Supply Chain

Store Sweep Solutions: Balancing Quality, Safety, and Efficiency

Stores are an integral part of the supply chain, to say the absolute least. As the point of contact for customers to receive products and services, ensuring optimal operations at each location is crucial for continued success. Yet, with concerns such as delivery times and volume increases can, at times, make achieving peak efficiency a complicated task. Further, with limited store capacities, many retailers find scrap pallets and the question of their disposal to pose a serious and reoccurring issue. Piling up in stockrooms and storage areas, pallet cores, odds, and scrap can easily accumulate into a serious drain on time, labor, and resources, costing large amounts of revenue to manage.

Prime360 thrives on helping our customers realize their goals, whether it be streamlining operations, optimizing labor, growing their business and saving money, or even reducing their carbon footprint.

One way we are able to achieve this is through our store sweep solutions, which are intended to deal with scrap in a way that is convenient and reliable for the customer, using sustainable practices to establish a 360° supply chain system promoting efficiency, safety, and profitability.

These programs are highly customizable and constructed to meet business and logistical challenges of any variety. This includes location-based requirements such as local ordinances, as well as storage, safety, and retail space restrictions, ensuring operations are up to code while mitigating potential safety hazards. Baked into our programs is the philosophy that not only will pallets be repaired and reused to their fullest extent, but that those pallets will meet customer quality standards for maximum safety and efficacy. They also feature flexible pricing models based on the solution structure and services determined to best fit customers’ needs, entailing how, when, and where pallets are retrieved as well as their subsequent handling. Further, Prime360’s vast network of partners in transportation, labor, recycling, and other important industries offer opportunities for scalability while maintaining that flexible pricing. With this, customers are able to freely expand their operations without the need for large investments in things like scrap disposal. Meanwhile, our team of experts

The Three Baseline Solutions

Prime360 offers three basic store sweep solution structures, each of which has been designed to easily adapt to the requirements of any individual customer and the specifics of their business. These models are plug-and-play, easy to implement while maintaining a high level of flexibility and customizability.

The first of these is a pre-scheduled solution utilizing live load trailers (LTL), in which trailers are unloaded at the target location and reloaded with a minimum of 100 pallets mixed with pallet cores, odds, and scrap. Scheduling of this service is done directly with the customer, taking into account concerns such as rate of scrap production and available storage capacity to determine the frequency which best suits their needs.

Pricing is then based on this scheduling as well as core, odd, and scrap rates respectively, resulting in a structure fully tailored to the customer’s unique operations. This model is the most popular of our store sweep solutions, employed by national retailers at over 3,000 stores in locations of all types, whether it be rural or metropolitan, as of June 2020.

The second of our flexible customer solution models utilizes pre-scheduled drop trailer pickups in which fully loaded trailers onsite are exchanged for those being delivered. Like the LTL model, swap schedules are determined with the customer and used, along with core, odd, and scrap rates, to inform pricing. Haul rates, however, also apply to the pricing structure of this model. While the drop trailer method shares much with that of LTL, it is actually more efficient. Where LTL requires that drivers wait for trailers to be loaded at pickup, the drop trailer method is as described on the tin— trailers are loaded prior to the scheduled swap, and drivers need only exchange their original trailer for the one being retrieved. This further streamlines the exchange, saving customers time, labor, and ultimately money in the process. A newly offered program, this model is currently in use at the stores of a prominent rural lifestyle retailer.

Prime360’s third sweep solution utilizes drop trailers on a call-in basis, meaning that customers contact us directly to request and schedule pickups as needed. Following contact, sweeps take place within 48 to 72 business hours, otherwise following the same load composition and price structure as the other two models. In conducting these pickups, an order management system such as FM Pilot or Service Channel is deployed to ensure all goes according to plan. A favorite of home improvement retailers, this model has been in use at over 600 stores across three companies, with 18,521 sweeps being performed under it as of June.

