Supply Chain Solutions and Management for Manufacturers

Supply Chain Solutions and Management

As of 2024, supply chain challenges continue to persist across various industries. These issues have been influenced by a combination of factors, including:

  1. Global Disruptions: The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns disrupted manufacturing, transportation, and logistics worldwide. Although some recovery has occurred, lingering effects remain.
  2. Labor Shortages: Many regions are grappling with labor shortages, affecting production capacities and distribution networks. Finding skilled workers and retaining them remains a challenge.
  3. Transportation Bottlenecks: Congestion at ports, container shortages, and delays in shipping have impacted the movement of goods. This has led to increased costs and longer lead times.
  4. Raw Material Shortages: Supply constraints for critical raw materials (such as semiconductors, metals, and plastics) affect industries like electronics, automotive, and construction.
  5. Geopolitical Tensions: Trade disputes, sanctions, and geopolitical tensions between countries can disrupt supply chains and create uncertainty.
  6. Climate-Related Risks: Extreme weather events, natural disasters, and climate change pose risks to supply chains. Companies are increasingly focusing on resilience and sustainability.
  7. Digital Transformation: While technology advancements improve efficiency, they also introduce cybersecurity risks. Companies must balance innovation with security.
  8. Regulatory Changes: Evolving regulations related to trade, environmental standards, and labor practices impact supply chain operations.

To tighten supply chains and improve efficiency, a few suggested strategies include:

  1. Streamline Processes: Identify areas of inefficiency and implement processes which will eliminate bottlenecks and reduce lead times.
  2. Improve Communication: Enhance communication and collaboration between stakeholders in the supply chain to facilitate smoother coordination and faster decision-making.
  3. Technology: Implement supply chain management software and tools to track inventory, monitor shipments, and optimize routing for better visibility and control.
  4. Relationships: Build strong relationships with suppliers, carriers, and distributors to foster trust, transparency, and collaboration.
  5. Accurately Forecast Demand: Use data analytics and forecasting tools to predict demand more accurately, reducing stockouts or excess inventory.
  6. Manage Risks: Identify and assess potential risks in the supply chain and develop contingency plans to mitigate disruptions effectively.
  7. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review performance metrics, gather feedback, and strive for continuous improvement in all aspects of the supply chain.

In summary, supply chain challenges persist in 2024, requiring businesses to adapt, diversify, and invest in resilience to mitigate disruptions and ensure smoother operations. As a 3PL provider, KTI LTD helps manufacturers with additional warehouse storage space that may be needed for a short-term or long-term project as well as streamlining the supply chain, providing services such as container unload, sorting, shrink wrapping, and labeling pallets, cycle counts and inventory management, and shipping B2B or B2C or providing asset-based transportation services.

Our warehouse management system can be customized to our customers’ needs and through API or EDI, we are able to integrate seamlessly.

Our customers have found that we are often a more affordable option as we provide the labor, space, and expertise in inventory management while they focus on growing their business.

If you are seeking a 3PL partner and want to discuss a custom solution for your short-term or long-term storage needs or asset-based transportation, please call us at (540) 750-0081 or email us at kristi.birchfield@ktiltd.com

Top 3PL Providers Named

KTI LTD Named a Top 3PL

Pulaski, VA—August 25, 2021 — Food Logistics, the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global cold food supply chain, has named KTI LTD to its 2021 Top 3PL & Cold Storage Providers list.

The Top 3PL & Cold Storage Providers recognizes leading third-party logistics and cold storage providers in the cold food and beverage industry.

“3PLs and cold storage providers continue to be the heart and soul of the cold chain. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other supply chain disruptions, these companies continue to showcase agility, resiliency, strength and innovation,” says Marina Mayer, Editor-in-Chief, Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “They’ve pivoted in a time of crisis, armed themselves with solutions that matter and protected people and product along the way.”

Recipients of this year’s award will be profiled in the August 2021 print issue. Go to www.FoodLogistics.com to view the full list of all 2021 Top 3PL & Cold Storage Providers.

About Food Logistics

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global cold food supply chain, focusing on trucking, warehousing, packaging, risk management, food safety and more. Go to www.FoodLogistics.com.

