DCL News. events, & press releases

Introducing eFactory Mobile

Earlier this year, we polled our customers to find out what tools help them manage their work with the goal of using the feedback to improve our own processes and products. We learned that nearly half spend 40% of the work week in meetings, in the warehouse and on the go. That got us thinking, how can we ensure that our customers always have a pulse on their supply chain?

Introducing the eFactory mobile app! With logistics intelligence at your fingertips, eFactory users will get real-time information on daily order and shipping summaries, detailed inventory data, returns and much more. This will help customers make critical business decisions anywhere and anytime.

If you want to learn more about eFactory, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your DCL Logistics representative or send an email to inquiries@dclcorp.com.

To get eFactory mobile click here.

Advantages for Companies Using Seller Fulfilled Prime

What is Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)?

When DCL Logistics was founded 36 years ago, no one here could have predicted that commerce would be singularly dominated by a trillion dollar digital storefront: Amazon.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Amazon Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) have been the go-to fulfillment options for sellers on Amazon for over a decade. However, since being introduced in 2015, Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program, has grown in popularity as a way to reach Amazon’s Prime Members which have ballooned to over 100 million members while providing more flexibility to the sellers.

Seller Fulfilled Prime allows the seller to list their products as Prime-eligible and ship their products to their customers directly via their own warehouse or from a qualified third party logistics company (3PL). Sellers can display the Prime badge on the products they ship directly to the customers with two-day shipping and free standard shipping.  

With almost all of DCL’s customers participating in FBA, we’re constantly thinking of ways to support and enhance their experience with Amazon. Also, we acknowledge that FBA has it’s own set of challenges which we’ve covered in the Amazon 3PL Trap article.  Based on our customers’ feedback, one of those ways was to support Seller Fulfilled Prime—so, that’s what we did. We worked diligently to integrate with Amazon SFP and are now prepared to help you ship via SFP out of DCL warehouses providing you with greater flexibility and an option beyond FBA and MFN. Here’s a short summary of the program and how it could potentially benefit you.

If you are curious to learn more, please reach out to your DCL representative to get started.

How to Qualify for Seller Fulfilled Prime

One of Amazon’s top priorities is to ensure that their Prime Members receive the white-glove treatment when buying and receiving products, so they have strict requirements for sellers to qualify for the SFP program. Here are some of the basic qualifications for the seller or their 3PL:

Eligibility

In order to qualify for SFP you must also fulfill the requirements for the Premium Shipping Program. The trailing 30-day eligibility requirements for Premium Shipping are:

  • – An on-time delivery rate of at least 92% for Premium Shipping orders
  • – A valid tracking ID for at least 94% of Premium Shipping orders
  • – A cancellation rate of less than 1.5% for Premium Shipping orders

Trial Period

Eligible sellers or their 3PL are required to go through a SFP trial period and meet the following requirements on a minimum of 50 Prime trial orders.

  • – On-time shipment rate of at least 99% for Prime Orders
  • – Use of Buy Shipping Services for at least 98% of Prime orders
  • – Cancellation rate of 0.5% or less of pre-fulfilled Prime orders

Terms and Policies

As noted in the SFP program terms page, you must follow these policies to maintain your SFP status:  

After successfully completing the trial period, you are auto-enrolled in SFP and you must continue to meet these requirements on a rolling 7-day basis, sell a minimum of 200 orders every 90 days, and have an on-time delivery rate of at least 97% for Prime Orders.  Sellers who fall short of these requirements will no longer be eligible for SFP, but may continue to sell their products.

Advantages of Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)

More exposure to Prime Members

SFP is treated the same as FBA products, which means the sellers’ product gets surfaced more frequently to Prime Members.  More exposure leads to more sales conversions. Amazon recently stated, “Seller fulfilled listings that became Prime-eligible for the first time through Seller Fulfilled Prime experienced an average sales uplift of more than 50%.”  Also, it’s worth noting that the average Prime Member spends 2X more than the average non-member annually on Amazon.  One of the biggest selling points of FBA’s program is that it offers sellers the unique opportunity to reach Amazon’s biggest spenders: Amazon Prime Members. SFP provides this same level of exposure.

