In today’s session, we’re joined by three panelists who have experienced the dreaded supply chain crash. We’re all here to discuss the supply chain disaster and why are they failing? We also go into solutions and try to figure out a way to get around those ‘disasters’!
First, let us introduce you to our panelists:
Business Director of Zee, Rael Lowenthal.
Zee is a company that focuses specifically on Amazon FBA and has experienced the same supply chain difficulties.
Co-partner of Honu, Afolabi Oyerokun
The company is an ecommerce platform that helps buy, sell, ship, and fulfill products based across both Pennsylvania and China.
Director of Business Development at Noviland, Francois Jaffres.
Noviland is a sourcing, production oversight, quality control inspection, and logistics company in the US.
Now, to better understand…
Supply chain management is a process that helps a product get from point A to point B. From the manufacturing to the distribution, shipping, and importing process. The supply chain management is the one-stop-shop system that is set up to make the process a little easier.
There have been setbacks and delays in all areas of the supply chain management process. Delays in manufacturing, distribution, shipping containers, carriers… Every aspect you can think of from company to product to customers has been a lengthy process and a troubling task.
There have been vessels carrying products stuck at ports, a shortage of shipping containers, and a shortage of carrier drivers. Without the people behind each step, how does the product get to the rightful owner? And how do businesses survive?
It’s just backup, after backup, after backup! There’s no single bottleneck that’s causing this.Rael
Can you guess how many empty containers are sitting at Long Beach right now? Tune in to find out if you guessed correctly!
Is there anything we can do to speed up the process as of today?
There’s the option of quieter ports, but where can you ship the product that has the least amount of congestion?
Talk to your factory owners and tell them your plans! Ask them what they can do for you and what you can do for them. Build strong relationships with your suppliers and factories. If you try and help them, they will go above and beyond to help you!
Set up multiple shipping routes and plan, plan, plan! Plan ahead to avoid any hiccups during the process.
Made in the USA!
If your products can be sourced in the US or Canada, why not start exploring that idea? By sourcing in the same country or a country a little closer, you avoid shipping and port disruptions, especially with today’s rates, it may not be too crazy to think about sourcing in your home country.
Walmart has a 10-year plan to source more goods that have the ‘made in the USA’ label into its stores; an incentive to move over to US manufacturers and factories.
Change up your materials – can they be sourced in the US? Learn more about this topic, listen to the full session above.
[00:00:00] if you want to hear more entrepreneurial information, startup club has a huge well, a large group of rooms that target entrepreneurs. So just click the green house and you’ll have notifications. Some of the things we’re going to be covering. We are going to be talking about what exactly supply chain is, what’s happening, why it’s happening, what are some, some solutions to get around that and, um, just, you know, general topics and tips and tricks that we might be able to do to get around it.
So I’m going to just go around the room really quickly and just to introduce. The guest panelists. So real. How are you? Who are you? [00:01:00] What do you do? I know. Um, and hi to the listeners. Um, my, obviously you could’ve have seen, my name is Rael Lowenthal, uh, I’m the director of business development at a company called Z.
Uh, we are an import of record and logistics specialist for e-commerce sellers. Uh, we focus specifically on Amazon FBA. Uh, but we do, uh, obviously service other clients on Shopify and various other channels. Um, yeah. Looking forward to being, yeah, I think, you know, we’re experiencing an incredible amount of disruptions, both in our clients, uh, production supply chain, and then obviously in the logistics and then, uh, throw Amazon into the mix with, um, uh, stock limitations.
It’s, it’s just all a huge recipe for, for navigation, for Amazon sellers. But looking forward to the.
Hey, I was just talking to myself like I normally do, [00:02:00] but, uh, anyways, I am muted the lobby. Who are you? What do you do? Thanks. Thanks for having me on the show. Again, know I named me suffer lobby or raccoon. I, uh, quote, partner. With norm on a whole new worldwide. And what we do is we are a supply chain solutions partner, uh, which is pretty much a one-stop shop, you know, helping e-commerce brands to source import ship warehouse.