Warehouse KPIs for Efficient Operation

Warehouse KPIs for Efficient Operation

Setting benchmarks for and monitoring KPIs is critical to a successful warehouse operation, not only for customer satisfaction but for costs.

A few KPIs that should be tracked:

  1. Order fulfillment 
  2. Inventory Accuracy 
  3. Order Accuracy 

Beginning with order fulfillment, an acceptable fill rate is 97-98%, with 100% being the best in the industry of course and below 94% signaling improvements needed. Timeliness would be 1-2 days, with the best being within 24 hours. Order picking, depending on the product, should be between 120 and 175 pieces/cases per hour, with 250 being the best. The on-time delivery rate should be high at 98-99%.

Inventory accuracy is a simple formula of dividing your physical inventory counts against the database inventory counts. This should be as close to 100% as possible.

Order accuracy is one of the most important metrics since this can greatly affect customer satisfaction and should fall between 99.5% to 100%.

At KTI, these metrics and more can be tracked easily with our WMS and customized reports. We strive for accuracy on all KPIs that result in efficiency. Inventory management and storage is our business and doing it very well is our goal.

source: 9 KPIs for Efficient Warehouse Operations – Supply Chain 24/7 (supplychain247.com)

Pallet Shuttle Systems: Improving Efficiency


Warehouse managers are increasingly required to store more product in
existing warehouses, to retrieve them faster for growing volumes of just-in time orders to retail stores, make more efficient productive use of labor, reduce energy consumption and improve cost

Click to read more from Swisslog:


Warehousing Rates and Fees

Is Outsourcing to a 3PL the best choice?

A cost analysis is useful to compare outsourcing warehousing and fulfillment or purchasing space and managing the warehouse services internally. Many times, the cost of constructing or purchasing warehouse space is much greater than outsourcing to a third-party logistics company, these depend on the location, size, scarcity of warehouse space, materials, and labor.

There are different cost structures when outsourcing depending on the space needed, the term, type of product and the number of SKUs, type of equipment needed to move that product around, the turnaround on the product in and out of the warehouses; services needed such as hand unloading, sorting, picking, packaging, palletizing, shipping, kitting, shrink wrapping, and integrations needed for fulfillment of orders, such as EDI, REST API, FBA, etc.

The fee will be either a pallet fee, cubic footage fee, square footage fee, or a bin fee, with about 90% of providers using the pallet fee method due to the types of customers they serve.  There is a pallet in/pallet out charge plus the monthly storage on that pallet.

The pro to these types of cost structures is you only pay for what you use. This is especially helpful for seasonal businesses or growing businesses. There may be a minimum storage rate, but chances are it will be lower than the fixed costs of renting a warehouse.

The fees for services are priced individually – container unload, sorting, picking, packing, palletizing, etc. There will also be a charge for labor – either broken down into salary and hourly or one fee that will cover supervisory labor as well.

There may be a setup fee for special integrations for order fulfillment, but most integrations are easily completed in a few steps.

When considering renting or leasing a warehouse, there are other fees to consider such as utilities, taxes, and insurance. The space may need upgraded for technology as well. The most common forms of warehouse operating costs are either NNN or triple net or CAM, common area maintenance. Operating costs can add $2-$5 per square foot to the overall cost of renting.

The cost of purchasing or building a warehouse is by far the most expensive option but can be a great investment for a company with cash reserves or the ability to secure a long-term note.

Based on surveys of 3PL providers and their pricing, this seems to be the most cost-effective option due to the variable component. This offers the flexibility companies need to effectively manage their supply chains. In addition, the order-picking accuracy of these providers surveyed was 99.1%.

When considering outsourcing, checking with multiple providers on their capabilities, technology, understanding, and experience can help you find a the right partner. Another advantage is if working with an asset-based company that can also provide transportation, your warehousing and transportation is under one roof with one team who can work together to manage the full process.

