FIDELITONE’s order fulfillment centers in Elizabethton and Nashville, Tennessee are advantageous for a variety of reasons. “It’s the combination of culture in the area and the advantages you get with cost and speed to the customer,” says Jeff Walt, Director of Engineering Services in Wauconda, IL. These locations are strategically located to provide 1-2 day fulfillment to all major markets in the Eastern U.S. by ground service. The close proximity to major parcel carriers reduces freight expenses and improves service to the end customer. Labor costs are also lower than most states in the US which helps to reduce overhead.
According to Shopify, “Free shipping continues to have a significant influence on purchasing for 75% of global shoppers.” Although customers expect free shipping, that cost is often made up for by the retailer. The freight and labor cost savings that come from locating your fulfillment center in Tennessee can be passed along to your end customers in the form of free shipping.
Three of our supply chain experts, Jeff Walt, Tracy Batts, Director of Strategic Accounts in Nashville, and Rick Sutphin, General Manager in Elizabethton, discuss what to consider when choosing a fulfillment center location and how Tennessee may be the right choice for optimizing cost versus service.
1. TENNESSEE IS STRATEGICALLY LOCATED
Closer to your suppliers or closer to your customers? Having proximity to your customer base and/or proximity to your suppliers can provide different cost savings. “Regional distribution points help to improve transit times and reduce outbound transportation costs,” says Jeff. Getting closer to your customers means reduced shipping costs, quicker fulfillment times, and more satisfied customers.
The fulfillment center in Elizabethton is conveniently located near major highways and expressways, while Nashville boasts access to three major interstates. Tracy adds, “Having a fulfillment center in Nashville allows us to reach 80-88% of the US population within 2 days without the expense of other locations.”
Having multiple locations in close proximity is a unique advantage for FIDELITONE clients. Rick explains, “Multiple locations allow us to be flexible with our warehouse capacity. We are able to expand and contract operations quickly as we have three facilities located within an hour of each other. We can move excess inventory from one facility to another and back within the same day.”
2. Proximity to Major Parcel Carriers Increases Speed to the Customer
Both Elizabethton and Nashville are very close to major parcel carrier sorting hubs including FedEx, UPS, and DHL. This proximity allows for later pickups at the FIDELITONE fulfillment center, typically until 3 pm Eastern Time.
An order can be placed, picked, packed and shipped all on the same day, and that’s an advantage to the customer. Any time you can ship on the same day instead of the next day, you cut a day out of cycle time and increase the speed to the customer. Proximity to the hubs is also a factor in shipping costs.
3. People are Continuing to Move Southeast
The southeastern states including Tennessee and the Carolinas are enjoying an influx of new residents looking for more affordable housing, a lower tax burden, and a lower cost of living overall. As more people move south, 2-day shipping to cities like Dallas, Houston, and Miami becomes essential. FIDELITONE’s Nashville location offers 1-2 day transit to the Southeast and Texas to help you capture this growing market.
4. Favorable Labor Market Offers Reduced Costs
In Tennessee, there’s no personal income tax on wages or salaries so more money goes into the worker’s pocket, representing significant cost savings compared to states like Georgia. For a brand considering a third-partner fulfillment partner, wages impact your variable fees. Inbound receiving, pick and pack, and manual kitting or assembly activity are all impacted by labor rates.
“Our location balances our access to an advanced, high tech logistics workforce and resources with the hands-on attention to customer service that our clients and customers expect,” says Tracy. Rick adds, “The diversity of our workforce allows us to be nimble, adapting on the fly to customer needs so nothing falls back on the client. The two words that best describe our capabilities in Tennessee are adaptability and dependability.”
Both locations are also registered with the FDA to handle food products and can offer the value added services you require including assembly, kitting, or specialty labels
5. Tennessee is a fun place to visit!
Collaboration with your supply chain partner is also important.
Our visitors typically travel through Knoxville, Tennessee or Asheville, North Carolina to reach our fulfillment centers. Elizabethton is just 50 minutes from Asheville, where you can visit the arts scene downtown. From Knoxville, take a detour through the beautiful mountain town of Pigeon Forge where you can enjoy white water rafting, tubing, and amusement parks.
In Elizabethton, enjoy a beer with us at Yee-Haw Brewing. Check out the Bristol Motor Speedway if you like NASCAR. If you’re visiting us in Nashville, be sure to see a show at the world-famous Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium and check out the Country Music Hall of Fame. And don’t forget to grab a bite of some Nashville hot chicken while you’re here.
Lean on a top 3PL partner to help you with the decision-making process.
As you look to make decisions on where to locate your fulfillment center or whether to add a second location, you should be able to lean on your supply chain partner to help model different scenarios.
“We have tools in house to run different scenarios and show what the impacts on speed to customer and costs are with multiple facilities versus one facility,” says Jeff.
Please contact our team with any questions or to schedule a virtual fulfillment center tour. Our supply chain experts are happy to consult with you to build a solution to meet your specific needs.