With all the talk in our field about putting the customer first, I was surprised to read an article in which a company claims a different strategy. In the June 1 edition of JOC.com, Stewart Lamont, from Tangier Lobster, says his priority is the health of his product, followed by the health and reliability of his logistics strategy.
Lamont, Tangier Lobster’s founder and managing director, goes so far as to say that he tells his clients that he doesn’t care about them. “All we care about is the lobster,” he says. “And if we care about the lobster, and make it foremost in our logistical planning and execution, it will work for the customer, which, in turn, will work for us.”
Tangier’s list of constraints will sound familiar to many supply chain professionals: supply, time and distance. However, lobsters also present some unique challenges – they are alive for one. For Tangier, its shipment time is compressed to no more than 35 or 36 hours, starting the second the lobster leaves the Tangier facility.
“Our job is to find the quickest, most reliable transit to market,” Lamont says. Notice, he didn’t say anything about cost. Instead, he concentrates on know-how by matching forwarders’ strengths to the needs of the end customer. He uses three forwarders at Halifax International Airport in Nova Scotia and two at Logan International Airport in Boston. In addition, Tangier uses only a few air carriers, refusing discounted airspace from other airlines.
Optimizing logistics is pivotal for Tangier, and Lamont always is looking for greater efficiencies. Therefore, Tangier avoids both flying its products using connecting flights and transfers through airports prone to delays. Tangier also utilizes advanced packing technology and avoids trucking because it adds time.
Lamont’s strategy is working. According to JOC.com, Tangier Lobster shipped 3 million pounds of lobsters from Nova Scotia by air in 2017. The company expects it will ship 3 to 5 percent more in 2018. Worldwide, customers have more discretionary income to spend on things like lobster. In fact, Tangier ships 60 percent of its lobsters to Asia. Lamont says in China, where income is increasing and people are moving to the cities, customers are seeking seafood, especially shellfish.
Further, 30 percent of Tangier’s lobsters are shipped to Europe, where Lamont predicts growth between 20 and 30 percent over the next three years.
Can you get your products to customers around the world in less than 36 hours? Should you try? Not everyone is shipping lobsters, but many of you are shipping goods far from where they are made. By this time, you’ve learned that there is more to consider in logistics than price. The reliability of the companies you work with can be worth the extra money you pay.
Consider the following definition of freight forwarder from the APICS Dictionary: “The ‘middle man’ between the carrier and the organization shipping the product. Often combines smaller shipments to take advantage of bulk costs.”
Effectively using and evaluating your logistics providers, including freight forwarders, requires in-depth knowledge. The APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution designation demonstrates that knowledge to employers and shows you have what it takes to move organization strategy forward. Find out more by visiting apics.org/cltd.