KTI LTD is an asset-based 3PL with locations in Pulaski, Virginia, Bluefield, Virginia, Lincolnton, North Carolina, and Greenwood, South Carolina. Starting out as a transportation company in 1995 and adding warehousing in 2010, KTI has worked with companies in all types of industries, providing custom solutions and flexibility to be a partner on their paths to growth. https://www.ktiltd.com/test/warehouse-transportation-services/

source: https://www.warehousingandfulfillment.com/resources/warehousing-services-costs-pricing-rates-and-fees/

Direct-To-Consumer Fulfillment and E-Commerce

Tips to Move to Direct-To-Consumer Fulfillment and E-Commerce Quickly and More Profitably

Retailers are following the lead of Amazon and realizing the potential of e-commerce on the bottom line. E-commerce growth was accelerated by the pandemic alongside the changes in customer behavior, forcing brands to adjust their business models. The expectations are high, with even B2B customers expecting delivery next-day or even same-day. A few tips from those who have experience are below:

Profitable fulfillment boils down to a balancing of customer acquisition cost, conversion rate, and average order value to avoid shipping costs from eating up your margins. Bundling products is a great way to keep your average order value higher.

The last-mile custoamer experience should be five-star. Improve your delivery strategy by improving order visibility, communication, and inventory management.

Use the best resources available to develop your online capabilities and the acquisition of customer data such as a robust social media presence and order management system.

Understand the requirements – regulations, packaging, labeling, transportation mode.

Setting up a fulfillment process such as a pick area or a packing area dedicated to single unit vs. multi-unit orders will result in higher accuracy and production.

Choose the right software to automate the processes along with the needed hardware such as barcode label printers.

Placing product closer to the end consumer can help to differentiate the product along with an easy returns process resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

Partner with a 3PL to leverage their technology which allows for the management of the last mile and extending the brand to the customer’s front door.

KTI LTD is a 3PL headquartered in Pulaski, VA with several warehouses in VA, NC, and SC. If you’re seeking a partner to move into the e-commerce space, we are glad to review your needs and provide a custom solution. (540) 750-0081

Source: Inbound Logistics, August 2022

Partnering Up To Improve Supply Chains

Outsourcing to a 3PL to Better Navigate Tough Markets

When companies decide to outsource their logistics to a 3PL, they have most likely determined that this will provide a cost-savings. But outsourcing can go beyond cost-savings and should. 3PLs can help companies turn their supply chains into a competitive advantage by understanding the goals, processes, and challenges the company faces. A 3PL should reach into every corner of the business and drive innovation and continuous improvement as well as be involved in and challenge the ideas for best practices and growth of the company.

This is especially important with today’s supply chain challenges: the need for safety stock, changing supply chain demands, long lead times for replenishment, reliance on internationally sourced components and manufactured products, frequent delays and shipping challenges, to name a few. The need for safety stock presents its own challenge as it requires more warehouse space.

Choosing a 3PL should involve the consideration of the points mentioned above: a provider with the ability to act as a consultant in addition to the normal services, adequate space, a strategic location, experience with opening a new facility and scaling operations, and support, which should involve regular meetings to discuss the project scope, timelines, implementation, processes, and quality and IT requirements.

KTI LTD has recently expanded and has multiple warehouses in the southeast. We’ve successfully teamed up with many manufacturers and worked closely with them to provide quality service as well as guidance on the best practices. We also provide asset-based transportation with a fleet of 32 dry vans, refrigerated trailers, and flatbeds.

If you are considering outsourcing, we are glad to discuss your business needs and provide a customized solution.

KTI LTD 301 Madison Ave N Pulaski, VA 24301 (540) 994-9899 https://www.ktiltd.com/test/warehouse-transportation-services

Scaling Your Business

Mistakes To Avoid To Scale Profitably

When business is good, the revenue is flowing in each month, and revenue is steadily growing, business owners are often itching to scale. The trouble is, a lot of them aren’t in control of key components of their business, have no idea what’s actually involved in scaling up a business, and end up finding out the hard way when everything starts falling apart in front of them. – ThinkTyler.com

So, what are the challenges and how can you make sure you’re fully prepared for the climb ahead of you and avoid making these common scaling mistakes? 

Scaling too soon or when your product still has kinks

You’re too busy to grow

Not thinking about the future

Mismanaging your money

Messy accounting

Hiring the wrong people

Or thinking you don’t need to hire anyone!

