Running a business is not for the faint of heart. You must create, manufacture, or procure your products and store them until they are sold. You must ship them to customers and handle any following returns from there. It is a big ask, especially when you are busy overseeing staff, making sales and doing all the following paperwork.
While it’s hard to do everything perfectly, there are ways to improve your fulfillment operations and streamline processes so you run a better-oiled machine. For those looking for help and advice, this is how to make logistics more efficient.
1. Robust Communication
To move products from A to B, you need clear direction. This communication line is wide open, so information is relayed and understood throughout the order and fulfilment process. This communication starts with your team and continues to your suppliers, contractors and customers, and allows you to better track inventory and respond to any hiccups in the process so you can quickly pivot or solve the problems.
Communication tools should be at your disposal and include:
- Video conferencing
- Audio calls
- Instant messaging
Good communication improves efficiency, period.
2. Third-Party Logistics Provider
Using a third party logistics provider often makes more sense for busy business people. This is outsourcing your logistics to a third-party company that takes care of your inbound and outbound business.
3PL companies offer a wide range of services, including:
- Inventory management
- Order fulfilment
This lets you streamline your operations and reduce costs by letting a dedicated logistics operation handle the heavy lifting. The process involves:
- Receiving your inventory and organizing each SKU
- Picking orders as they come in
- Packaging them, including receipts and order details
- Printing a shipping label
- Shipping the package from their distribution centre
- Providing tracking information through order management software
- Handling any returns and damaged goods.
This lets you concentrate on your core competencies and let their expertise handle the logistics.
3. Automation Software
Great automation software is available to streamline your processes, reduce costs and save time with your logistics. They work by effectively tracking warehouse operations, managing inventory and monitoring your supply chain.
You want your automation software to collect key data and analysis so you can gain insight into your logistics. This will give you a better vision and improve your business productivity while freeing up your workforce to focus on other tasks like sales and marketing.
4. Pool Distribution
To reduce shipping costs and improve efficiency, you can leverage pool distribution. This is a method of shared shipping where your items are brought to a distribution centre and shipped alongside other packages in similar areas. It benefits you by reducing costs and lead times since only one truck is used for delivery.
You can ship a full load of products to these facilities, and they then load trucks based on location to make short deliveries in key geographic areas where your items and others are to be delivered. It’s like carpooling for goods instead of people.
5. Make Safety And Compliance Mandatory
Ensuring your employees and partners follow safety guidelines and are properly trained is key in their logistics role. You want people to understand safety and compliance, and it is up to you to review the procedures so that all laws and regulations are strictly followed. Ultimately, this will minimize risks and keep your operations running smoothly and efficiently.
6. Benefits of Efficient Logistics
These ideas will make your entire operation smoother and position you better in the marketplace. Additional benefits include:
Stronger Supplier Relationships
As your infrastructure improves, so do your relationships with key players in your logistics funnel. You become an appealing partner who takes priority when you need to move products.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
When fulfillment improves, you get happier customers. You will build a loyal client base, and they will help spread the word about your service excellence.
Efficiency translates into money savings through trimming waste and increasing performance. Strategies that make improvements through your supply chain keep money in the business where it’s most needed.
Better Industry Reputation
This is where you rank in your sector or niche, which is important for your standing with clients and partners. It also makes you more attractive to qualified employees.
Everyone wants to enjoy their workday, and your employees will be less stressed and more satisfied as they work in a well-managed logistical environment.
This is the way to make logistics more efficient. Follow these steps and align yourself with a great 3PL provider to carry the load, and you will see amazing results within your operations.