If you are a European retailer or distributor with a subsidiary in North America, how can you be sure that it is living up to its potential to capture market share in the USA and Canada while continuing to deliver results on the bottom line?
One key to achieving results is finding the right logistics partners, but that can be a challenge if you do not have great familiarity with the North American logistics landscape
Having a clear supply chain strategy to support a business strategy regarding what the end customers are demanding and will demand in terms of product quality and service is crucial to fulfilling potential in the North American market. That being said, there are a few “checkboxes” that should be examined when choosing a strategic logistics partner in the USA or Canada to support that strategy:
Determine what services are needed
Do you simply need a small warehouse to store a few weeks of inventory or do you need an all-in-one solution that includes distribution? What about customs brokerage for imports? Will automation provide added value for your industry in the coming years? Depending on the value-added services that are needed, you may want to consider a facility located in a free-trade zone or a bonded warehouse.
Determine cities, states, or regions where the service is required
With so many providers in the North American market, it is more efficient to narrow down the geographical scope of possibilities before requesting proposals from providers who may not provide service in the regions that make the most sense for your business. One way to do this effectively is to conduct a network design study to determine what network shape is optimal to achieve your business objectives while minimizing operational costs. Having a data-driven understanding of what distribution center, warehouse, or cross-dock locations will most effectively support your business strategy is crucial in providing clarity when you do go to potential providers to request service proposals.
Benchmark potential providers in the targeted region to determine who might be a fit.
Resources such as Transportation Topics (https://www.ttnews.com/top50/logistics/2021) can help provide a starting place when benchmarking the services, sectors, and industry expertise relevant to different providers on the market. There is always more to learn when talking directly to providers about your specific needs in the USA and Canada, but a benchmark will help you determine who to ask.
If you are unsure whether your North American subsidiaries are intentionally leveraging supply chain for their strategic advantage, it is worth uncovering whether the 3 “checkboxes” listed above have been fully considered. It is entirely possible that missing one of the checkboxes could be costing you millions every year. It is much better to ask the right questions to leverage the supply chain as a key tool in securing your subsidiary’s future potential in North America, and being in the right locations with the right partners providing the right service is an important enabler of doing so.
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