Next Gen Collaboration: How SC Ports' supply chain expertise solves Kent International's challenges
Kent International produces one out of every six bicycles sold in the United States. It is one of the largest bicycle companies in the world and is known for its high quality and great design. From factories in China and Taiwan, Kent imports 2.7 million complete bicycles.
In 2014, Kent opened their first major bicycle assembly plant in the United States in more than 20 years. A 200,000 square-foot facility in Manning, South Carolina will be home to the production of 1 million bicycles per year by 2022. Walmart is a major customer, as well as Target, Amazon, Academy and Toys R Us.
Kent invested in the new bicycle manufacturing and assembly facility in South Carolina in 2014. At that time, they needed to quickly develop a new logistics structure to support global supply chain activities in this new market. They needed insight into container shipping, trucking, warehousing and intermodal resources that would keep their supply chain running efficiently and on schedule.
Kent’s facility in Manning was a little over 80 miles from the Port of Charleston, a natural gateway for their bicycle imports from Asia. Kent has long-term plans to ship to Europe and Asia, and being close to this major seaport is vital. Prior to 2013, 90% of Kent’s shipments were routed thru the port of Los Angeles.
Supply chain reliability is a top priority for Kent. It’s critical to keeping Kent’s assembly line up and running to ensure retail customers have finished products in stores as promised.
Kent International found a dependable business partner in the SC Ports Supply Chain Authority Team. After all, SC Ports knows the ins and outs of the local South Carolina and U.S. Southeast market - the suppliers, services and resources - and is able to quickly and effectively provide timely supply chain counsel and options. With boots on the ground, SC Ports has access to the most up-to-date information available.
The Supply Chain Authority Team assisted Kent in various ways, including finding available warehouse space and determining trucking capacity. They also provided insights into ocean carrier service options and advised Kent when container service changes occurred. Today, Kent is warehousing more than 60% of its bicycles through a 3PL (third party logistics provider) in Ladson, South Carolina approximately 20 miles from the Port of Charleston.
The collaboration with SC Ports’ experts helped to ensure Kent’s logistics operations and supply chain run smoothly and on-time in order to prevent costly delays. Originally, finding a great partner in the Southeast was a challenge for Kent. They’re pleased they found a dedicated, knowledgeable partner in Charleston.