According to April data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, total e-commerce retail sales have increased 39.7% year-over-year. Today’s consumer desires quick fulfilment and delivery, so with record congestion at the ports and record-low inventory-to-sales ratios, third-party logistics providers are under tremendous pressure.
Chart: Andrew Cox/FreightWaves; data: U.S. Department of Commerce
That pressure is spurring creativity for St. Louis-based ITF Group, a tailored-solutions 3PL with its own assets and warehouses that was featured on a recent episode of WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Tim Breckenridge, vice president of business development at ITF, introduced ITF’s new Pop-up Fulfillment Pod solution targeted to smaller e-commerce and retail customers.
“It’s tailored to a customer’s budget,” said Breckenridge. “If you only need a small 10-by-10 or 20-by-20 room with simple racks and bins, that’s what we’re going to offer. We’re not going to oversell you. We want to limit their expenses and exposure and make it a lean program and tailor it to growth. A lot of fulfillment customers right now are stuck working out of their garage or trying to be their own boss, so we really wanted to tailor this to entrepreneurship.”
ITF prides itself on onboarding new customers extremely fast, regardless of size or whether the end destination is a consumer or a business. One of its consumer packaged goods (CPG) customers requested fulfillment space of 155,000 square feet, and ITF was able to go live with receiving and fulfilling that freight in only 48 hours. On a daily basis, it handles inbound containers as they come from the port or rail and then executes those fulfillment needs: receiving, kitting, packing, custom packaging, processing, storing and shipping.
“We knew that if we could do it for the large CPG company, then we can definitely do it for the smaller size,” he said. “The network of warehouses that we have in St. Louis is over a million square feet spread across five buildings. Somebody asked me the other day, ‘What white-glove services do you offer for the first couple of weeks?’ I told them that the white-glove service isn’t just two weeks. It’s for the life of your business with ITF and we hope it’s a lifetime of business.”