you’re planning on growing on a national level, you want to ensure that your 3PL partner can handle the demands in the areas you are focusing on. Keep in mind that the resources you need today aren’t always going to be the same resources you need in the future.

In addition, top-tier 3PL providers will have strategically-located facilities at the ports of entry to enable smooth import and export of goods across international borders. When shipping products to or from overseas, having the resources in place to handle the necessary processes can significantly reduce the risk of any delays associated with border crossing.

 

Knowledge & Experience

Another consideration is the level of expertise and industry knowledge that a 3PL can offer you in your specific industry. You’re going to want a team of experts that require very little vendor management with a wide range of hands-on expertise on how to make your supply chain work faster, leaner, and smarter. This knowledge can help keep you within your operating budget and lead to not only meeting your growth goals but exceeding them.

Experienced 3PL companies will have all the appropriate licensing in place and can help make sure that any regulatory concerns related to your products are handled correctly. Their experience also provides assurance that your products will be handled with the proper care, and that they are stored and transported in the correct conditions to reduce the risk of damage or loss along the various stages of the supply chain. When considering different 3PL providers, it can be insightful to take a look at the other businesses they work with, as well as the growth history and evolution of their company. If they are true 3PL experts, they’ll have the heritage to back it up and the client list to prove it. When you’re investing extensive capital in to your supply chain, you want the assurance that you’re making the right choices.

Support When You Need It

While we all expect operations to run smoothly in the supply chain, the reality is that there will always be occasional issues, some minor, some major. The difference between a minor issue and a disaster will depend on the support systems you have in place. This can be one of the biggest differences between 3PL providers, and it can have big repercussions for your business.

Take the time to thoroughly evaluate the 3PL provider’s support systems and customer service capabilities. You will quickly be able to identify which providers are delivering greater value through added service and support.  Getting your operations back on track quickly and efficiently is critical to delivering on customer expectations, and having the right support systems makes all the difference.

Leverage Technology

Of course, it’s not just the physical resources and personnel that make a good 3PLpartner. You also need one who can deliver the best insights that are derived from accurate data in order to guide you to better strategies for growth and success. Technology plays a big role here, and the implementation of systems to gather and transmit critical data can have a huge impact on your ability to adjust to changing market conditions and make better decisions based on your business’s analytics.

Automation of processes is another way that 3PL providers can deliver greater value and help your company boost efficiencies throughout your supply chain. Whether it is in inventory management, order fulfilment, demand planning or materials handling, automation can lead to cost reduction and improve quality control. Look for a 3PL partner that has an expertise in the right automation for your supply chain where it where it gives you the most long term gains.

Take a Step Back and See the Bigger Picture

As you can see, there are many different ways that third-party logistics providers are able to differentiate themselves. This is why it’s important to take a step back when choosing a partner and see a holistic view of what they are able to offer that goes far beyond the simple financial cost. By having a more complete picture of the benefits they can bring to the partnership, you’ll be in a better position to make the right choice for the future of your business.

If you’re looking for a leading 3PL with national coverage, leading edge technology, customized solutions and dedicated customer care, then contact the SCI team today.

Our logistics experts will answer all of your questions and work with you to achieve your goals of a smarter, more efficient supply chain that is ready for the challenges of tomorrow.

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How Can 3PL Logistics Services Add Value and Drive Customer Purchases?

Consumer behaviour is an interesting field of study, and one that is in a constant state of evolution. Thanks to the introduction of new technologies, new retail and e-commerce models, and global social communications, the way we shop and evaluate our options as consumers is vastly different than it was even a few years ago.

Traditional marketing thinking often focuses on the benefits and advantages of the product itself, taking in to consideration factors like price, features, functions, and style. Indeed, while these are all extremely important elements, modern consumers are looking at the entire experience from end to end in-depth and with greater scrutiny than ever before. This is especially true in commodity-based items like consumer electronics, where 10 other retailers all carry the same models.

This means that all of the other elements that impact their shopping experience need to be carefully evaluated and optimized, and this includes your supply chain and logistics operations. When you take a step back and look at the whole customer experience that your company offers, you’ll realize just how critical your supply chain is, and how drastically it can influence the experience your customers have.

Let’s explore some of the key factors that are tied directly to your supply chain and logistics processes, and how you can leverage them as added value to your customers.

