Outbound logistics within the supply chain plays a critical role in a supplier’s overall customer relationship management. Outbound logistics can be defined as the process related to the movement and storage of products from the end of the production line to the customer. Failure by a supplier to give dependable delivery service to its clients can result in significant financial loss. Thus, improving outbound logistics performance represents a significant factor in an organization’s overall success.
Outbound logistics includes the “last mile,” or the final step of the delivery process. This stage of transportation is often referred to as one of the make or break actions for customer relations. Because of its critical role, any firm can benefit greatly from the ongoing assessment of their outbound logistics performance.
WHERE’S MY PRODUCT?
To paint a picture about just how important this segment of the supply chain really is, we can examine the emotional impact. How do you feel when you receive a product 3 days late? What are you feeling when you’re notified the time of expected delivery, and they don’t arrive within the reported window?
We’ve all been there, and it is not a happy experience. When this happens to me, I start to imagine my product lost among a pile of packages in some warehouse.
If you have experienced this, you may have felt disappointed and frustrated by such an occurrence. You can easily imagine how your customers feel. Additionally, if their business is relying on your delivery schedule and quality, the impact is always magnified. It’s a challenging process to earn a customer’s trust. However, it is very easy to lose it.
We agree that people and customers alike, hate late product deliveries or damaged product. As a result, we can understand that the shipping process is not only critical to the customer, but also to the overall success and growth of your business. So, we offer 5 tips that are critical for improving your logistics. Effective and efficient logistics benefit the entire enterprise. Purchasing, Procurement, and Supply Chain Managers specifically can profit by reviewing our list.
Meeting growing demands and exceeding customer expectations includes mastering the following:
- Document and improve your operational processes.
- Open and efficient communication channels with warehouse personnel.
- