Logistics Management- Inside Look at How Donovan Logistics Plans, Packs and Ships High Value Products and Equipment 

  • By Justyn Faber
  • 06 Sep, 2017

Logistics, shipping, and operations leaders....

If you are responsible for shipping or managing logistics for a company that provides sensitive, high-value equipment then this post will highlight how we custom pack, load and ship each client's order here at Donovan Logistics

We just finished an important delivery for one of our local clients. They had to ship out a few units to their customer's site. These units were high value, and needed to be protected and transported with extreme care. We do these types of projects everyday. But, this specific job was for my personal client, so I decided to take a closer look at the entire packing and shipping operation from start to finish. This also got me thinking...why don't we share our process? That way our clients can see how their freight is handled, packaged and transported. I thought it would be helpful to give them an inside look of we do it here.  

When I talk to logistics managers, a big concern they have is making sure that their customer's products get to
their location on time. But even more importantly, that those products arrive undamaged, in pristine
condition, and in proper calibration (if it's a technical unit). In the context of our business, what I'm referring to when I say "high value products" includes medical equipment, specialty electronics and machinery with sensitive components, retail store fixtures and kiosks, and custom trade show booth materials.

Your clients have invested  significant amount of money into purchasing your products. It's safe to say that the sales cycles on these purchases were anywhere from 6 months to a year, and in some cases 2 years. Your company's product development, marketing, sales, and management teams have invested countless hours tailoring a  solution that meets the client's exact needs. Legal and sales have worked hard to structure a deal that will provide the most value for the both parties. On top of that, everyone has made sure that great a customer experience throughout the buying process has been delivered. 

Now that the contract is signed, it’s up to you to make sure that the product is delivered on time and in perfect condition. So, it only makes sense that you’ll want the safest, most reliable way to transport the final products.

You could choose to go with a common carrier because they tend to have the cheapest line-haul rates. However, this comes with a high-risk factor. Common carriers are all about volume and speed. Speed is a good thing, however, when it comes to products with price tags ranging from $250k to $1M, I'm willing to bet you’d rather that your freight is bulletproof during a long transit time. The main factors our clients care about include:  

Time - Your company has an agreement in place to deliver the product at certain date so the install or implementation team can get the client up and running. Usually, there is a penalty clause built into the contract, meaning for every day it's late, your company gets charged a fee. This fee is a usually a percentage of the final purchase price, which eats into
the company’s profit.

Damage - This goes without saying. Neither you nor your client wants to deal with the damaged product. In most cases, the product is custom built for the client's specific needs. Insurance will cover the damage, but it won’t make up for lost time. Not to mention the potential lost revenue this unit will be responsible for producing for the client.

Customer satisfaction and experience - Customer experience is a soft cost that cannot be overlooked. Delivering a  great customer experience is what world class organizations strive for. The customer experience should extend to your transportation and shipping phase as well. On time delivery, pre-calls, good customer relations on your behalf, clean trucks, professional and courteous drivers are all part of making sure customer expectations are met.

So how do you guarantee that your product will arrive at your end client on time, undamaged and in proper calibration?Look no further than a padded van line. Padded van lines specialize in high-value product transportation and the main priority is secure transportation.

Let me illustrate the difference in service provided by padded van line,  by walking you through each
crucial step of my client's recent project.

 


Our Unique Process 

1.       Site survey - The first our team does is make a visit to your site.  This gives us a chance to see how large the units are, what the dimension we're dealing with,  what critical components to be extra cautious of and get a feel for the loading area. This will help ensure we get the right truck.  In some cases, a full 53’ trailer won’t be able to get into the driveway or parking lot because it's too tight. After we know all the specifics of the job, we can provide an accurate quote on the line-haul, fuel, labor, insurance, materials, and packing, etc.


2.     Schedule pickup - After we determine the cost to wrap, secure and haul the freight, we will schedule the pickup. If this is a time-sensitive delivery with a short window, then we have some choices to talk through.

For one, it may have to go on its own dedicated full truckload to ensure there are no additional stops along the way. Full truckload is more expensive because you're basically purchasing the entire trailer regardless of the amount space being used.  

It would be wise to calculate and compare the penalty cost of not delivering on time vs. the higher transportation FT rate. The other route is to go with the less than truckload (LTL) option (where you only purchase the space for your freight that is loaded with other customer's freight). 