Retail & E-commerce Experience

The first point of direct contact that your customers have with your business is generally either your website or a retail location, and this is where set the tone for their experience. As your customer browses your retail showroom or navigates the various sections of your website, inventory management plays a critical role in determining if they can find what they’re looking for – if it’s available in their local store, and if they can order online and pickup in store, a popular option these days.

Inventory needs to be well-organized, appropriately stocked, and accessible to the customers. If your supply chain falls behind in maintaining stock volumes or hits delays in shipment times, the impact on your customer experience is significant. However, by enabling transparency in stock volumes and providing an easy way to navigate through all the available options, you are able to manage expectations and provide alternatives in the event that a particular item may not be immediately available.

In addition, the retail experience can be enhanced with e-commerce tools. Allowing customers to place their order for the desired products, having it either shipped directly to their home or notifying them when the products come in to stock at their preferred retail location, provides a lot of added value and convenience. 3PL logistics services can help reduce friction in these areas by integrating retail and e-commerce systems that simplify the customer shopping experience.

Picking, Packing, and Shipping

The speed of order fulfilment is also an important element of the customer experience. Once they’ve placed their order with you, how fast will it get picked, packed, and shipped out the door? By equipping your supply chain with efficient methods and tools like automation, you can reduce the time between order placement and delivery.

Leveraging 3PL services will help you refine your warehousing and distribution operations by increasing efficiency of fulfilment, as well as greater accuracy and consistency in picking and packing processes. Furthermore, 3PL logistics can improve your packaging to help prevent damage during shipping and make for a more pleasant customer experience during the unboxing and setup steps once they receive their items.

Flexible and on-demand transportation resources from 3PL logistics providers allow your company to reduce delivery times, as well as serve distant or remote markets more effectively. This means that customers that were previously inaccessible to you due to geographic limitations are now able to place their orders and receive them quickly.

Transparency & Communication

Another potential point of friction in the customer experience is the ability for customers to obtain information on the status of their orders and the availability of products. Enhanced e-commerce tools available from 3PL service providers allow up-to-date inventory volumes to be displayed directly on your product pages on your website and allow customers to track their orders in real-time directly from their account.

Communication of status updates can also be automated using 3PL services. This way your customers can be automatically notified regarding a wide range of topics that can help add value to their experience. They can receive stock level notifications, order updates, shipping times, returns processing details, and more. By providing greater transparency about the information that matters to customers, 3PL services help to further enhance their overall experience.

Reverse Logistics

Customers are also placing a great deal of importance on the returns policy and processes that a company offers in the event that there is some type of mistake with their order. While this can occur for a variety of reasons, such as ordering the wrong size or colour, or perhaps due to a missing part or component, the ability for the customer to have the issue corrected is of critical importance.

You can offer a simpler and easier returns experience for your customers by utilizing 3PL services to handle your reverse logistics. Tools can be implemented that allow your customers to easily submit returns requests online and get the information they need. Alternatively, phone systems and support can be put in place that provides personal service directly to customers and assists them with their needs.

Whatever the best method for managing returns and reverse logistics tasks will be for your customers, the most important aspect is to make sure that the process is smooth and easy from their perspective. By making it simple for customers to have their problems corrected, you can provide a lot of value and help improve customer retention and satisfaction.

Add Value in Everything You Do

If you’re sensing a theme throughout this article, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that providing value in the customer experience wherever you can is the ultimate goal, and your logistics and supply chain processes are no exception. Your business thrives when you offer the best combination of value and experience to your customers, and so it’s important to look for every opportunity you can in order to achieve that goal.

For companies looking to gain a competitive advantage through value-added 3PL logistics services, you can get started by contacting the team here at SCI today.

We are ready to help your business provide a better consumer experience, improve customer acquisition, and boost loyalty with efficient and effective logistics solutions.  Contact us today and get the conversation started.

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Lean Supply Chain Operations or Greater Flexibility?

Optimizing your supply chain to better suit the unique needs of your business is a wise move, and one that leads to higher efficiencies, an improved customer experience, and greater competitive advantage. However, many companies face challenges in determining if they would be better off striving for a lean and simplified supply chain or if they should opt for a supply chain that is more flexible and dynamic.

This is not an easy question to answer, and each company will inevitably reach a different conclusion that is somewhere on the spectrum between the two. Most businesses quickly realize that a blend of the two approaches is the best way to go, picking and choosing logistics elements from each supply chain strategy that provide the greatest benefits for their future success.

