Musicians take their gear seriously. Very seriously. And when it comes to making great music, they need straight answers, first-hand knowledge, and the best products – delivered fast.
Whether it’s a vintage Gibson Les Paul gold top guitar, new Gretsch drum kit, or a favorite accessory, the Chicago Music Exchange (CME) team – all of whom love music – has its customers covered.
CME serves tens of thousands each year through its traditional storefront in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood and online at ChicagoMusicExchange.com. Musicians can browse a comprehensive collection of guitars, drums, synthesizers, amps, and accessories.
Brian Robertson leads the shipping department at CME where he and his staff send out 500 to 1,000 packages each day.
About a year ago Robertson asked Sifted to help him find new ways to control and reduce unnecessary shipping expenses. Sifted stepped up with its LI Pro – Logistics Engineering service.
“When you’re spending over a million dollars on shipping each year, there’s always an opportunity to spend less. I asked Sifted to help us analyze our spend and make recommendations,” Robertson said. “They mined every line of shipping data, reviewed every service term in our agreements, and came back with recommendations for six-figure savings.
“When you’re spending over a million dollars on shipping each year, there’s always an opportunity to spend less. I asked Sifted to help us analyze our spend and make recommendations,” Robertson said. “They mined every line of shipping data, reviewed every service term in our agreements, and came back with recommendations for six-figure savings.”
-Brian Robertson, Shipping and Receiving Team Leader at Chicago Music Exchange
Action: The Deep Tracks of Shipping Data
Robertson said the Logistics Engineering project with Sifted started with one simple question: How do we develop a deeper understanding of shipping agreements?
“Sifted started by looking for odd patterns of charges and surcharges, geographical concentrations, transit times, and service levels,” Robertson said. “They found some things that looked weird and that’s what got us started.
Sifted investigated and quantified the possibilities for us.”
Air and ground shipping transit times were analyzed. Package dimensions were calculated. The data points were compared to the contract terms.
“Sifted gave us their findings and recommendations and showed us step-by step what to ask for,” Robertson said. “They gave us negotiation and communication tips that allowed us to have productive conversations with our shippers and get better rates where they matter the most for our business.”
Outcomes: Negotiating – And Saving – Like a Pro
Robertson said Sifted Logistics Engineering has not only enabled savings in the near term but has also prepared CME for General Rate Increases in the future.
“We’ve saved more than $350,000 in shipping costs working with Sifted,” Robertson said. “And we know how to set ourselves up for success in the future and minimize the impact of the General Rate Increase.”
“Sifted has been an excellent business partner for us,” Robertson said. “They’ve learned our business and personalized their services to meet our unique needs, plus we’ve developed relationships with them that make it feel like they’re an extension of our team. This is how successful business partnerships are supposed to work, and we’ve got the financial results to prove it, too.”