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Adaptable Logistics for Your Business
Nick Bartlett is the Co-founder and the Director of Marketing and Sales at CBIP Logistics. Using its global network of partners, CBIP provides supply chain strategies and logistics services to create an easier and more adaptable way for any sized business to streamline the process. With a central office in Hong Kong, CBIP has expanded its network from the Asia Pacific region to North America to the UK to secure the most optimized and efficient logistics and fulfillment options available.
Nick has over 12 years of experience in logistics, e-commerce, marketing, supply chain management, and the traditional retail space across multiple regions. At CBIP, Nick closely monitors new markets and believes successful business operations come through value-based relationships. Before CBIP Logistics, he was the Owner and Head of Sales at InXpress and served as a Sales and Marketing Management Consultant for Royal Dutch Shell.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [01:53] Nick Bartlett talks about CBIP Logistics and the services it offers
- [08:36] Logistic options for businesses
- [14:06] CBIP Logistics’ business model and success stories
- [21:20] Nick speaks about their 4PL approach
- [23:39] Logistic challenges entrepreneurs face
- [32:38] CBIP Logistics’ pricing model
In this episode…
Running a successful e-commerce brand requires more than a good product and an attractive website — you must be able to handle the logistics process efficiently. In the wake of rising e-commerce and global manufacturing, logistics has become a complicated industry with supply chains spread across multiple regions and countries. Is your business equipped to source logistics partners at a moment’s notice?
From managing inventory to shipping products and handling returns, logistics can be challenging for e-commerce entrepreneurs. Fortunately, there is a solution that can help streamline your logistics operations while complying with global regulations so you can take your business to the next level. Nick Bartlett recommends hiring a fourth-party logistics service provider to help you navigate this complex landscape, including dealing with unexpected shipping delays, managing your inventory more efficiently, and handling returns and customer service issues.
In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Pat Yates sits down with Nick Bartlett, Co-founder and the Director of Marketing and Sales at CBIP Logistics, to discuss logistics solutions for your business. Nick talks about logistic options, CBIP’s business model and success stories, its 4PL approach, and how it solves the logistics challenges entrepreneurs face.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Nick Bartlett on LinkedIn | Twitter
- CBIP Logistics
- Quiet Light
- Quiet Light Podcast on YouTube
- Joe Valley on LinkedIn
- Pat Yates on LinkedIn
- Mark Daoust on LinkedIn
- Quiet Light Podcast email: [email protected]
- The EXITpreneur’s Playbook: How to Sell Your Online Business for Top Dollar by Reverse Engineering Your Pathway to Success by Joe Valley
Sponsor for this episode
This episode is brought to you by Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.
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If you’re new to the prospect of buying and selling, Quiet Light is here to support you. Their plethora of top-notch resources will provide everything you need to know about when and how to buy or sell an online business. Quiet Light offers high-quality videos, articles, podcasts, and guides to help you make the best decision for your online business.
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Pat Yates 0:32
Hello, and welcome again to the Quiet Light Podcast. This is Pat Yates sitting in for Joe Valley. Today we have a great conversation more of a vendor-driven thing. If you’re an entrepreneur out there, a lot of people have gone through some really tough times with import shipping, rates a couple of years ago went up, four times the amount that you had sometimes logistics of direct ship from China’s is challenging if some people are doing that. Otherwise, import sometimes just seems like this thing that no one wants to mess with. So today, we’re talking with Nick Bartlett at CBIP Logistics. And he’s going to talk a little bit about how you can direct shipping to Amazon. Let’s say that you have an Amazon-only business, you’re looking to trim some of your costs, as costs are rising. There’s always an opportunity to terminate it and maybe get it into your Amazon warehouses quicker, more efficiently and hopefully more cost-efficient. So Nick Bartlett is the director at CBIP Logistics, and I know he’s an expert on this. So I can’t wait to get to him. I’m looking forward to talking to Nick, let’s get right to it. Nick, it’s great to have you on the Quiet Light Podcast today. How are we doing?
Nick Bartlett 1:30
Good. Thanks, Pat. Thanks so much for having me. Good to be here.
Pat Yates 1:33
Oh, of course, man. It’s great to talk to you. I mean, I’m sort of logistics guy. Having 20 years in econ business. I’ve done every single part of it. But it’s sometimes it’s great to talk to people to understand what’s going on in the industry right now. But before we get going, maybe tell everybody about CBIP Logistics yourself and maybe your background. We’d love to hear about it.