Seller gains more control over their inventory

When using FBA, after you send your products to one or some of Amazon’s 75 fulfillment centers, you lose a lot of control and visibility of your product. This can be exasperated by Amazon’s ever changing storage fees.  SFP allows you to ship your inventory from a non-Amazon warehouse giving you more control of your inventory. This is especially advantageous if you have multiple sales channels or a seasonal product in which you foresee sales spikes during the holidays like Prime Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday.

Better control of long-term storage fees 

As Amazon continues to see record sales quarters, demand for warehouse space is heating up and the growing cost to store products is being passed down to the sellers.  Sellers are at the mercy of Amazon’s ever-changing, often unpredictable storage fees.  On the flip side, SFP gives sellers full control over their warehouse costs and needs. This can be a big cost saver, especially for sellers who have managed their supply chain well and have a good grasp on their sales forecast.

Control fulfillment and shipping fees

While FBA offers a number of advantages, the FBA fees can quickly erode a seller’s profit. You will need to pay fulfillment fees with Amazon as well as pay for the freight to get the inventory to the Amazon warehouses. By using SFP, sellers can eliminate the inbound ship cost to Amazon and have more control over their fulfillment costs.

Product flexibility

Product enhancements and changes are the norm for most industries, especially in the consumer electronics space. Often times, sellers need to make last minute modifications to packaging, such as including a product pamphlet or a sticker calling out an important feature. However, once the sellers’ product arrives at the Amazon fulfillment center, these changes are nearly impossible to execute. While Amazon is a well oiled machine pumping out millions of products per day, they are not set-up to accommodate special requests. With SFP, sellers maintain their inventory at their own warehouse or 3PL, providing them access and flexibility to their products.

Better control over returns and refunds

One of the major pain points since the inception of FBA has been around customer returns and refunds due to human error at an Amazon fulfillment center.  Whether it’s a lost, damaged, or late package caused by Amazon which results in a return or refund, the onus falls on the seller to file a claim with Amazon to get their money back.  In fact, sellers working with Amazon Customer Service to get reimbursed or deal with fraudulent buyers has become so common, there are countless third party services to help sellers manage the process.

A Look at the Numbers

Amazon publishes their FBA fulfillment fees so we are able to use their actual rates. Your own warehouse fees or your 3PL warehouse fees may vary, the following is only an example.

Let’s model out a real life example of a typical DCL Logistics’ customer product to see how the costs compare shipping FBA vs. SFP.

Highlighted in yellow are the variables:  Price, COGS, package dimensions, weight, average storage time, etc.  Amazon factors all these variables when calculating fulfillment, shipping, and storage fees.

Based on our cost model, FBA in this case is the better choice but other cost factors need be heavily considered. These factors include:

  • Taxes: you will be establishing Tax Nexus in the states in which you are shipping out of and may have additional tax liabilities
  • Opportunity cost: if you are shipping Amazon FBA, you’ll need to consider the cost of managing multiple inventory pools both in terms of inventory costs as well as the resources allocated to manage a more expanded inventory network. And don’t forget that you could have inventory needed for other sales channels tied up in an Amazon warehouse
  • Storage fees: in the above example, the storage cost per unit is $0.05 per month. This increases by 2.5x in the months of October – December, by 4x after inventory sits in warehouse for 181 – 365 days, and by at least 9x after 365 days. If you are not careful, you could be paying exorbitant storage fees per unit every month.

The example covered above is just one of numerous scenarios, and the actual costs and profits will vary depending on multiple factors. Based on the above example, FBA shows to be more cost effective due to the fact that FBA covers the shipping cost. However, sellers should consider the other factors that are not modeled: inventory turns (i.e. storage costs), taxes, and most importantly opportunity costs. Remember, the biggest benefit for SFP is that sellers have greater flexibility since inventory can be managed with less pools of inventory.