We’ll find, fulfill their products to end user. We have, uh, a three PL facility here in Pennsylvania. Uh, we have, uh, uh, sourcing outfit in China and, uh, I’m happy to be on the show to be able to answer questions and to also learn from other, uh, people here. Thanks so much. Very good in France. Walk, just bumped into you in Miami.
Yeah, it was great meeting you there. I hope you got a tan. I know it was a little rainy. Um, But, yeah. Thank you so [00:03:00] much for having me. I, uh, similar to our IO and apple, labium kind of a combination of both of them. Uh, I’m the director of business development here at Novi land and we’re a full stack infrastructure for, uh, all supply chain solutions.
So sourcing production oversight, um, quality control inspections, uh, fulfillment. Logistics with FOMA distribution with over a million square feet here in the us. Um, and we handle any multi-channel brand anywhere that’s going from Amazon to their own DTC on Shopify, Walmart, Wayfair, what have you. Okay, so I’m just going to throw out a few questions and you know, my, my go around in a circle or you just pick them up.
If you, if there’s something that you want to just, uh, talk about. So first thing in your own words, for those of us. There’s a lot of people here that are just new to e-com. What are, what is supply chain management? So I don’t know, rail, if you want to just pick that one up and talk about. Yeah, sure. [00:04:00] Um, look, I think supply chain covers a variety of elements.
I think, uh, you know, to port for the newbies, um, I think to start off your supply chain actually starts really at your manufacturer of your product. Uh, it then moves on to your logistics provider who moves your product, uh, from, you know, the, the export destination to the import destination. Uh, there may be even another agent then that has to do the local delivery in the destination.
Um, you know, when it comes to the import process, you’ll have a customs broker as well. And then, um, you know, if you’re looking to import into countries where you aren’t located, then you need a local import partner, like, uh, like what we do at Z, uh, to actually, you know, be listed on your import documentation so that your goods can, can kick custom successfully.
So there really are a lot of, you know, various, uh, players in your supply chain. Uh, W, you know, in, in having a successful e-commerce business, what most, uh, e-commerce sellers want to do is to try and [00:05:00] simplify that as much as possible. Uh, and, and that’s where really, you know, sort of one stop shop solution, uh, really comes into play.
And I think that’s where a lot of people are. Uh, a lot of e-commerce sellers have looking for, um, there are various moving parts. Um, not, I don’t think there’s one, you know, one solution that covers everything. Uh, but I think some of the other panelists, you know, working companies where they try to aggregate things together.
And I think that that’s really valuable for, for Amazon sellers or, or e-commerce service. Okay. Hey Francoise, what is going on out there? Like, why are we only hearing about this now? And, you know, just. What is, yeah, I know we talked about it Miami, but there’s a few different elements that are happening.
You wanna do. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Royal, uh, put it very beautifully. It’s essentially the tying of the entire supply chain. And it’s important to remember that there is no single piece of the supply chain that’s um, I guess messed up right now. It’s the entire thing. [00:06:00] Every single day. Relies on the one previous to it for the entire thing to work.
Um, and so we’re seeing bottlenecks throughout the entire process, right? Manufacturers are starting to see significantly larger orders from, um, more e-commerce auditors coming on board from, uh, those that are scaling up and as well as the retailers, it’s important to remember that retailers are. Also, you know, starting to get more into e-commerce, they’re bumping up their distribution channels to sell their products and their brands.
Um, so starting at the manufacturer level and then going into, uh, you know, the shipping to the ports even, uh, You know, all this inventory has to get on the boats. First, they have to go into containers. We’re seeing a global container shortage. Um, and we’ve seen this for the past about 12 to 18 months all the way at the start of COVID when, uh, you know, everyone thought that e-commerce and just buying and spending was going to go down.
But in reality, all sorted skyrocketing, um, people started just buying everything. Right. [00:07:00] We saw tremendous increases, a few hundred percentage points on, on certain platforms, um, particularly Amazon us. And so getting containers was a pain. So then we started seeing price increases. We started seeing, um, more blank sailings, uh, which means, you know, uh, they essentially were not shipping out certain containers just because they had to fill those up with containers.