Nick Bartlett 1:53
Yeah, thanks, Pat. Well, first and foremost, you might hear my accent that I come from a small country in the South Pacific, in New Zealand. But I left a small island nation about 10 years ago and relocated to Hong Kong, where I have resided for the last decade or so with my wife and with my two kids. And since being here about eight years ago, we built a business called CBIP Logistics, which was a fourth-party logistics provider. And the whole point of our business model really was to try and bridge the gap between sort of what we saw in the Asia hub was sort of a real lot lots of great infrastructure, but a real lack of kind of e-commerce connection. And the ability to help brands that were considering already operationally producing in the east and wanting to ship globally through a cross-border transaction or whether it be through a multi-market warehouse, sort of strategy from an e-comm logistics perspective. So over the last eight years or so we’re slowly building out CBIP Logistics to be a leading for PL logistics right out of Asia, but servicing Western customers and servicing Western brands. And the whole idea with that is that we have operations here in the East. And we also have operations in all of the key destination markets like the US, UK, Europe, throughout the Pacific, where we’re servicing customers, both at the origin, and the destination end and sort of trying to build a unique and variable or agile logistics model that enables customers to have options when it comes to the logistics, but most importantly, sort of gather as much control and influence over how they run their logistics, particularly when they’re operating it at a distance where it’s really hard right American brands that produce in China that are like how do we do this, having guys like us on the ground with Western experience, as well as local connections is sort of been the basis for our business. And we’ve had some good fun with it. But here we are eight years old, and still working. So I haven’t quite nailed it completely. But really enjoying working with such a wide variety of brands and seeing how much growth we’ve had in the industry across e-commerce has been has been awesome. Right? COVID was a friend to us rather than for a lot of people where it was very hard. And so we feel fortunate that we’re in a position where we can continue to help brands grow globally.
Pat Yates 4:10
Yeah, it’s interesting. And I think that your industry is really interesting to me, because entrepreneurs find ways through everything, but I have conversations with people about customs bonds and import, and they start losing their mind. I’m not sure why it is that people are so intimidated about ocean freight and import things. Maybe you could talk about like, what’s interesting about CBIP Logistics, as you’re talking through it, is you’re not just doing import, you’re not just doing customs duty containers coming in, you’re looking to logistics inside their country, ways to warehouse ways to distribute, because I really feel like there’s an intimidation point for a lot of entrepreneurs that don’t really understand this and they feel like maybe a full-service company like you. Maybe that’s perfect for them. Is that kind of the mentality of your company.
Nick Bartlett 4:51
Yes, absolutely cherry-picking. I think the big thing we try and say to people is we’re not a commodity. We’re a value-based business. And the whole point of that is that we want to bring value to the brands and individuals that we work with. And by doing that, one part of that is education. In the biggest conspiracy, there is all the biggest smoke and mirror there is around logistics, it’s the fact that there is so much smoke. And when you look at things like importation, customs clearance bonds, haulage all the port disaster that was happening during COVID, this so much bullshit, if you don’t mind me saying that sitting inside the industry that becomes really problematic for brands to navigate. So a big part of what we do is try and educate our partner collaborate, and really work with people in a real sort of full service capacity. But the biggest thing with the industry is that it’s actually really, really simple. And if you strip it all back, and you say, what is it that we do? What is it that customers need us to provide? It’s the movement of goods from A to B. But the level of complexity, the number of partners, the number of hands in the industry has become densely fragmented. And that fragmentation has caused rising costs, it has caused dysfunction in terms of operation. It’s created confusion. And this level of perception of things being tough. But an actual fact, it’s about having basic understanding, working with partners that can navigate the smoke and mirrors, so to speak, as well as being with a partner that actually educates you about how to do these things. And for a lot of entrepreneurs that I whether they be product-based or not product base, they’re always going to have some, there’s always potentially going to be some logistics-related influence that will occur during their business life. And the idea with our business model is we certainly try and be that value-based partner to make things different and easier for the people we work with. And we just go back to can we create value, does it add value, and we don’t want to be commoditized. And if those two things can be answered that we can add value to the brand, then we’re a good partner. But if someone’s just looking for the nastiest, cheapest, roughest price point, and that’s all they care about, then you know what that digging their own hole with that one, because what happens in those situations is they end up calling us for help. Because they end up in a situation where oh, my containers stuck, or I’ve got issues with my courier or I don’t know what’s happening with my freight forwarder with my container on the water, whatever it might be. And so you’re absolutely right. There’s a huge amount of smoke and mirrors, but our business model tries to break that down and, and offer real transparency and value-based consulting very basic management of those of those challenges.