We’ve included both the cost model and storage model that you can download HERE for your own product evaluation.

Conclusion

With the continued growth of Amazon Prime members and rising costs to sell to them, SFP offers sellers a great option for better profit potential and more flexibility to scale.  Sellers will need to be committed and operationally sound to meet Amazon’s strict qualifications.

If you need help to evaluate your options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your DCL Logistics representative or send an email to inquiries@dclcorp.com.

 

Customer Spotlight: Bellabeat Empowers Women With Wellness Tools

Many of us have used health and activity monitors. Traditionally, these devices track daily calories burned, heart rate and sleep rhythms. But there is more to overall well being than simply staying active or eating healthy. With an array of same-same products, the old model was in need of a fresh point of view. Enter wellness-tech company Bellabeat, a lifestyle brand that has created an entirely new category within the market: tech powered wellness tools for women.

Founded in 2014, Bellabeat creates beautifully designed wellness tools that integrates both mind and body metrics.

“We wanted to create a brand that inspires women to become the best version of themselves and empower them with knowledge about their bodies and health,” said Bellabeat founder Urska Srsen. “Before Bellabeat, women were overlooked as both creators and users of tech. Health monitors were all cold, clunky and plastic — not designed for women.”

A Fresh Perspective

Bellabeat founder Urska Srsen

By contrast, the Bellabeat health monitor, Leaf, can be clipped onto your shirt during sleep or workouts, as well as worn as a necklace pendant or wrap bracelet. Along with traditional tracking metrics, Leaf gives stress predictions, monitors meditation, menstrual cycles and more.

“We wanted to change the perspective on tracking: not just track health but improve women’s lifestyles … inspire them to focus on themselves and improve their health without the guilt tripping and pressure.” Urska said. “Women are not just interested in fitness, performance and losing weight. They see their health as a complete package and want to approach it that way. We wanted to design a system that caters to that. When we developed Leaf we integrated a menstrual cycle tracker. We were the first to do this, along with including other traditional features.”

As a lifestyle brand, Bellabeat creates experiences around health that get women excited about their wellbeing, providing accessories to fit their lives. A couple of these accessories include Spring — a smart water bottle — and Mist, an aromatherapy diffuser and Body, Mind and Soul Essential oils for meditation.

Lessons in Logistics

As an early-stage tech company that has experienced rapid growth, logistics and manufacturing were sticking points for Urska and her team.

“You have to learn from scratch,” she said. “There’s very little guidance out there. You have to find the right partners, but before you find them you have to find the wrong ones.”

After doing business with an unsatisfactory 3PL, Bellabeat’s logistics team began searching for a new partner. This time they focused more on understanding the user experience provided by potential partners, as well as more thoroughly checking references.

“It took many months to study the providers,” Urska said. “Luckily we decided on the right one: DCL Logistics. The difference was immediate.”

Urska says DCL Logistics has been invaluable in advising the Bellabeat team on volume forecasting and has adeptly delivered product with each new wave of spiked demand.

“When you grow your problems become bigger, and your forecasting isn’t precise, because you don’t know how fast you’re going to grow,” she said. “The biggest indicator of a good logistics provider is when they don’t mess up your orders — even if volume is getting really high, drops for a bit and gets really high again. When there’s stable growth it’s easy for everyone. In between it’s a rodeo show.”

Bellabeat’s logistics team has also enjoyed the benefit of DCL’s personalized service.

“We have a project account manager who takes care of our issues individually,” Urska said. “Before, we had a huge problem with not knowing what was going on in the warehouses. Now we can have someone give us that information in real time.”

These days, with their logistics needs attended to, Bellabeat has plans to launch subscription-based health coaching software that ties in with the brand’s growing range of tracking products.

To learn more about Bellabeat, visit www.bellabeat.com

Meet DCL Logistics President, Dave Tu

Dave Tu’s first introduction to his father’s business, DisCopyLabs (now DCL Logistics), was as a youngster, when he would spend his summers gaining firsthand knowledge of the blood, sweat and tears it took to build a business from scratch.

