Ecommerce is booming in response to the restrictions of the pandemic, casting the spotlight on direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce fulfillment. With COVID-19 having accelerated ecommerce growth five years ahead of original forecasts, retailers are having to prepare for these new-found online purchasing habits becoming permanent behaviors.
There’s no doubt that the seamless, integrated business model of omnichannel is here to stay. As a result, merchants and brands continue to rapidly scale their omnichannel capabilities as their customers expect a flawless online shopping experience.
Keeping pace with the extraordinary growth in D2C ecommerce fulfillment, Port Logistics Group (PLG) has recently expanded its offices and infrastructure in two key U.S. regions, the East Coast and West Coast.
In the East Coast region, PLG recently announced the opening of a new flagship regional offices in Secaucus, N.J. in addition to a newly built distribution center in Savannah, Ga. On the West Coast, another brand-new Seattle facility was recently opened in Sumner, Wash.
The efficient, streamlined design of the Savannah and Sumner DCs allow PLG to boost its own operating efficiencies while meeting customer SLAs to provide even greater value to retailers and brands. “We take an optimization approach and are always looking to improve our operations and partner with our customers to advance our performance and their profitability,” says Greg Morello, President and Chief Commercial Officer at Port Logistics Group.
Reflective of PLG’s commitment made last year to omnichannel, from the start, both facilities were designed to serve ecommerce orders. The Savannah DC is a supplement to PLG’s existing facility in Savannah, while the Seattle area DC is a replacement of the company’s former facility.
Both the new DCs ensure that PLG remains well positioned to efficiently manage the demands—and growth—of omnichannel fulfillment with flexible, cost-effective supply chain strategies. Merchants can feel confident that PLG caters not only to their distribution and fulfillment needs but to a wide variety of associated value-added services, including subassembly and specialized packaging.
During this challenging time for merchants, PLG also continues to invest in the latest optimization techniques at its facilities. Think purpose-built warehousing, automation and advanced pick-and-pack strategies for increased speed and accuracy of fulfillment and distribution across a nationwide network.
“Part of our strategy is to focus more on our core competencies in online order fulfillment and retail distribution which includes many value-added services and special project work,” added Janise Kring, Executive Vice President of Operations at Port Logistics Group. “We continue to prove value to customers which helps them reduce their costs while improving their own customer service.”
One great example of the value of working with PLG is that it has prepared for the growth of ecommerce. The new East Coast regional headquarters in Secaucus, at 21,000 square feet of expandable space, replace smaller offices in the region. Tech enabled, the Grade A office space includes a large boardroom, ample meeting spaces and conference rooms.
The new regional headquarters service all PLG’s East Coast operations, including its transportation brokerage and the company’s Columbus, Jacksonville and Savannah facilities. Plus, the national functions of finance, marketing and sales are overseen from the new offices.
Conveniently situated at the cross-section between PLG’s four local N.J. DCs, the offices offer maximum accessibility to the company’s logistics operations and convenient access to all major highways as well as the Port of New York & New Jersey, the nation’s largest East Coast port.
With omnichannel solutions in mind, PLG has added a second Savannah facility to supplement its existing DC, located less than five miles away. The newly built facility, at 360,000 square feet, was designed to serve customers of all stripes efficiently with state-of-art features such as high racks for vertical storage, pack stations for ecommerce fulfillment, and 58 warehouse dock leveler doors for flexibility with trucks and containers.
“The Southeast is a key gateway in our growth strategy as we expand our footprint to serve more consumers directly, in addition to retail store deliveries,” Morello said. Some 70 percent of the U.S. population is served from the gateway city of Savannah within only two days of transit time. This means that containerized goods coming into the U.S. at the Port of Savannah can be quickly processed at PLG’s DCs.
Garran Inc., a leading kids’ apparel manufacturer and PLG customer, outgrew PLG’s original Savannah facility, located less than five miles away. The brand needed to scale for store deliveries. “The new facility allows Garan to increase its volumes, keeping pace with growth.” said Bill Davenport, General Manager for the Southeast at Port Logistics Group.
The two Savannah facilities easily share resource efficiencies such as labor.
Fast-moving stock needs swift processing of orders. Brands and retailers need value-added services. For example, large orders of consumer products coming inbound from Asia or other locales may need rework, holds or processing to correct an inaccurate shipment from the manufacturer.
It’s all there at the new Seattle PLG facility, located in Sumner, Wash. The DC packs a punch to serve a mix of omnichannel customers for D2C ecommerce fulfillment and store deliveries alike. At 265,000 square feet, the highly efficiently layout includes areas dedicated to pick and pack operations for online order fulfillment, such as for fast-growing ebike brand Rad Power Bikes, and special project work for brands and retailers.
The PLG West Coast gateway DC is strategically located between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, bringing easy transfer of inbound containers. The state-of-the-art warehouse allows PLG to deliver value to customers, which allows them, in turn, to provide even better customer service to their own customers.
PLG’s mission to achieve faster, more efficient omnichannel fulfillment means that customers are well-positioned to gain a competitive advantage within an uncertain marketplace, especially as consumer spending faces an uncertain recovery.
Both the new Washington and Georgia DCs speak to PLG’s flexibility to adapt to customer challenges and growth opportunities. Though planned and executed long before the challenges of 2020, there’s no doubt the omnichannel logistics provider’s nationwide expansion and commitment to ecommerce fulfillment makes PLG more responsive and adaptable to what is now a rapidly shifting retail market.