AS 45: How I had Metric Tons of Cargo go 2820 miles in the wrong direction

16 Aug 2016


Today’s podcast, episode 45, is How I had Metric Tons of Cargo go 2820 miles in the wrong direction

Today I woke up happy. Then it turned to confusion. Then it turned to panic. Oh, the highs and lows of an entrepreneur. Lessons can be learned here.

24 Hours ago, all was all okay. 24 hours ago, I was curious, but comfortable. I had pretty large shipment coming into the U.S. The stakes were high. My inventory was low/ depleted. The manufacturer had major delays. It was time for this to arrive. So I was happy. That was 24 hours ago.

Logistics, wise, I use a very qualified freight forwarding team. I had recently pinged them to see the status. The night before, I had pinged them where the location was, as The shipment had just arrived to the U.S warehouse, but my UPS labels did not activate. Meaning, if your ups sticker labels do not say “In-transit” it means they have yet to be picked up.

My freight team said, they had changed the ups bar label, and gave me the new number. I was like okay awesome, it got picked up, under a different #.

The problem lied here within. I had added pre-paid boxed labels on all the boxes. But for whatever reason, they set up a new shipment address, in the system. Somewhere, someone had entered it to send to Naples, Florida.

The UPS final address, rather than going 1-hour drive to Amazon’s California address, the shipment set to go on a sightseeing trip across the United States.

As I logged into UPS, the next morning to see why it hadn’t arrived in the FBA warehouse, it said

“Last location: Memphis, TN”. My happiness instantly left. Confusion for a split second, as my heart rate continued to climb. As it still does. Major panic. My poor units, lost out in the middle of nowhere. They have no idea where they were are at. How can I help them? Who will protect them from the rain, and bad guys. What if they never get opened.

But in all seriousness, this is a major issue. And it’s currently on-going. Problem is my freight forwarding team is sleeping cause of the time difference. The one thing they were tasked to do, they got wrong. I’m disappointed but forgiving. These things happen. And I’m not their only client.

Okay David, So how do I prevent this issue from happening? That’s a good question. I thought I could. I I’m not entirely sure this situation was preventable. Everything was correct, but somewhere along the lines, because the units were in high quantity, they had decided to use their own shipping label for pallets rather than the labels on the boxes. The freight team had created a unique UPS address upon themselves, and now the shipment is out in Tennessee, and moving to me. The logic makes no sense. When logic and common sense are not used, things just go on their own path.

Preventing scenario’s like this, is done by those who have a stake invested the most. Continuously ping all areas of the business to ensure everything is running, the way it is.

According to Google, A 1-hour drive for my shipment, had turned into a 42-hour drive, a 2820.9 mile drive for the freight. Now I can’t really express all my feelings fully about this situation. I’d say I’m weathered. It’s been quite a journey so far in Amazon, private label, logistics, shipping, design, development marketing. It’s no easy task. We do so much, things are bound to come up like this.

Perhaps if I was a Target, or a Walmart, losing pallets of inventory is no big deal.

Your’re probably wondering, how the heck did you not notice that you paid for a 2820.9 mile drive? Basically what my freight forwarding team does is do now, pay later. So they cover the cost initially, then the payment is done per completion of job.

What freight team did you use? Well I’m not here to knock on them. I prefer not to say their name, everyone makes mistakes in their businesses. The goal of this is to all learn from it. We must be agile, adept, and quick to correct our course when the winds travel in the wrong direction.

Perhaps I didn’t lose this inventory. And It’s likely that I haven’t. And if I did, that’s where there is freight insurance comes in. But nevertheless, I’ve lost at least another week, probably two, of precious time selling. And when the stakes are so high, a week of selling is a lot of money, especially when you use that cashflow for future shipments, and calculations for how much you’ll have when next payments come.

The golden nugget here, is be very aware of all the pieces to your business. No one knows it better than you. If I had not checked what my freight forwarding team was doing, I would never have caught the mistake they entered into the UPS system

If I had caught it 24 hours later, the shipment could have traveled another 1000 miles by then.

It could be worst, I suppose.  On the bright side, I can tell my kids one day that I had tons of cargo travel 2800 miles in the wrong direction.

That’s all for now guys, David Aladdin, out.


Article under Analysis:

After 2 years of Amazon Prime, here’s why I switched to – Business Insider

I loved this article because it was consumer written, meaning, it was the eyes of a customer, complaining about his problems using Amazon. It tells you Amazon isn’t perfect, and also that Amazon has some problems not just with AliExpress, Alibaba, but now a bigger threat in the U.S, potentially with Jet. Walmart is no small company. In fact, its’ a behemoth. I saw as a poor online brand presence. It lacked a tech vision that Amazon has, and even the brand quality that Amazon has. The Walmart brand vs. Amazon brand to American ears, just rings Amazon has way more quality, and superiority. Walmart had to pivot in the e-commerce online era of selling. And thus they bought Jet, a completely new brand to represent their drive towards beating Amazon. Never have they been out matched. Walmart for the past few decades has been used to taking out small businesses left and right. Amazon did the complete opposite. It gave small brands a chance to compete with big brands. It opened the playing field back up.  But

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