And those took longer to fill up at the manufacturers. So larger orders, bigger delays that manufacturers delays in obtaining containers, which can take up to four to six weeks now. Um, so LCL is definitely one thing that a lot of companies are looking at. And then we’re talking about the carriers themselves, or I remember freight forwarders are not carriers.
They’re just the intermediary between the carrier and yourself. Uh, th they’re essentially think of them as a travel booking agent for you for airlines, right? Delta is the carrier. In this case, a booking agent would be the freight forwarder and you are the passenger. Your cargo would be the passenger on that boat.[00:08:00]
And from there, we just saw a series of very unfortunate events, uh, from, you know, the Suez canal, which a lot of people thought was just a drop in the bucket, but caused major shortages and delays with the containers that were stuck at that port, um, with the carriers and the vessels that were stuck at that port.
And the fact that manufacturers couldn’t produce or get product out of China because of the delays in that port, which is a global. Um, and then, uh, you know, getting to today, we’re seeing massive port delays. We’re talking about, uh, not just, you know, a few dozen containerships sitting at, uh, any port here in the U S we’re talking about over 70 at just the port of LA, which imports the vast majority of products into the U S uh, Los Angeles and long beach, or, or, uh, essentially screwed because we were not capable of actually running this 24 7 model that we’re moving into today.
Um, And then that just is reflective of every other port. So with the delays at the [00:09:00] port of LA and long beach, the natural next step is everyone’s thinking about going to Houston or going to Savannah or going through Canada and then coming into the U S or the great lakes. I think that’s the conversation we had in Miami norm going through the grief.
What was that? I said, that’s not a good choice. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and I know the ports of Chicago when I was just looking into it earlier today, they’re starting to pick back up and do a little bit better, but, uh, there’s no good port to go into any port that you’re looking at. Any price that you’re seeing is reflective of, uh, the tremendous supply chain backups that we’ve been seeing for the past 12.
I don’t imagine it’s going to get any better, uh, because just thinking about the next step in the supply chain, warehousing and distribution, a space that I think, you know, uh, F a lobby is also very well versed in, um, these things don’t run 24 hours, right? Live unload is always preferred. Um, there’s always going to be a longer demurrage truck waiting times, [00:10:00] which is going to cost the brand more.
Um, And so getting into that containers, can’t get there from, let’s say 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM until 8:00 AM. That’s a whole, uh, you know, 10 to 12 hour gap that containers are sitting at the ports in the us. Um, so it’s just backup after backup, after backup. There’s no single bottleneck that’s causing this.
It’s it’s really that, uh, again, beautifully put by rail that this reliance on every step of the supply chain and working for it to all actually work. So I’m just going to open this up to any of you, because this is crazy. This is a crazy stat. I don’t even want to spit it out because I might be wrong.
How many empty containers are sitting at a long, long beach right now? I’m not versed in that, but I know. Uh, there, there’s definitely statistics on it. If you Google port of Los Angeles, I think it’s actually [00:11:00] port of Los angeles.org or.com. One of those that’ll give you the daily statistics of what’s going on.
Um, and they have everything from chassis daily chasses to what the delays are, um, on even the, uh, the container, um, uh, boat, uh, drainage on the water. So I think we’re seeing upwards of 70 container ships just sitting there not being able to unload anything, but to answer your question, I’m not sure exactly what that number is.
Okay. Rail or not norm to give you some insights. I think I wouldn’t be able to tell you how. It’s stuck there, but what I can tell you is, you know, I’m dealing with clients on a daily basis trying to get their goods out of direct. Um, and you know, just for the last. We have multiple clients just keep getting knocked off a vessel, knocked up a vessel, delayed, delayed, delayed, and, uh, you know, we speak to our freight forwarder partners and, you know, cause the client starts to get really anxious, like antsy with us.