Pat Yates 7:48
So I would assume like you’re saying, there’s no one option for anyone, the great news is, is people have different business models. So you may have an opportunity to plug and play a couple of different opportunities for them. And maybe things they don’t even necessarily realize, because I think there’s a real push. I see a lot of people that are doing direct logistics, they’re shipping directly to customers from China, just eliminating container shipping, things like that, which is kind of an odd model to some people, but it works for other companies, depending on if they own their product or not white labeling or anything, maybe talk a little bit about, let’s say, start to finish one of those options. I mean, people understand containers, if you order them, they come to say Shanghai port, if we’re dealing with China, maybe other places, then they come to the US through California somewhere and they get on the rail. That’s the tradition. So maybe talk about some creative things that people might not think about that could actually improve their business you might be able to do logistically.
Nick Bartlett 8:36
Yeah, sure. So, I think you did, right, there’s this sort of the traditional route, which is the bricks-and-mortar type model, we produce lots of stock. And we sell it to our retailers FOB. And the retailer facilitates and organizes the freight, out of the origin market. So for example, let’s take Walmart, for example, Walmart buy from new Pat, and they buy a whole bunch of bed sheets or whatever it might be. And they buy that in bulk. They shipped that into their distribution centers, and they put that on the shelf. For a lot of brands, that’s particularly in FMCG space, that’s always been the most productive and most efficient method, right? Because they’re not involved in the freight. They just produce it and they FOB seller out of China directly to the customer. The way that that has evolved over time, and the options that we’re seeing that customers are now exploring, are quite varied to that. And this one model that we call a domestic supply model. And a domestic supply model is where you are selling as a brand. You may be selling online or you may be selling to a traditional retailer or a marketplace. And you’re bringing those goods into the domestic market. So into the destination market, you’re selling and you’re holding enough stock, maybe 90 days, 190 days’ worth of inventory. You’re rolling that stock and you’re replenishing locally. Now this has become an increasingly popular method or option because a lot of buyers like retailers are actually expecting you to be able to supply locally versus the old FOB terms. So this domestic supply has become quite a big sort of option that a lot of brands have worked on. And then the other third big option that a lot of brands are working on now is more of a direct injection model. So working either on a just in time, so bringing freight and just in time as it’s needed, not having any real major of inventory holds in the market that they’re selling to and just distributing directly to the customer. So, for example, that might be a direct injection of ocean freight container or a freight shipment directly into LA, bring it in cross-docking and shipping it to the retailer or to the customers wherever they may be. And that has some massive benefits in terms of one, your storage, your domestic storage obligations become next to nothing. So you’re not paying anything ridiculous for that. In addition to that, you’ve got a much lower costs on the Chinese side, if you’re holding stuff, for example, or any origin market for that matter, whether it be Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, whatever, it’s always gonna be cheaper than charging for West Coast, warehousing in the States, for example. And to be honest speed, there’s a big benefit to a direct injection model speed is relative, it’s actually relatively the same as if you did an air freight direct injection versus if you held stock locally, and then did the delivery, you might be talking about maybe a one to two-day difference. So there are some big changes in the way that brands are getting their products to their customers. One is the old way, which is as you mentioned, second is a domestic supplier model. And the third is more of a direct injection, which we’re seeing a lot more of, particularly for brands that can afford the direct injection model. The direct injection model doesn’t work for all brands, because the value base might be too low, like the GMV might only be 40 US dollars, or 80 US dollars, right? It’s not enough to justify warranting a direct injection unless you’re paying cheap prices for your freight out of China, whether it be like a single parcel delivery or whatever. But generally speaking that there’s a big shift towards those latter two options. And it’s nice to see that customers now are getting more creative. But I’d say the most common and most popular thing we’re seeing more of now is that just in time model, people bringing freight and just in time holding what they need to being really smart about how they forecast and plan. But I think also on the flip side of COVID taught us anything, it’s that you we need to expect the unexpected. And we need to build contingency. And we need to build mitigation against some external macro factors that that may or may not influence us. And part of that is having diverse supply chains. Part of its being agile, part of its being smart about how you manage your supply chain in the future. And that’s what our business model is really trying to do is to help businesses to be more professional and how they manage their logistics programs, not just for this quarter or this year, but for the next two, three, four, five years as they look to change and scale their own businesses.