No clear goal in mind

Focusing on short-term sales rather than long-term demand

Not leveraging technology in your business scaling strategy

Competing on price

Not designing a new management structure following growth

Ignoring problems that arise

Forgetting that scaling your business is sometimes about reigning things in

Growing is good but growing messy is not. It’s better to grow slow and profitably than fast and unprofitably, simply put. Growing unprofitably means there are underlying issues which need to be addressed.

KTI is a small, family-owned 3PL and understands business challenges. We provide flexible solutions for our customers to help them scale profitably. We have multiple warehouses, some of which are food-grade, in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina as well as provide asset-based transportation. If you’re looking for a 3PL partner who will help you on your path to growth, give us a call for a customized quote: (540) 750-0081 or (540) 994-9899. Check out our Services page for more info.

Source: https://thinktyler.com/15-mistakes-business-owners-make-when-scaling-a-business/

SQF-Certified Warehouse Space:

Food-Grade Warehousing Standards and How It Improves Quality

In the world of warehousing, SQF means Safe Quality Food. SQF certification is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative, which is a mark of the highest food safety standards. GFSI was created in 2000 to address a rising concern of food safety issues. Approximately 1 in 10 people around the world fall ill to contaminated food products each year.

GFSI recognizes certificate programs, such as SQF, which meet its proposed benchmarks. The SQF program was developed in Australia in 1994 and has been owned and managed by the Food Marketing Institute since 2003. It has been recognized by GFSI since 2004. A warehouse with SQF-certification is a great sign because the facility is held to strict standards and third-party audits. The process to become certified is meticulous, comprehensive, and ongoing – meaning the standards have to be maintained once met.

A few of the principles of the program are hazard analysis, CCP identification, establishing critical limits, monitoring procedures, corrective action, verification procedures, and record-keeping and documentation.

KTI LTD has several SQF-certified, food-grade warehouses in the southeast. We provide flexible storage for manufacturers as well as asset-based transportation and food-grade plastics processing. Visit our website for more information, https://www.ktiltd.com/test or call us for a customized quote: (540) 750-0081, (540) 994-9899.

Warehouse Safety Tips

Topics to Discuss in Your Next Warehouse Safety Meeting

There are many dangers hiding in a warehouse and it’s imperative to make those new to warehousing aware. These dangers should be discussed regularly even with seasoned warehouse associates to keep them at the top of mind.

  1. Forklifts – A critical piece of equipment in warehousing and when operated incorrectly can cause serious damage to product, coworkers, the facility, and the operator. This is the most cited hazard in warehousing according to OSHA. Forklift training is key as well as observations. If you spot excessive speed or dangerous maneuvers, the employee should be refreshed on the dangers. A daily inspection of the forklift is recommended as well.
  2. Docks – Docks can pose a serious threat to a worker. Accidents such as workers being pinned by a forklift between the loading dock and forklift truck can result in serious or fatal injuries. Forklift operators should drive slowly at the dock and warnings should be in place to prevent workers from getting near the docks if possible.
  3. Conveyors – Workers should be protected from becoming entangled by using safeguarding equipment. Using lockout tag-out procedures is a must for maintenance and repairs.
  4. Materials Storage – The improper stacking of pallets and product is a huge danger for warehouse employees. Stacking too high, the stack not being stable, or product falling into the aisles can result in employees being hit or tripped. Heavier loads should be placed on the lower shelves and all loads should be evenly and properly positioned.
  5. Lifting Injuries – This is the most common cause of physical injuries due to improper lifting and/or handling of heavy product. Repetitiveness, overexertion, and improper form can lead musculoskeletal disorders. Proper ergonomic posture is critical.
  6. Fire Safety – Ensure all employees are aware of evacuation plans, exits, and extinguisher locations. Employees should be aware of smoking near charging stations which can result in a fire or explosion due to these being powered by gas or liquid petroleum gas.
  7. Sharp objects – PPE and safety knives are critical as warehouse workers are continually packing and unpacking and handling corrugated, metal, and plastic straps. Proper cutting techniques should be implemented and training provided.

KTI LTD is an asset-based, family-owned 3PL headquartered in Pulaski, VA with multiple warehouses in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina as well as a fleet of trucks to serve our customers.

Seeking a 3PL Partner? Call us at (540) 994 – 9899 or visit our website to Request A Quote.