With a specialty van line like Donovan Logistics, for example, your freight never leaves the trailer that it's originally loaded onto. Alternatively, if you decide to go with a common carrier for an LTL option, it will be less expensive, but there is a real risk of damage occurring. This is because common carriers tend to have multiple breakpoints or hubs that have a constant flow of trucks in and out every day. In other words, your freight is loaded and unloaded and handled up to 12 to 15 times before it arrives at its final destination. If you do not have a tight time frame, then your safest bet is to go with an LTL padded van line over a common carrier. 

A padded van line can be more expensive than a common carrier based on the fact that the trailers are, air-ride equipped, have logistics bars and other equipment to secure the load, and the drivers are more experienced and skilled in hauling high-value freight. 

The transit time will also take a little longer than a common carrier because the same driver is responsible for all of the stops. Nothing leaves his truck until it reaches its destination. Drivers can only drive 500 miles a day or 1000 miles if it is a team (2 man driver team).  The big upside and the primary reason most companies with high-value freight go with a premium van line is freight security factor.  

3.       Shuttle Pick Up - Next, we send out a straight truck to shuttle the freight back to one of our local warehouses. For this last job, we needed to send a 26’ dry van into Cambridge MA because the area was just too tight to get a full-sized trailer in and out. Plus, we needed to get the units to our own warehouse, which is a controlled environment. Here we have all the necessary resources to get it properly packed, secured and loaded onto a full 53' air-ride trailer.

4.       Packaging and protecting - Now here is where you can really notice the difference in the service of van line vs. a common carrier. 

Since most of the units that come into our warehouse for shipping have price tags in the six to seven figure range, it’s vitally important that we fully protect them. Now, van lines like Donovan Logistics offer pad wrap services. Crating is usually unnecessary because of the types of materials we use to package and protect. If a client really wants it crated, then we can accommodate the request,  but we have to have them specially fabricated which adds more time and cost.

Here’s the process we went through for this client's project. 

One of the units we were shipping required additional support and protection due it's size, weight, and sensitivity.    It was going out west and was purchased by a life sciences company from our client. It'll be used for important science things! In other words, it’s expensive- breaking it would be bad. 

Once the unit was in our warehouse, we fully knew what we were dealing with and what had to be done to ensure the safest transit. 

First, our warehouse manager built a custom platform so that the unit could not move during transit. He built it using a standard sized pallet and then added a flat platform with sides. 

Once the machine was loaded onto the platform, we had to lift it and place padded wooden blocks under the frame because the wheels could not touch the ground. A layer of dust-resistant wrapping was then placed around the unit. 

We also took extra precautions with the sensitive internal and glass components.  Our team placed additional padding and cardboard to further project those parts. 

Next, we placed tough corrugated sides to all the exposed edges for extra protection. The crew then wrapped a couple layers of bubble wrapping to absorb any shock that may occur during the ride. 

Finally, it was wrapped in high strength shrink wrap and banded to further ensure it doesn’t shift or move. We also drilled holes on each side of the platform and ran the banding through them, up and around the unit. One more thing to note is that we also built a ramp and attached it to the platform so that during unloading there would be two options...either a rigger could take it off the truck or it could be unloaded by wheeling down the platform. (See images below).  

Unit is placed on custom platform and protected with special dust resistant wrapping
Glass components are protected with cardboard
After corrugated sides are added to protect sides and edges, the unit is bubble wrapped
Next the unit is wrapped with high strength shrink wrap
A special platform is assembled to the base for easier unloading

5.       Transit - Once the driver is loaded, he will get on the road. His truck route progress is tracked through GPS where he updated it regularly so we know where he is. Our clients receive daily updates and we can report to their customers as well.


6.       Delivery -Our drivers always arrive in clean, modern truck, make a pre-call and professional….ensuring that the customer is happy. For this job, when the driver delivered  the unit, he was met by a third party rigging crew to assist with the unloading. 


 

As you can see, our crew puts a good amount of time and effort to ensure that our clients' freight is handled with extreme care the entire time it is in our possession.

A specialty van line like Donovan Logistics can seem like a more expensive option upfront than a common carrier. However, our clients tell us that us that the peace of mind that comes with knowing their freight is in good hands is worth it.   

If you would like to learn more about how we work with logistics professionals like you. Please  contact us to schedule a time to talk.  During our strategy call, we will identify the top ways you can improve your shipping. 