To understand what the best balance of lean and flexibility will be for your business, it’s important to take a look at the benefits and limitations of each approach. Then you can adjust your supply chain strategy accordingly to leverage the elements that best fit the demands of your market, the needs of your customers, and your competitive situation.

Benefits of a Lean Supply Chain

By definition, a lean supply chain will provide the most cost-effective approach to ensuring that your products are moved efficiently and consistently throughout your supply chain. It achieves this by determining the minimum resources needed to achieve each task along the path in the supply chain, without making sacrifices that would negatively impact quality or other critical aspects of your business.

Lean focuses on reducing waste, improving speed, maximizing floor space utilization, and continually building greater value in to the entire supply chain. The benefits that a lean supply chain can bring to a company are numerous, such as lower operating costs and reduced overhead. Employee productivity, improved quality, shorter lead times, and reduced waste generation are additional benefits that come from a lean approach to supply chain management.

By leveraging a lean supply chain, businesses can help improve their bottom line and redirect resources in to other aspects of their operations such as product development, marketing, manufacturing, and many others. Lean supply chains can be a significant advantage in markets where competition is fierce and profit margins are challenging.

Limitations of a Lean Supply Chain

While the benefits of a lean supply chain are certainly appealing for many businesses, it’s important to also understand the limitations that a lean supply chain carries. Specifically, lean supply chains work best when the flow of products through the system are predictable and consistent. This is because the processes are optimized for maximum efficiency based on a certain level of throughput, and if the throughput changes, the efficiencies will change along with it.

In the event that the flow of products suddenly decreases, which can occur for a wide range of reasons including seasonal trends and competitive activity, then there is potential for a lean operation to experience underutilized resources. Excess warehouse space and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments are just a couple of examples of how this can occur.

Contrarily, if the flow of products experiences an unexpected surge, there may not be enough capacity in the supply chain to effectively handle the increased volumes. This can result in a spike in operating costs stemming from overtime hours, additional transportation costs, temporary warehousing, and many other factors.

Benefits of a Flexible Supply Chain

For companies who face unpredictable markets, or for those businesses that are experiencing rapid growth, the limitations of a lean supply chain can hinder their ability to effectively meet demand. In these types of instances, establishing a flexible and dynamic supply chain can be the better approach.

Flexible supply chains are far more effective at dealing with the ebbs and flows of seasonal industries, as well as changing demand due to new advancements in product technologies, and rapid expansion in to new and emerging markets.

This is accomplished by leveraging a wide range of dynamic resources such as shared warehousing, LTL and same-day transportation, and many other 3PL logistics services.

By having the ability to add or subtract supply chain resources at any time, companies who take a flexible approach are able to adjust quickly to the needs of the market. In many industries, this nimble logistics method can be a substantial competitive advantage, especially when time-to-market is of critical importance.

Limitations of a Flexible Supply Chain

It’s clear that many companies are best suited to flexible supply chains, but there are still some factors at play that can be a challenge for businesses that are not prepared for them. For example, because flexible supply chains often rely on third-party logistics providers, they require a certain level of trust to be placed on those 3PL firms to provide a customer experience that lives up to the brand promises. For this reason, companies using flexible supply chain strategies need to choose their 3PL partners carefully.

In addition, the costs associated with temporary warehousing and transportation resources will likely be slightly higher than what would be seen with dedicated resources that have been optimized with a lean approach. Although they do carry the added advantage of only being an expense when they are actually needed, for companies that require them often these additional costs can add up.

Which Approach is Right for Your Business?

So, which method is the best choice for your business? Well, the answer of course is ‘it depends’. The reality is that every company will need to incorporate elements of both in to their logistics strategy. Although your needs may sway more to one approach than the other, there are benefits to be gained by using both where it makes the most sense.

You may choose to invest in a very lean approach to your warehousing, inventory management, and order fulfilment operations, while simultaneously taking advantage of flexible transportation resources to get products where they need to be quickly.

On the other hand, perhaps the best approach would be a combination of shared and dedicated warehousing capacity that your transportation fleet can move between during the peaks and valleys of your seasonal sales cycles.

Whatever solution your company decides to go with, it’s absolutely essential to partner with 3PL logistics providers that have the expertise and experience to help your business succeed.

To learn more about how you can incorporate lean or flexible supply chain strategies in to your business, contact the team of logistics experts here at SCI.

We’d be glad to assist you and answer any questions you may have.

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