Picture a start-up company that is launching an exciting new product based on patented, breakthrough technology. How much time and effort do you suppose it wants to devote to figuring out logistics?
The answer, of course, is none at all - which is why it makes tremendous sense to partner with a full-service logistics company that can design and implement a turn-key solution. That is just what SOMS Technologies did after inventing and launching the microGreen Extended Performance Oil Filter for the automotive aftermarket. SOMS has numerous patents on this technology, which it took nine years to develop.
As with most start-ups, SOMS is a small, lean company, says COO Steve Kirchner. It outsources many back-office functions, including all warehousing and logistics. "We didn't see any need to spend the investment and capital on logistics when we were first getting started," Kirchner says. "After looking at numerous candidates, we developed a business relationship with OHL. They handle our warehousing and all of our shipping requirements."
That leaves SOMS free to focus all of its attention of making and marketing the microGreen filter. The product installs exactly the same as a conventional oil filter, but the canister actually contains two filters - a regular filter and a micro filter that captures very small particles. With a microGreen filter, engine oil reportedly stays much cleaner much longer, allowing vehicle owners to go 30,000 miles without changing oil. The filter needs to be changed every 10,000 miles; on the third filter change, the oil is changed as well.
The microGreen filter currently is available for passenger cars and light to medium-duty trucks. Sometime next year SOMS expects to introduce a filter for heavy-duty, Class 8 vehicles.
SOMS initially is targeting the largest 100 car and truck fleets as well as smaller, local and regional fleets, many of which are operated by municipal governments. "These fleets have lots of vehicles and they are looking for efficiencies," says Kirchner. "By using our filter, a fleet will save up to 65 percent on oil maintenance costs and will use 70 percent less oil and 50 percent fewer filters - so there is both an economic benefit and an environmental benefit." Consumers can buy the product in two-packs off the company's internet site, www.microgreenfilter.com.
Shipping requirements managed by OHL include handling all Customs clearance as well as Importer Security Filing (ISF) entries for SOMS. OHL also provides freight management for all of SOMS' imports from China, where the product is assembled, by ocean and air, depending on how quickly the orders need to get to market. SOMS Technologies' products are distributed directly to consumers and to SOMS fleet customers from one of OHL's distribution centers in California . For product sold over the internet, OHL also breaks down cases of 12 and repackages the filters in sets of two.
"We felt that we were selecting the right partner with OHL," says Kirchner. "After working with them, I am pleased to say that we were right."
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