[00:12:00] Um, and there’s just the, the responses that we get, this is just how it is right now. And, uh, there’s really nothing else we can say other than congestion at ports. Uh, so for us, it’s not really important. Uh, what, what the number is necessarily, but just about how we assist our clients and trying to navigate, uh, this, this really difficult environment.
Right. I’m going to sell it. I’ll go ahead at the lobby. Well, I, you know, just to like friends finding the right outfit, just to put an estimate on it, I would say at least a hundred to 200,000 containers are there. Uh, and how do I know this? So, uh, if you have 40 to 70 ships just waiting to unload, and each of those ships will have about 20 to 30,000 containers on.
Uh, you can multiply that by 40 to 70, it tells you how much containers even waiting to be [00:13:00] unloaded, not to talk of the ones that are sitting at the port, which I will say easily a hundred to 200,000 containers are they’re empty. Uh, another issue is the, the truck drivers. The right now the us is short of a hundred.
I think I said yesterday 80 to a hundred thousand truck drivers are needed just to be able to keep this, uh, supply chain going smoothly as they used to be. And nobody’s working, that’s crazy, you know, is this shortage of truck drivers charges, containers. So what can we do? So we’ve got a lot of e-commerce sellers on here and they’re either.
On one of those ships, they haven’t produced their products. Are there anything that we can do to help speed up the process? Yeah. I mean, there there’s nothing that you can do to [00:14:00] alleviate the right now. I would say, uh, I mean the, the only advice, I guess I would give anyone that’s shipping anything right now is, do not go with the cheapest price that they see out there.
Um, And when it comes to routes, one thing that we’re doing for a lot of our clients is looking at those optimal routes. And a lot of times you might consider a port of LA because it’s closest to China. But think about the congestion that’s going on there. Um, consider where your product needs to. And a lot of times it’s natural.
I think for Amazon sellers to put in that it’s coming from an LA warehouse to an FBA center. And so they get an Amazon FBA fulfillment center on the west coast, which seems logical during normal times, uh, think of alternatives now into maybe Savannah and to Houston. Um, these are still going to see some level of congestion, but if you can get an Amazon fulfillment center there, uh, then you should be able to speed things.
At the port itself and the fact that there’s going to be more drivers, the fact that there’s going to be less congestion at the [00:15:00] ports in regards to vessels waiting. Um, there, you’re going to see, you’re going to see, uh, shortages across the board, but just think about where can you ship this product that has the least amount of congestion.
Uh, LA is going to have that by far for the rest of the year, uh, in regards to production. We’re going into, you know, a very, very strong end of the year into Chinese new year. If you’re shipping, if you’re producing in China, no one knows exactly how this is going to work out with, uh, you know, the pandemic still being very prevalent.
Uh, it’s important to remember that there’s people on the other side of that, uh, you, you need to talk to your factory, uh, owner or the sales rep that you’re working. Tell them your plans, ask them what they can do and what you can do for them. Um, I think that’s a very overlooked aspect of this. It’s building that relationship with your supplier, whether that’s with a sourcing company, whether that’s with your sourcing agent or with the factory itself, uh, find out what you can do for them.
[00:16:00] They will go above and beyond to try to help you out. If you. Yeah, I think I want to add to that, uh, you know, the, the two, the two sort of key words that jump out at me norm, you know, to, to help, uh, e-commerce sellers with this RJ. And I think it’s planning and education. So, and, and that can really be, uh, put into, into multiple areas.
But I think the things that really, uh, shout out to me in terms of, if you’re looking at action, uh, I think it’s important to address. Um, uh, to do better inventory planning, like Francis said, there’s very little you can do right now. If you’ve got a container stuck at a port, there’s nothing that can be done to speed up that person.
Multiple countries that you ship to. Uh, so, you know, if let’s say the port in LA is blocked and your us sales are dropping, at least you’ve got UK and Australia and sales, uh, still able to go because there’s less congestion there. I think that’s, that’s one, one thing to, to think about. And the other is, you know, when you’re, when you’re talking [00:17:00] about manufacturing and getting your product ready, it’s understanding your lead times from your suppliers and then, uh, planning that together with the.