Pat Yates 13:09
It is really amazing because I don’t think people think enough about how they can reverse engineer their logistics, if someone’s doing 100%, Amazon FBA and they have the ability to do just-in-time inventory like you’re talking about. I mean, your costs can plummet if you find a way to be able to either store it efficiently where you don’t have to touch it, or you actually send it straight into FBA, maybe give the listeners out there an example like let’s use a small business, and I just want you to walk them through, let’s say that they have a small business with 20 some items that they bought from one vendor in China, and they decide they’re only going to sell on Amazon, or they’re going to fulfill orders just through Amazon, if they do on their direct site. How can you start to finish tell the steps to the entrepreneurs out there of exactly how you do this, and what it would look like to them. And maybe I’m not talking exact tangible savings, but maybe expand on it and talk about how you can save time and money in that because I would assume that’s really the goal here in this kind of situation for the entrepreneur. So I know that’s a service that you provide, and I’d love for them to hear how you do it.
Nick Bartlett 14:06
Yeah, so first thing we do is we look at the profile of the FBA shipper or the FBA merchant. And part of looking at that as we try and understand what were they producing to where did their sales go? FBA can be a little bit of a tricky one right? Because the way that FBA operates is obviously a multi-DC type in injection program right. So, depending on the profile of your business that may or may not suit this just-in-time model may or may not suit you but from a smaller merchant perspective, the first thing we do is we have a look at the profile of the merchant themselves. Second things we do is we have a look at the nature of the profile of their production where they shipping from, what the sort of accessibility and frequency of freight that we can get from that market from that particular area may look like. So if it’s somewhere like Shinjin, or Hangzhou, or somewhere in Shanghai or North China, whatever, generally speaking, it’s going to be generally excessively pretty, pretty good. Then we look at sort of the supply side. So how frequently can the brain get stock? Can they get stock once a week and get stopped once a month? What’s the replenishment cycle look like? What are the throughputs look like on the other side? And then effectively, what we do is, once we take all that information, and we say okay, and then we look at a forecast and a buffer on either side of the forecast, and we say, okay, we think that we can bring in a certain amount with a direct injection model into FBA, which means that we load a number of containers, or maybe a number of LCL shipments like less than container load shipments, we put those in maybe on a weekly or bi-weekly replenishment. So we’ve got this revolving door, right? No matter what’s happening, we’ve always got stock just kind of either on the water coming in or sitting at the DC to go out. And we try and build this nice sort of flow of activity happening in every line of the state. So activity happening and production activity at the port activity on the water activity at the DC and activity for the last mile delivery. And if we can help them achieve that now, obviously, everything is based on sales, right? So if you have a really great period where you sell lots, and then you have a bad period where you don’t sell lots that can get a little bit jaded quickly. But we try and be agile in the way that we manage it. But if you’re a small merchant, and you didn’t want to be holding too much inventory and you wanted to be running as much of a just in time model as you can, then certainly we can help you facilitate that process. And more importantly, once it kicks in, we then take care of it once it arrives, we prefer if it needs prepping for FBA, because they may not prep it and China. And then from there, we send it into the either nominated one or nominated several Amazon FBA locations. So it is possible, but it doesn’t just to be clear, doesn’t always work for all different profiles, right? It will work for some profiles really, really well. But it won’t work for everyone. And I think you may have seen in the US of recent times, Amazon have cut the how much stock you can hold with them. So once upon a time, you could just drop whatever you wanted right? Now they’re saying, hey, guys, rein it in. We don’t have the space anymore. Please go away, and send us exactly what you need. Don’t send us too much.
