3PL Logistics Solutions for Better Warehousing and Distribution

What is 3PL Logistics?

The term 3PL stands for third party logistics. It is a process that refers to the outsourcing of supply chain functions and logistics functions to a third-party provider. When one engages in a product manufacturing business, the process of shipping logistics becomes vital. There are many businesses that have ties with contract warehousing, commercial carriers, government postal services and various airlines to get their products shipped from the manufacturing facility all the way to the end customer. However, when the product is ready to ship, the 3PL logistics collect the package and conveniently deliver it to the end customer. The total shipping costs is billed by the service carrier to the business handling department. The third party logistics specializes in transportation and shipping, in turn saving the overall costs of the business and their need to invest in trucks, planes or employees to transport the goods or packages.

In brief, 3PL is a platform in logistics that manages and outsources goods of one company to another company. In the international business market, companies offering third-party logistics have gained a lot of popularity. They are becoming dominant in the field of supply chain management. The support and services that is provided by a third-party company normally include consolidation services, freight, delivery of freight and warehousing and distribution. 3PL services offer logistics solutions to domestic as well as international transactions.

Warehousing

Contract warehousing or also widely known as warehousing and distribution is another method that conveniently outsources to third party logistics. This facility is useful for those businesses that want to efficiently devote their time and efforts to other important priorities like sales, manufacturing and designing of the products. Basically, a third-party warehousing service reduces the number of employees needed and also the amount of space needed for a business to function smoothly.

Advantages of 3PL Logistics

The main advantage of 3PL system is the transportation of goods and products along the supply chain. This logistics includes the proper shipping of items along with handling of paperwork that is related with the shipments.

Another advantage is the concept of third-party outsourcing. When a company hires another logistics organization to manage the shipping and distribution part of the business, the company saves its costs on many aspects. It also improves the quality of the products that are designed and manufactured. Most of the companies believe that 3PL service providers offer quality supply chain services instead of running some functions internally.

3PL logistics system brings many other advantages like less manpower and fewer business headaches. Having a self-business and being an owner of a company, one needs to do everything possible to ensure the profit margin remains intact and profitable. Third-party logistics definitely scrutinizes every problem and provides a solution to everyone’s needs.

The Triumph Thunderbird Motorcycle

While practically everyone on the planet has heard of the Triumph Bonneville, the Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle has not achieved the same amount of fame. And yet, the Thunderbird was at least as important to Triumph as the ‘Bonny’ in terms of sales and popularity .. it simply doesn’t get mentioned as often. Among the Triumph faithful and aficionados though, the Thunderbird is perhaps the most important Triumph to be produced.

It all started with three riders driving across 500 miles at 92 mph on three different – but recorded as stock – Thunderbird 6T motorcycles. In 1949, that was a testament to durability, reliability and speed. From that year until 1966, Triumph produced the Thunderbird motorcycle out of the Meriden factory and shipped them all over the world. All models had a 649c.c. two-cylinder engine – a big increase from the 498c.c. Speed Twin it was modeled after – and was mated to a 4-speed gearbox. It proved to be so well liked – perhaps loved – in the U.S. that, after 1950, Triumph sold more bikes in America than it did in any other country including in the homeland of England.

The Thunderbird motorcycle went away after 1966 only to reappear in 1981 as the Thunderbird TR65. It was simply an ‘economy’ version of the T-140 Bonneville and was only sold in the U.K. and a handful of British Commonwealth countries. It lasted three model years and then Triumph suffered some very tough times.

However, John Bloor brought the company back to full-on production in 1990. Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. of Hinckley began another model run of the Thunderbird motorcycle in 1994. This beauty had an 885c.c. 3-cylinder engine connected to a six-speed transmission and rode on very confidence-inspiring 18 inch front and 16 inch rear wheels. A tractable 69hp and 52ft/lb of torque carried the 485lb dry machine over any distance in any place you could find fuel. It was blessed with classical good looks, two-tone paint and historical emblems and exhaust. Like the first T-bird, it was built for cruising and its parts and accessories catalog was ready to help with anything a rider may need or want.

The Thunderbird 900 Sport motorcycle was produced in 1997. It had many upgraded components – wheels, brakes, suspension, etc. – and put 82hp to the ground – a significant increase. The design was slightly modified as well, but it retained its lovely retro styling. The 900 Sport was the last 885c.c. Thunderbird motorcycle to be made ..

Until the 2010 Thunderbird motorcycle was developed! The latest addition is a rather large twin with 1600c.c. in displacement, a comfortable cockpit, great handling and smooth character. It still lives up to the needs of a cruiser or touring rider, and it is a very exciting and well-balanced ride. The Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle enters a new century and a new icon is born.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from "real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Would not it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other external charges. However, there is a wide variation among others based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things are not the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There is not usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Do not be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter / owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are really getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospect vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive". Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

How to Select the Best Mobile Payment Application

Mobile point-of-sale (POS) solutions enable merchants to accept credit card payments where it is most convenient for their customers. Mobile payments allow merchants to accept and process credit card payments in the aisle, outside the store or anyplace customers prefer to pay. Small business owners or large enterprise merchants with a mobile sales team or non-traditional storefronts can expand their business and increase revenue by accepting mobile credit card payments using their existing smart phone.

Mobile POS systems are setting a new standard in convenience and are easy to implement and support. Merchants equipped with an iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Google Android device can submit, authorize and settle transactions quickly and securely.

Mobile POS systems offer several advantages:

  • Decrease Processing Cost- Merchant can lower their processing cost by using a single merchant account to accept retail and mobile payments.
  • Customer Satisfaction- Improve the customer experience by offering multiple payment options.
  • Flexibility- Mobile transactions allow merchants to take your storefront anywhere you go.
  • Stability and Reliability- Mobile POS software rivals those of the largest e-commerce, trading, and portal Web sites. Mobile POS applications can handle millions of transactions every month.

Lower Entry Cost

Considering that most people would rather lose their wallet than misplace their cell phone, it comes as no surprise that the mobile platform is quickly becoming a new payment option for small business owners. For many, our cell phone never leaves our side. It maintains its place at the dinner table, is easily accessible on your belt clip or in your pocket, and often, somehow it even manages to end up sharing your pillow at night. Today, cost conscience merchants can accept credit card payments without purchase traditional point-of-sale equipment or paying for expensive system customizations.

Market Expansion

Mobile POS solutions are priced for the small business owner and independent sales representative. Merchants can purchase a quality smart phone payment application from $0-$29.95. Questions to ask your mobile payment provider:

· Is the mobile application PCI compliant?

· Does the application support both small and large payments?

· Does the system require a payment gateway service? If so, recognize payment gateways require an additional recurring monthly fee.

· Does the application support swipe and non swipe transactions? Swipe transactions provide lower processing fees.

· What card readers are supported?

· Does the card reader support data encryption?

· Does your system provide online statements for viewing customer transactions?

· What mobile phones are supported?

· Does the system ensure no customer payment information is stored on the cell phone?

· What are all the fees associated with accepting payment?

· How quickly are customer payments funded to the merchant’s bank account?

· What is the license agreement? Specifically can the merchant load the mobile payment application on multiple devices?

We’ll undoubtedly see many mobile application providers come out of the woodwork as the industry matures. However, merchants should look for a mobile payment provider with multiple years of experience in the payment processing industry.

Top Mobile Payment Applications

1. MobileAuthorize (Google Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iTouch, Windows Mobile)

2. iPayPOS (iPhone)

3. RoadMerchant (BlackBerry)

4. MobileMerchant (iPhone, Windows Mobile)