Uh, that you’re currently seeing in, uh, in, in logistics. And then, you know, if you have the luxury, if you have, uh, products that may fit this, uh, airfreight mafia, Uh, I an option to avoid a complete stock out. So it’s not gonna replace, uh, you know, moving a full container load into a particular destination.
Uh, but it might allow you to, um, you know, at least, uh, avoid a complete stockout in, in that particular. Well, adding to what Ryan said. Um, I, I also believe that, uh, if somebody must stuck up and maybe plan ahead, you would definitely require more capital to be able to do it. So if you have access to capital or on finance, Please go ahead and get it because whoever does implant ahead will run [00:18:00] out of stock and you can really sell a lot.
I see a lot of brands that have, you know, probably two to four times their sales from last year, just because all of their, all of their competitors run out of stock or they don’t have the capital to move volumes or to manufacture volumes. Another thing I’m going to add to that is if your products could be sourced in the U S.
Or Mexico or Canada. Uh, you should also start exploring that, uh, because you’ll be surprised some products might be worth it to, to make in your very close to your marketplace that you’re selling. So if you’re selling in the us, uh, start looking into us manufacturing, uh, I just heard like two weeks ago that Walmart.
Uh, just pledged to $350 billion just to only buy made in the us products from the seller. So if you’re a pro, if you, if you plan to sell to [00:19:00] Walmart or sell through Walmart marketplace, uh, they have a lot of plan for the next five. I think it’s seven to 10 year plan to be spending 35 to 40 billion every year.
Just to buy made in the U S goods. So, uh, you’d be surprised what you can find. I mean, I, I, I own two brands and, uh, those brands, you know, byproducts here in the us and, uh, it’s never been an issue. So I think you should, if you can look into. You know, just exploring the U S the CA uh, Canada, and maybe some part of Mexico that might be able to, uh, ease up on your, uh, total reliance on, uh, transpacific, uh, you know, uh, shipments.
Yeah. You know, it’s funny that you said that I’ve lobby because, uh, I recently heard, I was talking to somebody somewhere and they used to get their Eva foam. Typically that’s where I would’ve thought Thai, uh, China Taiwan [00:20:00] anyways, high-quality Eva foam. That was my go-to. And I was into Eva foam for quite some time, the person who is getting their foam now out of Columbia, and it’s a higher grade and it’s cheaper.
And you’ve got the element of time on your side in Colombia. So I would never have guessed this. And I don’t know if. I’m probably the oldest guy on the call, but back in the day, I don’t know if anybody remembers this, but Walmart used to pride itself on being a made in the USA company. And that changed that’s slowly slid off to, you know, made in China lowest price rollback.
So it’s interesting. That’s kind of going full. But, um, the other, the other thing about it, I don’t want to make this call into just made in the USA, but that is a really great option. We had, um, we had, uh, a client, [00:21:00] they wanted a Woodpro. And so it was sourced. Uh, first overseas, it was, um, a high ticket item.
It was a large item. Uh, it was a heavy item. And I believe at the lobby, I think it was around 75 bucks that they were paying. And at the end of the day, you found you, you knocked off the wood, 30% less made here, and then you find. A different material. So you just substituted the material and that even brought it down further.
So their landed cost or their costs was a, I think it was around 30 bucks. Is that. Yeah, about 35 bucks. By the time you factoring all the shipping, the tarrifs, the clearing cost, the freight forwarding, and a another good point. You said it’s just replacing. If you’re not married to a specific material in the U S Lee.
Extensively has a huge edge over any country in terms of material science and the us has a lot of materials that nobody [00:22:00] has even heard of, but they’re being used by halo space companies here it’d been used by lodge, uh, 3m. Group, you know, most Santo, those are the large companies that are using made in the U S materials.
And it’s their best kept secret. These are materials that, you know, come on people like you, and I don’t even know anything about until you really inquire about it. Uh, you see that these are really solid materials that are being exported actually out of the U S to even countries like China every day.