Pat Yates 17:23
Yeah. So with the understanding that many products gets sent to different warehouses, because the size, whatever it is, however, Amazon, their algorithm decides where you send products. So would you think that it’s a blended model, let’s say someone’s doing that, that’s probably the best setup for them is to find you for the import that gets to your main warehouse, and then you distribute it out from there, ie maybe half of it goes into FBA, because of storage limits, like you talked about, and the other half gets warehouse with you. Or let’s say that, for instance, one of your items is housed in Wisconsin, I’m just making that up. Maybe you have a warehouse in northern Chicago, where you put that item. So when it needs to be replenished on FBA? Is that a complexity that happens in this? Or do you find one warehouse that you stage everything out? And then get it into FBA? What’s the process here? And maybe it all doesn’t go in?
Nick Bartlett 18:11
Yeah, and that’s exactly where I was, it’s great you’ve asked that question, because that’s exactly where I was gonna get to with these limits is that what happens is, what these limits is that you can’t necessarily run that efficient just in time, because you just run out quicker than you can get it. Right. So it makes it really difficult. So that’s what we call this sort of staging environment or crosstalk-type environment as a secondary warehouse. And because Amazon’s brought these limits down, it means that more of these secondary locations have actually popped up. So we can certainly do that. We do that frequently for a number of customers where we hold, like, I’ll give you an example. We’ve got an Australian customer that sells on Amazon does really well on Amazon, US, and they do a bed linen product. And they effectively are doing about 60% of just in time and 40% sitting in inventory with us. So effectively, every time we replenish the stock holding that what goes from the stock holding goes into Amazon FBA. So it’s like this nice little loop if you like. And it’s a really efficient way of running, they run very consistent sales cycles. Very good. We planned for promotional periods, such as like Black Friday and whatnot. But that jewel is becoming increasingly popular. It’s actually what’s driven up a lot of the costs, particularly on the secondary warehousing. So like, these overflow sites or whatever you want to call them, the cost of these overflow sites has actually become more and more expensive because Amazon said, no, no, no, no, no. And everyone’s had way too much sitting in the market. So my view is that any FBA sellers should be running either a just in time completely or should be running at the secondary flow that I’ve just talked through. Because that will help reduce your costs will make you more efficient. And to be honest, I think a big chunk of merchants job on FBA or whatever the sales channel was, is to also hold your production as accountable as was possible for readily available supply as well, right. So if you have a good production point, you have people on the ground, you have resources that are monitoring and actually managing the stuff effectively, then, really, there should be no reason why you should ever have too much-working capital tied up in too much inventory at any given time. Well, and I know that sounds like the perfect story, but like, that’s really what everyone should be aiming for.
Pat Yates 20:23
Sure. I think one of the things I’ve talked with a lot of entrepreneurs at Quite Light and some people that I speak to about logistics, and it’s weird, because this is one of those odd things that shouldn’t be as difficult, but people are so intimidated by so many different ways, because like, people just don’t realize that if you spend, let’s say, 1000 bucks moving something one extra time, you just added probably 10% to your product costs for anything that you currently have. So some of these efficiency become really, really important to your landed cost. Talk a little bit about maybe how you guys, and maybe you talk about a four PL approach that you guys have talk a little bit about that and how they can do a start-to-finish thing that not only can be more operationally effective, it can probably be financially affected by turning over all the logistics and maybe what that entails.
Nick Bartlett 21:10
Yeah, so the biggest benefit of a four PL. And sometimes there’s misconceptions about four PLs, which is always hard to listen to. But I think it’s all about the positioning of the four PL more importantly, but for us, as a four PL we give customers options, that’s the best way for me to describe it. And what I mean by options is that if a customer comes to us and gives us a problem, or gives us a scenario, we present options back to them, these are the options available to it’s not glued. I’m not trying to sell Pat Yates transport, or button that transport. I’m trying to sell the best solution based on the network of providers that we have. And so if you are a cost, if you are a business or a brand or product owner looking to expand or looking to consolidate and get efficiency of your logistics, then working with a four PL will enable three things that will enable the ability to get options, the ability to definitely reduce cost, but more importantly, it’s the internal cost. It’s your own costs, it’s your people’s cost. It’s all the cafe, if all the back and forth all the freight forwarding does that does that, I think anyone that’s had any touch points with logistics can see how inefficient communication can be at the best of times, you should be working with one provider that centralizing and for you bringing it together for you offering you internal efficiency, cost efficiency and options. So what happens when DHL goes down to what happens when mercy stop shipping? What happens when CMA run into the next Suez Canal? What happens? What are your options. And so if anything, in the last few years has taught us it’s that giving yourself having contingency in your business is important from a logistics perspective, but also having options is really important. And a provider like us as that’s what we enable, I guess as these options. And that’s, if we’re working for someone from A to B, we’re very, very transparent. Like we don’t own the trucks. We don’t own the warehouse. We don’t own the ships, right? Like, we’re very honest about that. But we’re also not a broker, we create the value, we build the program, and then we deliver it for you. And the idea with that is that it creates value. And value creates long-term relationships. And that’s really what everyone wants.