Donovan Logistics helps shippers of high value equipment - such as trade show booths, retail fixtures, lab and medical equipment, electronics and machinery - deliver their products safely while ensuring they arrive on time.

Donovan Logistics Blog and News

By Justyn Faber 25 Sep, 2017

Are you running out of storage space for your excess inventory, aftermarket parts, or high-value products? Do you need a clean, well maintained, local warehouse facility?

Donovan Logistics offers short or long-term warehouse storage; order fulfillment programs; kitting and distribution and asset management programs. 

Also, with our transportation and logistics expertise, we can assure shipments are implemented in a timely manner with destinations anywhere in the world to meet your commitments to your customers, partners and/or manufacturing facilities


By Justyn Faber 06 Sep, 2017

If you are responsible for shipping or managing logistics for a company that provides sensitive, high-value equipment then this post will highlight how we custom pack, load and ship each client's order here at Donovan Logistics

We just finished an important delivery for one of our local clients. They had to ship out a few units to their customer's site. These units were high value, and needed to be protected and transported with extreme care. We do these types of projects everyday. But, this specific job was for my personal client, so I decided to take a closer look at the entire packing and shipping operation from start to finish. This also got me thinking...why don't we share our process? That way our clients can see how their freight is handled, packaged and transported. I thought it would be helpful to give them an inside look of we do it here.  

When I talk to logistics managers, a big concern they have is making sure that their customer's products get to
their location on time. But even more importantly, that those products arrive undamaged, in pristine
condition, and in proper calibration (if it's a technical unit). In the context of our business, what I'm referring to when I say "high value products" includes medical equipment, specialty electronics and machinery with sensitive components, retail store fixtures and kiosks, and custom trade show booth materials.

Your clients have invested  significant amount of money into purchasing your products. It's safe to say that the sales cycles on these purchases were anywhere from 6 months to a year, and in some cases 2 years. Your company's product development, marketing, sales, and management teams have invested countless hours tailoring a  solution that meets the client's exact needs. Legal and sales have worked hard to structure a deal that will provide the most value for the both parties. On top of that, everyone has made sure that great a customer experience throughout the buying process has been delivered. 

Now that the contract is signed, it’s up to you to make sure that the product is delivered on time and in perfect condition. So, it only makes sense that you’ll want the safest, most reliable way to transport the final products.

You could choose to go with a common carrier because they tend to have the cheapest line-haul rates. However, this comes with a high-risk factor. Common carriers are all about volume and speed. Speed is a good thing, however, when it comes to products with price tags ranging from $250k to $1M, I'm willing to bet you’d rather that your freight is bulletproof during a long transit time. The main factors our clients care about include:  

Time - Your company has an agreement in place to deliver the product at certain date so the install or implementation team can get the client up and running. Usually, there is a penalty clause built into the contract, meaning for every day it's late, your company gets charged a fee. This fee is a usually a percentage of the final purchase price, which eats into
the company’s profit.

Damage - This goes without saying. Neither you nor your client wants to deal with the damaged product. In most cases, the product is custom built for the client's specific needs. Insurance will cover the damage, but it won’t make up for lost time. Not to mention the potential lost revenue this unit will be responsible for producing for the client.

Customer satisfaction and experience - Customer experience is a soft cost that cannot be overlooked. Delivering a  great customer experience is what world class organizations strive for. The customer experience should extend to your transportation and shipping phase as well. On time delivery, pre-calls, good customer relations on your behalf, clean trucks, professional and courteous drivers are all part of making sure customer expectations are met.

So how do you guarantee that your product will arrive at your end client on time, undamaged and in proper calibration?Look no further than a padded van line. Padded van lines specialize in high-value product transportation and the main priority is secure transportation.

Let me illustrate the difference in service provided by padded van line,  by walking you through each
crucial step of my client's recent project.

 

By Justyn Faber 18 Jul, 2017

We're proud to announce that Donovan Logistics has been named the exclusive Mayflower Express agent for New England. As the exclusive Express Agent, we perform 100% of all pick-ups & deliveries registered across the Mayflower family of agencies that are under 3,500 lbs within the New England region. 

This provides us with a larger local presence giving our clients even greater coverage. This also allows us to package client orders with Express orders to consolidate local routes, and reduce our clients costs. 

We'd love to hear form you to see how we can help your logistics operation.  

