5 Ways WARP Can Help Optimize Your Store Replenishment Strategy Through Zone Skipping

Store replenishment for big box retailers and grocers can be one of the most challenging tasks to overcome. Managing in-store inventory for fast-moving consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in a dynamic environment is subject to several factors: consumer demand, trends, seasonality, manufacturing, supply chain issues, and more. 

According to a study from the IHL Group, inventory distortion (stockouts and overstocks) will cost retailers nearly $1.8 trillion in 2023. For example, an outdoor retailer has been out of their most popular hiking boots for three days. The boots are sold at $120/pair and the shop sells about 15 pairs a day. They would calculate their stock out as: 3X (120 x 15) = $5,400. That’s quite a bit for a pair of boots alone! 

So how can retailers and other sellers of CPGs manage their store replenishments better? Zone skipping is one solution that can provide several advantages to help optimize a store’s fulfillment capacity, speed, and profitability. 

Reduce Shipping Costs

Instead of using multiple trucks to transport smaller shipments, zone-skipping allows retailers to consolidate these lighter shipments into a single truckload with freight bound to the same destination. A single truck is less expensive during a period of tight capacity and consolidating inventory onto a single truck to the target region effectively bypasses intermediate shipping zones, which can drive up costs. Usually, when a shipment crosses into a new zone, businesses must pay a freight fee – but with zone skipping, this fee disappears because there is no transfer to be made. 

Improve Accuracy and Delivery Times

Zone skipping not only saves on cost but also saves on time in the same way by reducing the typical transfers associated with a hub-and-spoke model. Without needing to stop at an intermediate warehouse or cross-dock, freight can reach their final destination more quickly. This reduces wait time to restock inventory, without spending additional money on expedited services. With inventory pooled into just one truck, merchants can also track their shipments to see the expected arrival time and can plan staffing for their stores more accurately. 

Enhance Order Tracking

Because zone skipping when replenishing inventory utilizes just one truck, tracking and visibility are much more accurate. Because inventory isn’t transferred from truck to truck, carriers like WARP are often able to provide real-time updates on a truck’s location, the status of their shipments, and even an estimated window of time when their store drop-off will be made. This allows for better supply chain management and communication. 

Scalability and Flexibility

Zone skipping is highly scalable, which makes it perfect for stores experiencing rapid inventory turnover or seasonal fluctuations in demand. Instead of sending products via numerous LTL carriers to a store – causing dock congestion, difficult tracking, and more expensive shipping overall – consolidating them into one shipment bound for the same store makes the journey much more predictable. 

Reduces Risk and Damage Claims  

By bypassing traditional hub and spoke sortation centers, zone skipping minimizes the handling of shipments. Fewer handling instances mean a lower risk of damages, leading to fewer customer complaints and returns down the road. The fewer touchpoints your product has to endure, the less chance it has to get either lost or damaged. 

Zone skipping offers an effective strategy for improving delivery efficiency, enhancing customer satisfaction, and optimizing costs through streamlined operations and improved service quality.

Ready to explore how WARP can help with your zone-skipping needs? Visit our website to learn more: https://www.wearewarp.com/direct-carrier-injections

Daniel Sokolovsky
Co-Founder and CEO

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