Pat Yates 23:22
It’s really amazing. So I’m looking through some of your e-commerce solutions. I mean, there are things that I haven’t touched on, because most of our listeners are e-commerce entrepreneurs and all of them struggle a little bit with logistics. What other parts of this do people sort of miss that you will find is a common mistake for everyone in logistics.
Nick Bartlett 23:39
One, one big mistake that we see a lot of is a real lack of p&l understanding for logistics. So total cost contribution of logistics. I think a lot of the time, a lot of early-stage businesses, they think, oh, that looks good. And they don’t model it out. They don’t really identify what the problems may be. So that would be one really common thing is just a real sort of lack, I guess of p&l understanding of when you take it down to like the unit level. The second thing would be just a complete. Not lack of understanding, but like a real underestimation of the importance of logistics. A lot of people think, oh, it’s easy. Just whack it in a plane, put it on a truck, put it in a warehouse, it’ll get delivered. You spent I think, Pat, you’ve been running your econ business for 20 years Right? You know firsthand the amount of mistakes and operational headaches and unhappy customers and disasters that can come from operations right from logistics operations. So the underestimation is a really common thing. And so what we often do is like we’re educating customers about hey, these are the things you need to think about, if you’re going to like our most common customer is someone that’s looking to expand. So someone that’s in a market, looking to go to another market or wants help to regenerate their existing market? And quite often the first place we start is tell us everything there is about you, your current operation, tell us everything about your business about your customers. What do they say about you? What are your reviews online look like? And we try and literally look at all of that and work backwards. And so okay, well, most of you, people say that you’ve got good delivery, they like fast, whatever it might be. But by doing that, we actually educate brands that the logistics, we try and bring the logistics up to the same level as the marketing or the product or the brand, right? We trying to elevate it. Because if we elevate it, then it gets more eyeballs. Now, sometimes it goes against us, because then we have all the business owners asking us 1000 questions, right. But that’s not a bad thing. So probably the most common things are commercial, sort of a real commercial gap sometimes underestimating the importance of logistics, in terms of the total business. But most importantly, I think, even though they’re two quite big things, they are surprisingly common, even in bigger enterprise businesses as well. Not just a small brands, but we also see it with the bigger. And so that’d be a couple things. But I think if you look at some of the trends across e-comm, logistics, returns is a big headache for a lot of brands now, how do they manage returns? How do they get the right returns infrastructure in place? So that’s a big one is an emerging sort of area. And another one, I guess, is really on delivery options, we see a lot. I was actually having a conversation today with a partner that specializes in localization of stores, online stores. So if you go, if you in Hong Kong, you go onto your website, it automatically converts everything to Hong Kong, and then Chinese and all the rest of that. And one of the big things that that they were saying to me on the call was that it’s just a mess of the amount of gaps that get created, when you start actually exploring the expansion that some of these brands are going on, particularly when it comes to sort of managing returns managing the customer experience in managing multiple delivery options. There’s a real lack of influence on those particular key items that really drive the customer experience and whether or not a customer comes back and purchases from you or not. Because a customer may don’t have a good experience the first time around, then, good chance, they are not coming back.
Pat Yates 27:27
I agree with that. I think that logistics is so important. And I think people have so much. I don’t want to use the word anxiety. But it’s probably true about logistics anymore. We went through a tough two or three years where containers were sitting in the water, if you could get them you were lucky. And then it comes right on the top of going from 6000 to 26,000 when I call the biggest money-grabbing in the history of logistics, which I’m sure you were part of, but I’m not going to complain about you. But here’s my real question about do you have contracts when you’re importing like this can help people avoid costs, things like that? Were the people that were really in trouble not working with the right people that can help them to hedge those costs? In hindsight, maybe not. Maybe there was very little savings, or maybe you could help them in some way get it quicker, whatever it’s going to be rewind when everyone was having that stress, and tell us why working with your company might have helped that if it did.