You know, I I’ve got one other question. I’m going to throw it out. Any of you, but the timing. And I know when you, when I say, oh, how long what’s the lead time? It’s like, you know, how long is a piece of string, but when you’re doing inventory, you know, planning, what should we be looking for? You know, it’s no longer, okay.
If it was taking six weeks to produce, it’d be four or five weeks on the water. What do we have to consider? What are the [00:23:00] options. Yeah. I mean, I think, uh, something generally that we’re seeing, um, even for clients in California is anywhere between a 75 and 120% increase in total lead time. So whether that is congestion in China, whether that is congestion in the ports of LA, whether that’s even.
And another factor to take into consideration, especially if you’re doing, uh, FCLs or full container loads is that you are responsible for that container until it gets back to the boat. So accounting, even for the costs of that, if you let’s say you get it dropped off at a three PL and it gets taken back to the port of LA and they have nowhere to drop it off, that Denver is just something that you’re charged for.
So I usually want to make this really clear for the people that have never done this before. So, what you’re saying is that you’re getting caught, you’re getting charged, but [00:24:00] you’re getting charged until that container gets loaded again. Correct. Or if it goes back to the vessel and they ship it back empty, which we have seen a few carriers start to do, because think about what they’re making.
Let’s say about $20,000 on a container coming to the China versus getting it filled and shipped back from here for about $1,500 the two week lead time, three week lead time that it takes them to get back to China and fill it up again. Uh, it just makes more economic sense for them to ship back empty containers.
Does it make any sense? Is there any case where it would make sense to send by.
A hundred percent. Are you referring to just sending products from overseas to the us? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There’s tons of cases. I think it heavily depends on the type of product, the value of your product. Uh, what’s the competitive landscape, [00:25:00] right? Are your competitors struggling with. Inventory. If that’s the case, you can start to take up more market share.
Yes. It’s going to cost you more. You might even lose money on it, but if you can start to rank up your BSR for example, and you can start to go omni-channel before they can. And you can build that brand of reliance with your consumers. Then at 100% makes sense. Uh, so it’s not just, and this is what I was referring to at the beginning where it’s not about just paying bottom dollar for this anymore.
It’s, it’s no longer a buyer’s market where you can haggle with your freight forwarder, or you can go to five different freight forwarders and get all different types of prices and just get the cheapest one. And it’s only going to differ by about a week. You’re looking for strong partners for three PL for fulfillment, for.
Um, uh, the actual logistics from overseas and, and clearance through customs, uh, at the end of the day, if they don’t work together effectively, you’re going to be paying an arm and a leg with that truck waiting at the fulfillment [00:26:00] center with them, not taking back that container on time with them charging you additional truck waiting times.
Only allowing you to do live unload rather than just dropping the container off. Uh, I mean, there’s so many aspects and, and, and very small details that go into it. And if someone’s not experienced with dealing with three PLS, it’s important to work through these cases with them at the beginning. Um, it can add so much more money, uh, to your cost per unit.
Uh, if you, if you’re not experienced with working with the charges of a three PL, and I know you guys do a great job over there as well. Thank you. Okay. Uh, Jim, you got a question I knew you’d be up here. I knew it, not a question. I just wanted to make a comment, uh, talking about air versus ocean, uh, what I’ve done, and this has worked very well.
And I think it would, uh, be wise for people to make some calculations. Uh, I’ve always, uh, say on a [00:27:00] new item, I would take a CFI ordered 5,000 units. I would, uh, send in. Two or three master cartons, uh, express air. Then I would take 10% orders, say 500 units, send that air cargo and the balance by. Now the lead times have definitely changed on all three methods of, uh, moving the freight, but, uh, cost averaging the overall freight down.
Also, you have to take a look at what is the lead times. The lead times I think are going to be so critical and a lot of people are going to. Disappointed, uh, you know, historically I always counted on 90 days from the data PO until the product, uh, hit the warehouse, meaning my, uh, three PL in Nashville. So you really have to be very conservative in looking at those [00:28:00] lead times.
