How to Hit a Homerun with your 3PL
As a logistics company that handles thousands of units of athletic products ranging from bikes to snowboards to hockey and baseball equipment, McKenna Logistics has tons of “games played” when dealing with sporting goods logistics. Not only do we have the experience that comes from handling the tough ground balls, we also know how to “squeeze” the most out of our customer’s products.
Seasonality in Sporting Goods Logistics
For those of you who don’t understand seasonality in mass retail logistics, the concept is as easy as a baseball team’s signals. Seasonality in retail is the characteristic of a pattern in which the product experiences regular and predictable changes that recur every calendar year. Any predictable change in product demand that recurs or repeats over a one-year period can be said to be seasonal. Much the same as the World Series peaks TV audience attendance each fall, your product will have its peak in the spring if it is generally used in the summer. Many athletic products experience significant seasonality.
In terms of handling seasonal products, back when many of our competitors were still in the minor leagues, McKenna was playing in the “Senior Circuit”. Due to our veteran status in dealing with sporting goods logistics, we are in a great position to tell you what you need to do to be successful when coming to play in the Major Leagues (or as it’s better known, Canadian Mass Retail Logistics).
Tips for Successful Sporting Goods Logistics
To make sure you hit a homer, we’re here to give you some help that will allow you to be successful on the Canadian sporting goods logistics field. Here are a few hints that will help:
1) As mentioned above, make sure that you completely understand the seasonality of your products and talk with your 3PL about this. The better they understand your product’s order patterns, delivery schedules, inventory turns and receipts, the more successful you will be. A seasoned 3PL will try to find customers with various defined seasons for the products in their warehouse. If they can find a good balance between various seasonal product types, they will be able to handle the peaks and valleys of your brand. Much the same as any good baseball team needs a combination of power and speed, you need a well-balanced logistics company that understands your business.
2) You wouldn’t expect a minor league player to be able to hit a good major league curve ball nor should you expect an unsophisticated 3PL to be able to manage your complex sporting goods logistics. Knowledge gained from dealing with mass retailers is crucial. Don’t put your listings at risk for the sake of a cheaper price up front. Make sure that you partner up with a 3PL that has the knowledge associated with years of experience. Make sure you ask them how they deal with the Wal-Mart’s, Zeller’s, Toys R Us and Sears of the world. If they don’t have their facts straight, they probably haven’t had a lot of mass retail logistics work before and they should remain in the minors rather than being called up to the big show.
3) Knowledge of your market is crucial for a successful sporting goods logistics strategy. Various athletic products go to various retailers across Canada.
The largest and only national sporting goods mass retailer in Canada is the Forzani Group that owns National Sports and Sport Chek stores along with others such as Nevada Bob’s golf stores. They sell a vast assortment of sports-related products, from athletic footwear to athletic/leisure apparel to the equipment required for performing your favourite sport.
Sport Mart is another Canadian sports store that you may want to target if entering the Canadian sports retail scene.
Lastly, Canadian Tire is another great store to go after sporting goods listings if targeting Canada’s marketplace. While their name indicates they are an auto parts store, they also sell many sports-related products and have approximately 450 stores.
Now that you know a little about seasonality, dealing with mass retailers and the Canadian marketplace as it relates to sporting goods logistics, you may feel that you are ready to compete in Canada. Like any successful team, however, you need to pair up with a great partner or coach. McKenna is renowned for our unique POD system that delivers great client satisfaction, our order accuracy with the “Big Box” stores, our technological advantages that deliver you on time information about your products and last but not least, our unprecedented client responsiveness. Give us a call and you’ll be impressed by our great stats and outstanding production!