Nick Bartlett 28:15
Yeah, well, first thing I can tell you that that time was so stressed, I probably aged about 10 years that time. Because, yes, we made some good money. To be perfectly honest, we did. But it came at a big cost and a big stress cost and operational pressure, as well. So to answer your question, first of all, I would say that the COVID time was super stressful. So whilst we made some good money and all of that, certainly it was didn’t cut, it came at a pretty good cost in terms of operational pressure, and stress and all the rest of it. And I think, the optics of it being stressful were very, very true. I had guys on the phone every day 4 am, 5 am asking me why the container was parked at Long Beach 400 kilometers off the shoreline. And when the hell it was going to arrive? And I was like, how can I know? I mean, do you want me to go get my speed boat and pull it off the boat myself? Like, I don’t know. So it was a shitshow there’s no doubt about that. But in terms of kind of whether or not you could have avoided it, certainly it was very unprecedented time. So that price point of 20,000 North or 20,000 like that was crazy, right? But could you have avoided it? Could you have built protection? I think the best advice I would say is that if you work with someone that can give you options, then I think you can alleviate that pressure cooker but, if you’re working just contracted with one carrier, then I think you were always going to be nice deep in trouble. Whereas at least with us, you would have had some options now not desperately not to say we could have avoided it because we were at the mercy of the carriers like everyone else. So the carriers put 10 grand was 10 grand but I think if you work with someone that can give you options that certainly helps as the first point, and then probably the second point on that is protecting yourself against potential future scenarios where there may happen again. And what I mean by that is, we’ve talked a little bit about the different options that you can have when you’re looking at building your e-commerce business, or maybe looking to make changes in your e-commerce business. And one of them is around holding some stock in the destination, some changes to your current business model may be required, in order to protect yourself in the circumstances at a future event, like COVID were to proceed itself, because I think we’ve seen firsthand now what the carriers will do when the going gets good, is they will milk it till the cows come home. And that’s what’s going to happen. So we’ve got to be prepared for that. But I think you can be smart, you can build contingency in your business, you can look at different ways of servicing your customers, you could look at different production points don’t be so much reliance on one should be looking at multiple potentially holding some stock and market not overstocking yourself, of course. So there are options. And I think COVID has taught us lots of good lessons. And we should be looking at these lessons as we go forward with certainly comes into most of our conversations with brands, which is, hey, why are we doing all the production in China still? Should we be looking to diversify? Should we be looking to, you know, hold more stock and some of your other countries where demand is growing? Should we be looking at alternative production markets with you? Whether that be Vietnam, or Taiwan or somewhere different. So certainly a very tricky time to say the least. But I think if you work with the right people, and you have the right relationships with the right levels of trust, then hopefully you wouldn’t have got taken advantage of as we saw, as much as we saw some customers that did. I mean, we had customers just bleeding, shipping 20, 40, 60 containers a month that 20 grand and they normally shipping 1500 bucks. I mean, talk about bleeding cash. I don’t think I’ve admired short, relatively short careers, 20 years or whatever it is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something quite as drastically obvious as that.
Pat Yates 32:15
Yeah, it was definitely a tough time. So as we go forward, again, we’re talking with Nick Bartlett at CBIP Logistics, Nick, tell us a little bit about CBIP and how they structure their clients. How do you come up with quotes to be able to do these certain things? So does business need to be a certain size tell us about your pricing model and how you bring on clients?