“I remember as a high schooler, and even younger, working at DisCopyLabs putting labels on 5 ¼ floppy diskettes,” said Dave, President at DCL Logistics. “I hand applied thousands a day. It was monotonous, mind-numbing work but it taught me the importance of an honest day’s work. My parents were literally working around the clock to get those duplication orders out the door.”

 

Early Years and a Turning Point

While the company continued to grow under Norman Tu’s leadership, Dave graduated from university, received his MBA, and gained invaluable experience in finance at Boeing Capital and JPMorgan, finally returning to the family business in 2006. Meanwhile, DisCopyLabs evolved from its duplication roots and, over the course of a decade, positioned itself as a 3PL.

Dave Tu President of DCL Logistics

After years of working at his corporate jobs, Dave said he began to feel like “just a number.” So, when the opportunity came to return to DCL, he jumped at the chance. As Dave worked his way through the ranks, in 2014 it came time for Norman to transition from the day to day management at DCL Logistics leaving Dave the opportunity to lead the family business and taking on the reigns as President of DCL.

“I have not looked back,” he said. “Now I get to put my own stamp on the business, which has been both fun and fulfilling. I had the opportunity to learn from two great leaders who are the majority owners of DCL: David Tu and Norman Tu. One was a great operational leader and the other a savvy businessman. It is a benefit to learn from their 30+ years of building and running a service business.”

Strategic Growth

Two years ago, Dave created a strategic plan to both expand the company’s geographic footprint (opening facilities in both Louisville the Netherlands) and utilizing technology to increase both scale of the business and customer service levels. This means doing what’s right for the customer, be it perfect order fulfillment or customizing each of DCL’s customer’s complex projects.

“We truly believe that our customers are our partners,” he said. “We are and will always be a service company first and foremost.”

However, while Dave doesn’t consider DCL Logistics to be a technology company, he has invested in technology that empowers customers with knowledge and the ability to accomplish tasks faster.

“We recently launched the eFactory 10 platform and we have a product roadmap to introduce new ground-breaking features that will put more control into our customer’s hands and the right data at their fingertips,” Dave said. “Our goal is to continue give our clients better transparency so they can make better decisions on their business operations. At the end of the day, technology will enable our customers to do things faster and more efficiently, but our business still requires us to maintain strong personal communication with every individual customer. Our goal is to be a global partner for our Clients without losing that personal touch needed to truly be successful in the ever-changing global marketplace.”

Customer Spotlight: Dame Fulfills the Pleasure Gap

According to Alexandra Fine, men are twice as likely to orgasm than women and, in heterosexual couples, women are more than four times likelier to describe recent sex as unpleasurable. To close what she calls the “Pleasure Gap,” Fine and Mechanical Engineer Janet Lieberman designed Eva, a hands-

Dame Eva Product

free sex toy that stays in place using two flexible wings, which tuck under the labia. Eva has been designed to provide women the clitoral stimulation required to bridge the Pleasure Gap in a convenient way that is neither awkward or disruptive.

A New Era for Pleasure

Scientific research and focus group data were used to prototype Eva. Lieberman, an MIT graduate, had previously worked for MakerBot a manufacturer of desktop 3D printers. Using her knowledge of 3D printing, Lieberman was able to quickly and inexpensively figure out the optimal shape and design to make Eva a game changing product.

Pictured are Dame founders Alexandra Fine (at left) and Janet Lieberman.

In 2014, the Dame co-founders launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. According to Dirk Doebler, CFO/COO at Dame, Eva is still the biggest grossing Indiegogo campaign in its category. Fine and Lieberman went on to launch a second product, which they successfully crowdfunded for on Kickstarter. Needless to say, these grassroots awareness campaigns and revolutionary designs have boosted the company’s sales.