By Justyn Faber 18 May, 2017

If your company exhibits throughout the year, then you are familiar with the difference between van Lines and common carriers. In almost every situation, you’ll want to use a Van Line that specializes in trade show logistics versus a common carrier. 

Van lines like Mayflower are specifically designed to haul high value equipment such as trade show exhibit booths because of they are equipped with air-ride suspension, bars, pads, blankets and lifts. In addition,  van line drivers specialize in hauling this type of freight. 

When using a specialized trade show van line, shipping costs are based on the linear feet used in the trailer, the miles traveled, and the fuel used. Weight isn't typically a factor in pricing unless your shipment is extremely heavy. In addition, these charges are governed by tariffs, which are basically U.S. and international regulations regarding transportation costs

Van Lines like Mayflower for example, offer the fastest service besides of course small package carriers such as UPS and FedEx. This is because these loads go directly to its destination venue without any additional stops. As, opposed to common carriers which typically make multiple less than truck load (LTL)  pick up stops along the way. Common carriers cost less rate wise, but the risk of damage and late arrivals make a van line the smarter choice in the long run. 

To learn more about how we help trade show managers and exhibit design house operations please contact us by to schedule an introduction call. 

By Justyn Faber 28 Apr, 2017

Quick Trade Show transportation story to share so you don't have to deal the same issue.....



We had a long term client that every year booked a round trip order with us going to a private trade show. This client is based in MA and the first show was at a hotel in Washington, DC. After handling it successfully without any issues for 5 years in a row, the customer decided to go with an alternate option that provided them with a few hundred dollars in savings. The show location in DC had restrictions, so we would ship this on a dedicated straight truck with a lift-gate. In addition, this was a full white glove, blanket-wrap shipment. The product was lighting & staging equipment, very awkward sizes, tall pieces, odd stacking, etc. So something like this really takes someone with true moving company experience to ensure a safe & effective load/unload process.



The client called our of VP of Logistics, Dan, in a panic on the Sunday evening before the Monday show, stating that their alternate option was a disaster on the inbound load from MA to DC. This particular carrier didn’t provide the full amount of equipment, was unable to be reached for in-transit updates for weekend tracking, and showed up late for their delivery. Since this Trade Show transportation and logistics is our specialty, were able to help. By Monday morning, we had secured a replacement for the return shipment from DC to MA, and customer has booked it with us every year since. They were very impressed that not only were we responsive after hours on a weekend, but also able to secure capacity for them.



This is just one store of how we deliver value each and every time for our clients. If you've ever been in similar situation and want to learn more about our "On Time Guarantee" please visit our trade show page for more information .


Justyn Faber

Director of Business Development 

By Justyn Faber 28 Apr, 2017
We're pretty excited over here at Donovan Logistics. On April 26th we officially launched our new and improved website!

Our previous website did it's job for a while and it allowed clients and potential clients to find us online and get an ok overview of our services and capabilities. But, we knew it was missing some key things. 

For one, although it was a light weight website in terms of number of pages, it didn't exactly provide the full picture of what we specialize in. If you visited that site, you knew that we were a logistics and transportation company focused on trade shows and retail store roll-outs. That's good, since those are two main specialties of ours. What's not so good...is that we do much more than that and we needed to convey that to our market place. We needed to segment our offering s based on industry, as they all tend to have different needs. One thing that all the industries we serve have in common however is that they all require highly specialized logistics experts, operators, trailers and equipment. 

Second, the site was really just a brochure that happened to be online. Back in the early to mid 2000's a company could maybe get away with that. We wanted our visitors to have more information, without overwhelming them. Our vision was to have a resource rich educational website that advised our market on best practices, tips and tricks, industry trends and news, and of course provided an even clearer more defined picture of our capabilities and how we can best serve our clients. 

With this plan and vision in mind, we are committed to featuring great, useful content and insights that would help our audience, clients and potential clients make more informed decisions when it comes to transportation and logistics. 

We've started on that journey and this site will be updated constantly as we receive user feedback. Our team will be adding valuable content regularly. 

So, if you're job is to manage logistics and transportation for your company then this will be a great resource for you. This  blog will also be updated regularly, so stay tuned. Our content plan includes articles for Trade Show manager, Trade show exhibitors, logistics managers, store operations, traffic managers and really anyone that needs to deal with challenging transportation issues. 

We thank you for your support and please feel free to contact us with any feedback and ideas we can incorporate into our resources and site. 


Justyn Faber
Director of Business Development 
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