The other thing is that, uh, the mode of transportation. When I was doing a lot of business, direct importing products for target and Walmart, uh, I ran through, uh, some business cycles, long Sherman strike, and we had a lot of product, uh, sitting out in the, uh, you know, shipping, uh, ships. And what we did was that we were proactive and we, uh, use Vancouver.
Uh, Vancouver and norm you’re Canadian, you would know more about Vancouver today than I do, but Vancouver, it was more expensive. And we had to intermodal it from Vancouver, uh, into Minneapolis, for example, additional costs, but we got our, uh, inventory in a reasonable amount of time. I think what people need to realize they need to have plan a, B and C, [00:29:00] because this is so fluid.
Nobody I think has a definite uh, this is what you need to do. Uh, the east coast, I hear some good things out there. Uh, the other thing that we always did was that, uh, we need. Uh, had things to exit, uh, on the west coast. Uh, we always use three PLS in the Midwest. So, uh, clearing and everything was fob Nashville.
And that seemed to work out better, uh, in the sense, a lower volume Nashville, and they were able to move through it. So I just wanted to say. Those comments, uh, it’s doable. Uh, it’s going to be very frustrating. Uh, I think people that have inventory are in good, uh, supply right now are going to have excellent sales, but people that are just entering the market or whatever, uh, they really need to get a lot of information and have plan a, B and C uh, if they want to, [00:30:00] uh, eliminate some of the frustration.
So I just wanted to make those comments. Thanks, Jim. I knew that, uh, you are going to be up here talking about something today, but, uh, really appreciated. And by the way, this just reminds me if you like what you’re hearing. If you, if you like the details, what you’re hearing today, please follow the panelists, including Jim.
Uh, Jim’s a great guy. He comes up with nugget after nugget, but also rail at the lobby, France. Uh, you know, follow them, listen to what they have to say. They are incredible. They’re intelligent and they’re always dropping. I don’t like the word but nuggets. Okay. I’m going to just have one more question today.
And that’s about how do you structure your inventory? What are you doing now to, for inventory, um, strategies? Because what we’re finding is it’s taking long. How do you, how do you [00:31:00] what’s what’s the game plan? What are you guys doing? What are you telling your clients? So normally I think I can add something.
Yeah. Um, and, and it’s, it’s not about necessarily what I’m telling. Uh, it’s more about tell us, um, and, and, and how they navigate this and it’s kind of fold now. So it started off with Amazon placing severe stock restrictions over the month on them. And then obviously with supply chain, it became even for supply chain disruptions, it became even more apparent is to actually have storage facilities.
Um, the three PLS, like in the desk where you sell your country and data. Uh, kind of deal with the fact that, you know, you send small amounts of stock at any given time. And when you have, uh, disruptions in supply chains and an additional lead times, you’ve at least got, uh, more stock in, in that particular country.
It goes back to the lobby, says [00:32:00] around, uh, finance obviously can capital plays a huge part in, in being able to do that. Um, but I think in, in these times, and, and, you know, going forward that the disruptions aren’t going to go. Um, in terms of planning the capital, uh, keep a little bit more stock in, in your, in your destination country, uh, be sloppy overstock, you know, it might have a little bit of additional storage costs, but that additional storage costs is a lot less than completely out of stock.
Go ahead and as well. Yeah. And I think to add onto that it’s, uh, and I think I referred to it a little bit earlier. It’s it’s really having those conversations with your partners, right? If you traditionally were using your three PL for FBA prep and they’re not suited for warehousing, uh, particularly if it’s a small.
Uh, a warehouse that they’re using, maybe just in that location, uh, [00:33:00] you need to know what their limitations are too. I would not expect to just. You know, going from half a container or maybe one container per month to it’s three or four containers off the bat, I think it’s letting them know what your plans are, uh, finding out if they have a solution for you.
