19apr, 2023

Good Ol' Fashion Zone Skipping

Once upon a time, a time before the internet, ‘Please Allow 4 – 6 Weeks for Delivery’ was a common phrase everyone understood. However, the catalogue or infomercial company didn’t actually need 4 – 6 weeks to deliver your Mr. Microphone.

Instead, the retailer used that 4 - 6 weeks delivery time to allow your neighbors and other customers living in your region to order their product. The goal being to accumulate sufficient volume of shipments to your area so that the retailer could fill a full truck with your box and all the other boxes your neighbors ordered.

The reasonably priced item you ordered from the Catalog/TV also had an extra ‘shipping and handling’ fee which was almost entirely profit. By consolidating shipment volume to your neighborhood, the seller was able to load your box and all the other boxes into a truck or less than truck load. The larger bulk volume was then shipped to your local postal zone and the seller got to enjoy local, and much cheaper postal rates for the last mile delivery to every household. This is called Zone Skipping. And it works today just as well as it did back in the day.

Today, our supply chains are even longer, and the demand targets are further away and harder to see. Once the trigger(sourcing order) is pulled the process of booking, pickup, sorting, loading, transit, etc. begins and it is impossible to change the path to match the target.

Your inventory travels though many layers of transportation and distribution until it is finally delivered the last mile to a retail shelf, consumer home or B2B equivalence. Being unresponsive to changing customer demand or the ability to consolidate and divert loads, to Zone Skip, is costing your company time and money and your customers goodwill.

New product introductions, seasonal products, congestion/constraints, and back orders all present opportunities to deploy Zone Skipping. KWITbox Zone Skipping organizes in transit inventory so you can build shipments, with sufficient volume and opportunity, to create a load/container that bypasses segments of your distribution network to save time and money - 3 days time and $5 per box is common.

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