Nick Bartlett 32:38
Sure. So from a business structure perspective, we have three core products, we have e-commerce logistics products, which is all about helping brands build logistics programs for their brands globally. We do currently have 15 warehouses operating globally 10 different jurisdictions, and e-commerce logistics for us is all about warehousing, fulfillment, and delivery, and returns and with a nice wrap of technology that sits around that. In terms of pricing for that product, or most of the time, it’s just a standard rate card universal globally. We don’t overcomplicate it, we try and keep it really, really simple, as much as we can based on the different jurisdiction, seeking product we have as a full-service logistics product, which is really helping customers in that full-service area. So that includes all your air freight, your ocean freight, your customs clearance, your brokerage haulage, et cetera. So that product is more of a traditional product, our full service, but a lot of our brands actually we that we do the e-comm logistics product for also use our full-service product because it’s complimentary, right? Like if you’re working with us in four countries for warehousing and fulfillment, it makes sense to work with us on your air and ocean freight from origin. Because we can do all the facilitation the AC means we can work with the factories etc. and makes it nice and nice and easy. Then the third product we have as a debt also sorry, full services also just quoted on a product by product basis. So like if it’s the air freight, ocean freight, brokerage haulage, whatever it might be, we quote that on a very simple level, but quite similar to probably how a freight forwarder would sort of quote, that type of work. And then we have a consulting product, which is really just about helping brands to build programs and design programs, and you may not choose to work with us. But the idea with the consulting product is that, we really, really deep dive into your business, we look at all the nooks and crannies, we provide you with a whole bunch of recommendations and support around what you can and can’t do or shouldn’t do. And then from there, it’s sort of up to you if you want to use us to execute it or you’d like us to help you find someone else. We do have a really cool catch without consulting products, which is we charge a fee upfront to do the consultant. And then we have a catch that if you actually do the work with us, we’ll give you the consultancy back. Because to be honest, the consulting fee back doesn’t really mean much to us. It’s not that important to us. The most important thing that’s important to us is long-term residual quality relationships, that’s really what we’re after. But from a structure perspective, that’s sort of the 3 core products, we have people and each one jurisdictions that we have, we have account minute we our account management team. So we have a very hands-on sort of team operating day to day, as well as having a management team for escalation of finance, HR functions, etc., that supports the business across the 10 jurisdictions that we’re operating in at the moment. Commercially, we’re very simple, and we try and be as transparent as possible with commercials. So we always talk about wanting to be a different and agile type of provider. Our pricing is a big way of showing how we’re different and how we’re agile. If customers want us to price a certain way, then to be honest, we’re quite open to that. We’ve got a number of different pricing mechanisms in place that we have we sometimes we have like a fixed price, sometimes we have a variable price, sometimes we have a cost plus price. So we do have a real range of different pricing methodologies that we follow as well.
Pat Yates 35:54
It’s really incredible. I mean, Nick, obviously, you have a ton of diverse services, I mean, e-commerce entrepreneurs out there, please reach out to Nick, and be able to talk to you about your lizard. I think people just need good information around them, even though they may have some reservations. I’ve worked with the same import people, I’ve done the same thing for 10 or 15 years. So that doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed. So I would encourage people to reach out Nick, is there anything else? Tell everyone how to get in touch with you at CBIP Logistics or anything else that you would like to add that we haven’t gone over?
Nick Bartlett 36:22
Yeah, sure. I think, if you came for a chat, we’re always keen to have a chat, you can reach us at CBIPlogistics.com. Just drop us a line on our contact form there. Alternatively, you can reach out to me personally, Nick Bartlett on LinkedIn, or Nick_CBIP on Twitter, we’re on quite actively talking about direct-to-consumer trends and different pieces of news and insights that the economic and in terms of additional information, look, I think, if you’re looking for an agile, different type of religious experience away from the transactional, more heavily commoditized industry that we’re so, that most of us are probably quite used to, then we could be a good fit for you. We’re not necessarily good fit for everyone. And that’s okay. But most importantly, we’re always up for a chat. We’re very open, we’re very, sort of down to us caring people, we care about getting the best for your brand, and your product and hopefully that shows up in the way that you interact with us whether or not you choose to work with us or not. So my best piece of advice is just if you want to chat just come and have a chat, easiest.
Pat Yates 37:24
I agree with that. 100%. And I think, especially in last couple years has made me even think in my business a lot more about logistics. So I’d encourage people to reach out to you. Nick, this has been a great conversation. I really appreciate you. You taking the time. So listeners out there if you need to get in touch with Nick Bartlett at CBIP Logistics do that. Want to make sure that if you’re importing product, you know all the options, whether you shipped directly from China or bringing the United States and how you get it spread out through there Nick, I really appreciate you coming on the Quiet Light Podcast today. I think everybody’s gonna get a lot of good information out of this.
Nick Bartlett 37:54
Cool. Well, thanks so much Pat. I really appreciate you guys having me on. Thank you.
Pat Yates 37:58
Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at podcast at quietlight.com. Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.