As the toy industry prepares to gather for Toy Fair New York, two big topics of conversation are sourcing and logistics.
Over the past year, toymakers have faced several challenges that have made an impact on the business of getting product into North America and doing so in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner. One company that has decades of experience in handling the ever-changing nature of North American shipping is Regal Logistics. The company works with some of the biggest toymakers in the industry and offers services that can benefit toy companies of all sizes. The Toy Book caught up with Clark Koch, vice president of operations for Regal Logistics, to discuss how the company is helping its clients navigate a changing industry.
“As a third-party retail distribution provider with 50 years of toy industry experience, Regal Logistics delivers innovative shipping solutions, state-of-the-art systems, lower costs, and better results,” Koch says. “We offer comprehensive services, from port to sale, for North American toy companies importing from Asia and specialize in weekly replenishment services and distribution.”
Koch says that Regal’s customers benefit from the company’s experience in shipping to Amazon, Walmart, and more than 800 retailers and specialty stores with industry-specific solutions and streamlined logistics processes that improve product flow. Regal’s advanced information technologies including electronic data interchange (EDI), real-time shipment tracking, warehouse, and transportation management systems are built to exceed standards and accelerate goods to market via high-velocity distribution centers in multiple port gateways.
The Toy Book: Given the dominance of Amazon in the marketplace and growth of e-commerce, what are some ways that Regal can assist its clients in adapting to the changing preferences in shipping, warehousing, and trade?
Clark Koch: “As Amazon says, ‘We chose Regal Logistics to be part of our new transportation initiative for high volume shippers.’ Regal helps its toy customers supply Amazon successfully, meet supplier requirements and exceed expectations. We’re Amazon’s choice for ensuring customers improve purchase order (PO) processing and transportation flow. Our high-volume shippers’ program consolidates routing, creates more full truckloads and reduces less than truckload (LTL) shipments.”
“Toy companies shipping to Amazon via Regal benefit from:
- The Amazon Traffic Portal;
- Multiple customer PO entry and routing;
- Amazon-aligned supplier ship windows;
- Weekly PO entry, routing and shipping synergy;
- Regal first stop on Amazon ‘Milk Run;’
- Carrier preloading drop-and-hook program; and
- A direct communication channel.
“We realize our toy customers supply all kinds of retailers, and Regal has a strong track record of ensuring compliance and seamless distribution to more than 800 of them,” Koch says. “We use our experience and expertise in the toy industry and comprehensive systems to save customers time and money by mitigating chargebacks, delivering product exactly as required, meeting standards for packing, labeling, and on-time performance.
“Since retailers demand electronic transmissions, Regal EDI supports all inbound-and-outbound data sets and electronically receives and processes thousands of transactions every day. It’s a complete, fully-automated solution with real-time event notification, visibility and access to inventory, order and shipping status.
“Regal’s toy customers benefit from:
- Direct-to-retailer or consumer distribution;
- Retail compliance mitigates chargebacks and returns; and
- Lower administrative costs and improved customer service.”
TB: Regal is noted for its on-time compliance with Walmart. How can the company assist toymakers in dealing with Walmart requirements?
CK: “Regal’s experience shipping to Walmart means smooth, reliable distribution and replenishment programs, and the ability to achieve OTIF (on time, in full). As a master ship point to Walmart, we deliver cost efficiencies, improve fulfillment, and reduce suppliers’ freight factors. As Walmart says, ‘Regal Logistics is an example we use when instructing new vendors on our expectations for routing and loading their freight.’ Expertise, consistent service, and volume make us a preferred multivendor pool facility that works directly with Walmart Corporate Traffic so high priority shipments get the utmost attention. Finally, Walmart has 24/7 access to our authorized trailer pool facility and the drop trailer program ensures immediate customer freight drop-off and pick-ups.
“Regal’s benefits to Walmart customers include:
- Leveraged supplier scorecards;
- Use of customized reports to fulfill OTIF plan;
- Avoidance of invoice penalties, improved supplier status; and
- The ability to achieve two-day delivery window compliance.”
TB: As the toy industry continues to consolidate efforts through a wave of mergers and acquisitions, many companies will soon be re-evaluating their third-party logistics services. What other important services does Regal provide to help toy companies with their logistics challenges?
CK: “Our toy customers say it best: ‘We needed a warehouse that had plenty of space to be flexible to handle our seasonal difference in requirements and goods inventory management. Regal has been in this business for years and knows the ins and outs of shipping to all the retailers.’ With 2.4 million square feet of high-performance, flexible distribution infrastructure for cost-effective warehousing in significant port gateways, Regal’s toy customers benefit from standardized, retail-compliant operations; EDI, WMS, and RFID; high-tech communications with data redundancy; security-controlled areas; sophisticated freight-handling equipment; VNA and flow racks; value-added services; and full transportation management.
“Regal’s state-of-the-art distribution centers offer coast-to-coast coverage throughout North America. Our modern distribution and warehousing facilities are strategically located near sea, rail, highway, and air transportation networks and feature fulfillment, full carton, cross-docking, and small parcel services enhanced by real-time shipment tracking.
“Real-time inventory is also critical. Our online account access dashboard, MyRegal, is functionality and speed that makes work easier and the supply chain more productive. It’s a powerful, easy-to-use shipment tracking system with one-click access to distribution status, enhanced EDI views, and downloadable documents.
“Additional benefits to Regal clients include:
- Real-time data for just-in-time delivery and retailer compliance;
- Immediate, secure access to perpetual warehouse inventory;
- Integration with carrier tracking;
- Control of their entire order cycle; and
- The ability to manage events, analyze workflow, make critical operational decisions, and see their business succeed.
“Companies interested in learning more can visit regallogistics.com.
Look for more toy industry updates in the February 2020 issue of the Toy Book, available Feb. 22!