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Specialist Air Freight: One retailer’s experience

In Air Freight News Posted October 9, 2018 at 12:55 pm
By admin

Specialist Air Freight

Speed to Market has become so important that the cost to deliver has become a secondary consideration in supply chain logistics and specialist Air Freight is now a critical component to delivering Fast Fashion.  But, if you don’t have a partner with super-sized red tape scissors to help you cut through the complexities of air, you could be putting you behind your competition.

Retailers who use specialist Air Freight as a strategic choice, rather than just when something goes wrong, are the ones to watch when it comes to Fast Fashion.  They have discovered that speed to market can be achieved without demolishing their bottom line.

With such a large manufacturing base at our doorstep in Asia, Australian retailers are discovering that specialist Air Freight can easily be incorporated into their supply chain logistics mix – none more so than our case study subject.

About our client…

Our client is a true-blue Australian owned footwear brand, creating unique styles for men and women inspired by global fashion.

Fast fashion is a tough and unforgiving business. It requires precise planning and superior supply chain coordination, along with an extremely thorough knowledge of fashion trends and who is buying them. The trick is to not only predict and develop the right style mix but to deliver it into the hands of Australian consumers before it’s ‘so last season’.

Taking into account that their target market comprises young, fashion-focused millennials with good disposable incomes, who love showing off their latest purchase on their Instagram accounts, speed to market is a critical component of this retailer’s supply chain methodology.

A slow boat from china….

…. is never going to make it to Australia in time.

This client has developed strong partnerships with manufacturers in Asia and a network of suppliers who interpret and develop on-trend products for our Australian appetite. Unique styles and quality workmanship are the backbone of this brand… but how to get it into the hands of our fickle fashionistas in time?
A lean and agile supply chain is essential and a delivery mechanism that reduces the time-lag between origin and destination can be the turning point for brands at the mercy of speed to market demands.
While sea freight is the most cost-effective choice, it will never make it to Australian shores, let alone in-store, before trend-sensitive styles are superseded. Simply put, if you don’t have a pair of ‘those shoes’ in their hands the instant they want it, or five minutes after their friend bought them, then you’ve missed the boat.
The implications for the brand could be dire.
Late-to-market stock is like being too late to the party – it’s missed all the fun. The trend is over, the cool kids have moved on to the next big thing and no-one really wants to be seen with you… or buy your shoes! Not only that, but your inventory costs have suddenly increased due to all the extra product sitting in the warehouse and it’s likely that it will have to be discounted in order to move it.

Remember the Airplane takes off against the wind…

…..not with it.  (Henry Ford)

Henry Ford’s famous quote about determination in the face of adversity certainly applies here. We helped our client overcome many challenges in ensuring their product made it from the manufacturing base in China into its Australian stores.
While they have a strong network of suppliers and partners to manufacture their beautiful product, this same network presents challenges when coordinating the shipping of a diverse range of items from multiple origins – and then get them into store fast!
Their solution? To engage a partner with specialist knowledge who could manage and coordinate the shipping of the product from origin to destination, using the most efficient method available – Air Freight. All the while applying expertise to optimise packing configurations pre-departure and maximise the delivery speed at destination to ensure the full benefits of Air Freight are realised.
When the check-in, clearance, and delivery to warehouse process can take longer than the flight time, the pressure to anticipate any potential delays is on. Checking milestones every hour and having partners poised to move as soon as the check-in notification is received makes fast fashion a reality.
To meet the client’s goal, we worked with our partners in China to develop a weekly process that enables orders ready in our Hong Kong warehouse on a Friday, to be flown direct to Melbourne, customs cleared and delivered to the client’s local warehouse by 9am Monday morning.
This process can be easily replicated from any fashion hub, meaning that you can get your product delivered and cleared over the weekend, ready for distribution into store and your customers’ hands.
That is tangible speed to market!

Specialist Air Freight: THE RESULT

The process involves meticulous planning around stock ordering, shipment size, flight availability and pre-clearance information to ensure there are few or no delays once the shipment has landed. With this process in place, the client can have a product in-store almost as soon as it has been manufactured, and on the dance floors of local clubs the following weekend!
Making use of our specialist Air Freight knowledge of packaging and consolidation, the client has not only been able to achieve speed to market, but they have also been able to manage the cost of using Air Freight to an acceptable level. All this via a transport mode that has traditionally been a grudge purchase and only ever used when something went wrong.

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