“We have grown substantially and are continuing to grow in volume,” Doebler said. “At first we were fulfilling things in house but it wasn’t efficient. Partnering with DCL Logistics has enabled us to grow. Our volume has grown several orders of magnitude, and it was too much for us to deal with.”

Rapid Growth and Fulfillment

As you might imagine, skyrocketing growth can put a strain on production, which can in turn cause fulfillment challenges that aren’t easily handled in-house.  

“We’ve been backordered at times because we’ve grown so rapidly,” Doebler said. “When we have a significant amount of backorders, and the shipment comes in, I know DCL will get through the backlog within a business day. We wouldn’t be able to do that on our own.”

Not only has the Dame team had peace of mind as order volume has increased, but the faithfully accurate fulfillment has also been a boon to the business.

“In the pick, pack and ship process, we don’t have to risk making errors,” he said. “If we did it all in-house we would have more errors. DCL has been very accurate in getting the right things out and on time.”

Doebler anticipates that with their current forecast, and new products in the works, Dame sales will continue to grow in volume. DCL Logistics will be key to meeting those demands.

Learn more about Eva, and other Dame products, at https://www.dameproducts.com.

Customer Spotlight: iCracked, On-Demand Phone Repair

From beekeeping to running a winery, AJ Forsythe had dabbled in business. But it wasn’t until, as a broke college student, he fixed a friend’s cracked smartphone screen and stumbled onto a winning idea. Soon thereafter, classmates began asking for his services. That’s when Forsythe roped his friend, Anthony Martin, into providing services with him. The next year, when they graduated from college, the two went to Silicon Valley and iCracked was born.

But the business is more than a screen fixing service. It’s a time saver and a convenience. Most people know the time cost associated with having a broken phone screen repaired. You have to drop off your phone with a repair tech, leave it there and then head back to pick it up.

On-Demand Phone Repair

“It’s an ordeal,” says John Lowe, Vice President of Logistics at iCracked. “The founders realized it only takes 20 minutes to an hour to fix a phone. So people were spending way more time going and dropping off/picking up.”

Mitigating the hassle, iCracked uses software that routes a certified cell phone repair tech to the customer. It’s on-demand phone repair.

“We have a network of certified trained techs that will come to you, as needed, to fix your devices,” Lowe said. “The techs choose the days, times and areas where they want to work, and they work from an app.”

To deliver on-demand service, iCracked maintains a stock of the replacement parts that are most likely to break on a variety of smartphones. These parts are shipped to DCL Logistics where they are stored.

iCracked Outsources Order Fulfillment to DCL Logistics

Before working with DCL Logistics, iCracked insourced their parts stock. Lowe said their in-house processes weren’t effective, leaving room for errors that affected customer service.

iCracked founders, AJ Forsythe and Anthony Martin

“Last year, we transitioned from insourcing to an outsourcing model using DCL,” he said. “We had less structure than DCL. DCL is good at ensuring things are done right. Shipments to techs never suffer due to things being done wrong behind the scenes. They understand how to reliably get shipments out the door on a day-to-day basis and are good at discipline and processes.”  

Working with DCL has also helped to manage costs. Lowe says it was a challenge to anticipate fluctuations in service volume, as well as labor needs versus costs.

“Now that we are at  DCL, we have moved from a fixed cost model to variable, and this has helped us better manage our costs.”

Adapting to a Shifting Market and Business Model Changes

While DCL came highly recommended, Lowe and the team at iCracked found their offerings were a natural fit for the company and its needs.

Lowe says DCL’s flexible approach to customer service has been a huge benefit to the team at iCracked. And, with business model changes on the horizon, this will only become more important.

“We’ll always have a B2C model but we’re clearly moving to the B2B2C, working with businesses such as insurance providers to provide installation and repair services for their customers,” Lowe said. “We’re also expanding from phones to other IoT devices. With the proliferation of these types of devices, our mobile workforce can come to you to install a smart thermometer or smart lock.”

DCL’s ability to adapt to their customers’ changing needs is a primary benefit, in Lowe’s opinion.

