With the right mix of shipping solutions, UPS helps keep Best Bully Sticks competitive in a dog-eat-dog business.
When Avrum Elmakis and his wife, Lauren, launched Best Bully Sticks from their home in 2008, the fledgling business was sending out just four or five boxes of their all-natural dog treats a day.
"What we love is the ability for us as an e-commerce company based on the East Coast to get packages out west in three business days," says Avrum Elmakis, Best Bully Sticks owner.
Most shipping companies didn't think the small volume was worth their attention. “The only person willing to work with us was Renée Jones, the small-account rep from UPS,” CEO and owner Avrum Elmakis says.
Best Bully Sticks didn’t remain a bantam-league business for long. The company’s growth has been solid enough to place it on Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Business List in 2012 and 1000 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Business List in 2013, and Elmakis was recognized with Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Emerging category in 2013.
Throughout the company’s expansion, UPS has stayed by the side of Best Bully Sticks, offering new logistics solutions to keep up with demand. “UPS and Best Bully Sticks’ partnership over the past five years exemplifies how UPS can help support our customers’ needs and accelerate their growth,” says Gary F. Gonzalez, UPS senior account manager.
The Elmakises no longer have to share their home with piles of dog treats. The company now ships more than 500 packages a day from its sprawling Richmond, Va., headquarters.
“I would say UPS has been highly involved in every important shipping and logistics decision I’ve had to make, from the beginning to the corporation we are today,” Elmakis says. “It’s a comfortable external division of our business and a partner to us.”
From Virginia, the company found that deliveries to its Western customers were taking five to seven days to arrive. But because of what Elmakis calls “the Amazon effect,” customers expected fast, inexpensive delivery. In 2013 UPS analyzed the Best Bully Sticks supply chain. UPS found that by using a mix of delivery options it could guarantee three-day shipping within the 48 contiguous states for a flat fee.
The company relies mostly on UPS Ground for the Eastern states but employs UPS 3 Day Select® shipping for Western states to ensure three-day maximum transit times to all customers.
“What we love is the ability for us as an e-commerce company based on the East Coast to get packages out west in three business days. Our customers have the expectation that they’ll receive their shipments quickly when they order online," Elmakis says. "We're saving literally almost two days' time in transit difference.”
By using this delivery mix, Gonzalez says the company has reinforced its message of being a premium dog chew brand.
Systems, software and scales
It’s not just in transit time where UPS is supporting this growing business. Best Bully Sticks turned to UPS to help select the software it uses for its shipping system.
Under the UPS Customer Technology Program, UPS has provided the company with scales, a computer system, software and printers – worth an estimated $15,000 – to help better manage shipments. In addition, when Best Bully Sticks opened a new facility, UPS consulted with the owners on the layout to optimize the picking and packing for business-to-consumer shipments.
Best Bully Sticks also needs freight shipping for inbound inventory and outbound deliveries to the pet stores and supermarkets that carry its products.
“We tried other carriers, but UPS is able to do everything my business needs, and I don’t have to have multiple arrangements and agreements with multiple shippers. We use UPS almost exclusively and we get highly competitive rates,” Elmakis says.
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