Each of these solutions place an emphasis on building a circular supply chain model in which customers save time and money as scrap products reenter the market while quality pallets are reintegrated into the supply chain. Through reverse logistics, a practice in place at the distribution centers of our largest customers, good quality pallets that are collected within the store sweep process are rerouted back to the DC. Here, our TPM service steps in to sort these pallets to grade while taking into consideration pallet materials such as plastics and cardboard, ultimately pushing those that meet quality standards to be reused.

In this way, an endless cycle is established in which cost savings are produced through fewer new pallets needing to be purchased, while pallets that do not meet quality standards may be exchanged for rebates.

Meanwhile, our programs are created to solve all manner of supply chain issues in a way that produces reliable cost savings for our customers. Sweep solutions ensure that deliveries remain prompt and on-schedule, while our experts assist in employing good practices that ensure customers are getting the most bang for their buck. For example, pallet cubing, a method of pallet load organization, makes certain that trailers are being packed to their maximum capacity, reducing the number of trailers required and thus the costs of transportation. Importantly, this practice also promotes safety for laborers in stores as well as DCs— a top priority for us at Prime360.

Pallet Retrieval and our Pallet Optimization Program

At Prime360, we believe that outcomes speak the loudest when it comes to pallet management. And when it comes to store sweep solutions, we have plenty of successes to point to. One such story is that of a national heavy equipment retailer, a customer of over ten years for whom our solutions have created approximately $650,000 in revenue savings per annum. This customer came to us with two distinct problems. First, their already large and ever-expanding number of retail locations and distribution centers, along with continued business success, necessitated a reliable supply of pallets to respond promptly and effectively to demand. Second, various issues such as excess pallets in storage and logistical issues required constant reassignment of staff, resulting in fewer members attending to stores and thus a lower quality customer experience. To alleviate these issues, Prime360’s account team worked with the customer to develop a store sweep program under the LTL structure and negotiated with vendor partners to keep pickups locally operated, on time, and well-managed.

In all of their stores, reverse logistics and retrieval programs were established to optimize retail location processes and relieve staffing issues, all while reducing safety risks onsite.

Just as increasing the number of usable pallets is a need for a business in the process of scaling up, pallet retrieval and pallet optimization are crucial services that are required by any company being hamstrung by logistic issues due to rapidly increasing size. Organizational efforts run concurrent with reverse logistics. Currently, we service over 1,900 retail locations nationwide for this customer, as well as numerous distribution centers, and have collected around 320,000 pallets through this program.

Total Pallet Management Solutions with Support

With any program at Prime360, we pride ourselves on active and effective communication with the customer to assure quality of service and prompt accommodation. Pointing to this, the retailer in question has highly praised our ability to respond to their challenges and needs as they arise. Our store sweep solutions come prepackaged with the support of our team of industry experts, who work with customers and vendors to manage any issue that may arise outside of pre-scheduled pickups such as order changes due to volume spikes and other potentialities. In the customer’s words, there are “no long wait times on hold” with Prime360. Further, our teams conduct confirmations and follow-ups with customers to confirm that each scheduled pickup has gone according to plan and, if not, to resolve any problems that may have risen. In the event that an issue has occurred, they take steps to identify key details influencing the event and craft a rapid response, followed by a written report detailing to the customer steps that have been taken to remedy the situation, including vendor negotiations.

Prime360’s store sweep solution models have been designed with the customer at the forefront. This includes the capacity to adapt to even the most highly specific of requirements and respond to the unique challenges faced by customers across industries. Our programs are designed to attune to the ebbs and flows of any business, with experts on standby to assist in not only scaling operations to respond to peaks in demand, but forecasting those peaks and the challenges they will bring as well. Whether it be grocery, pharmacy, home improvement, eBusiness, or healthcare, our flexible customer solutions have the capacity to streamline your scrap disposal process, enhance labor efficiency, and yield substantial cost-savings, all while reducing the environmental impacts of your operation with sustainable recycle and reuse solutions.

Inquire today for a consultation with one of our supply chain experts for more information on a store sweep solution designed for your business!

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