“They understand our business needs change from time to time,” he said. “They jump in to help us figure out the best way to resolve, rework, repackage or re-label. DCL’s flexibility will be a key for us moving forward. We’re going to change distribution patterns, shipment and packaging size. We know our business will evolve as tech changes, and having a partner like DCL that we know is going to be flexible and support us, and get involved with the solution, allows us to be more aggressive in our changes.”

iCracked has locations across the United States and Canada. Learn more at https://www.icracked.com.

On-Line Copy Corporation Merges with DCL Print Solutions

FREMONT, Calif. – March 14, 2018 – DCL Print Solutions, which provides print and marketing services for businesses in the technology and healthcare sector has merged with On-Line Copy Corporation, which provides media duplication and packaging services. The new entity has been renamed DCL Media & Print.

This is a merger of two sister companies that have worked together frequently in the past and offer many overlapping services. DCL Media & Print will now offer both print and marketing services and as well as media sourcing and duplication, all under one roof. Operations will remain uninterrupted for customers of both companies.

“Since both affiliates have similar service offerings and the types of customers we service are mainly in the Marketing function, it was logical to maximize the synergies by merging the two companies,” said Norman Tu, CEO of DCL Media & Print.

About DCL Media & Print

DCL Media & Print offers the following services: marketing fulfillment, print management, marketing portals, promotional products as well as media sourcing and duplication. Each service can be offered on its own or in combination to provide bundled solutions unique to our clients’ marketing and supply chain requirements. All services are provided under one roof, which enables DCL Media & Print to provide a vertically integrated supply chain solution. 

Customer Spotlight: Shout! Factory Revives the Shows We Love

What are your favorite TV shows and films? We all have favorites that, to us, are legendary. You might say we even “geek out” about them. The entertainment company, Shout! Factory, has built a name for itself by revitalizing this kind of pop culture entertainment: “the stuff you grew up on but never outgrew.”

The brand has released and revived many beloved cult films and classic TV series including the highly acclaimed TV show Freaks And Geeks, as well as the cult classic TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000, to name just a couple. The company sells Blu-ray and DVDs on its website, but what sets the products apart are the value-adds: fan flair.

High Volume, High Margin, High Touch

“With the Shout! Factory website we offer something people can’t get anywhere else,” said Kathy Callahan, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Shout! Factory. “We make exclusive add-ons to go with many of our products, such as a great DVD cover turned into a poster. These add-ons with purchase can also include collectible figures and bonus discs.”

While fan flair is no doubt a draw for Shout! Factory customers, DCL Logistics helps to further boost customer satisfaction with quick shipping.

“We ship what they can’t get anywhere else, and we ship it a little sooner than anyone else,” Callahan said.

Callahan describes DCL’s handling of Shout! products as high volume, high margin, and high touch.

“Our orders require an attention to detail that we’re not going to get from our other distribution centers,” she said.

Professionalism and Polish

Callahan says DCL keeps an open line of communication, with frequent phone calls, emails and a monthly conference call an open, supportive partnership. But perhaps her favorite aspects of working with DCL Logistics are the peace of mind and technology at her disposal.

“We visited several distribution centers and DCL’s process was leaps and bounds ahead of the previous solution we had for the Shout! website,” Callahan said. “The physical tech, cleanliness, and security at DCL were impressive. We also like having a dashboard that tells us what we have and when it shipped. Other companies didn’t have the sophisticated tech to let us know what was going on without us being in the physical space.”

So what does the future hold for Shout! Factory? Callahan says the company continues to acquire libraries and new films. Since Shout! is shifting towards becoming an independent film and TV studio, there’s a high probability of having more exclusive merchandise in the future. As she looks ahead, Callahan says she envisions that DCL Logistics will grow alongside of Shout! and continue to adapt to and meet Shout! Factory’s fulfillment needs.

Learn more about Shout! Factory, and find their products, at http://www.shoutfactory.com.

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