Right. How long are they going to be storing that? Are you going to be handling multi-channel distribution? Um, are they going to need to, uh, prep more than usual? Uh, I think these are all conversations that they would appreciate. You might even be able to get better rates. Uh, Uh, they’ll prioritize your order over someone that is less communicative and has put more strain on their operations.
Um, so it’s all relationships. I think it’s having those conversations, definitely doing what Raul mentioned. Uh, having higher levels of inventory is going to be key to maintain, uh, just your positioning in the market, um, and even, you know, beating out your competitors. But those conversations are really key.[00:34:00]
Well to add to that, uh, as well, um, Uh, relationship is everything. Uh, even though you will need some more capital to be able to pull in a lot of products to sell, uh, you know, you should talk to your supplier, especially in China or whether your suppliers, even in the us, uh, most of these suppliers do they have employees that they, uh, that are relying on them.
So they really want to move products as well. Uh, so talk to them on even a payment terms. I mean, I have a supply in Shanghai, in China that, you know, private gave me half a million dollars just in, uh, just in, uh, a line of credit all by himself. He’s like, look, just go sell, you know, and pay me little by little.
You never know what you can get out of your supplier. If you’re being very good to them. If you’ve been paying them on time, if you’ve had a really good [00:35:00] relationships with them, You know, talk to them, see how they can also help you to balk up, uh, for this, because you are going to sell a lot. If you, if you’re a better plant, uh, if you have better planning, you’re going to sell a lot.
Another thing is to look into multiple marketplaces. I don’t know if norm wants to talk about Walmart and all these other places that are available, not just Amazon alone, you know, talk about, I mean, let’s, you know, let’s go into Walmart, talk to you at 3:00 PM. You know, uh, like French. So I was saying, he talked to you at 3:00 PM.
Let him help you plan how to really take advantage of all these multiple market leases. So you can sell as much as the market can absorb. You know, I think it’s a really good time for sellers that have planned very well or that. The inventory’s very well. Uh, there’s one last thing that I think we forgot to mention about this power rationing in China, which I really don’t understand.
It doesn’t [00:36:00] make any sense to me, but a lot of the Chinese factories are experiencing, you know, power rationing, you know, the ton of light in one region. They Tony back on. It’s just a mess over there. I don’t know. I don’t have any solution to that, but I just see that happening yet.
I’d like to just add one thing. Uh, the question was, uh, inventory planning, you know, historically, you know, I always wanted to turn my inventory four times a year or more. Uh, I think anybody, uh, doing that, it’s wonderful, but it’s probably not realistic. So having inventory is. Old phrase, uh, cash is king. I think today inventory is king because, uh, we’re in a physical product business.
And having sufficient inventory is going to, you know, uh, bring in the sales dollars and continue to prosper our business. So. [00:37:00] You know, example if I was, uh, my goal was to turn it four turns a year that, you know, uh, uh, every 90 days having new inventory flowing in, but that’s not realistic. Uh, I think what’s realistic is more about 150 days, uh, given the current situation and, uh, payment terms.
I totally agree. Uh, you know, if you have a good relationship, if you’ve treated your suppliers, Many of them will, uh, start off with some open account terms with you and you can build from there because they still want to keep their factory going with their workers employed. And that’s another way of.
Infusing capital. That’s not your capital, but, uh, partnering up with people and the relationship. This is a relationship business from start to finish, you know, starting with your suppliers and then they, uh, with customer service. So I just wanted to add those few. [00:38:00] All right. Well, thank you very much, Jim.
Thank you, rail. I for lobby Francoise. Thank you, Rachel. Um, that’s it for today. We have this room every Thursday at one o’clock. I do want to mention that after the lobby is going to be. Uh, lessons from the edge today. I believe that’s at four o’clock in the startup room, a startup club. So that’s going to be really great.
I think they had Mr. Wonderful on last week. So, uh, all right. I have a lobby. You’re going to be backed into the corner of the questions are going to be tough, but you know,
so every Thursday one o’clock come and join us. If you like, what you heard today, please follow the speakers and we will see you next week.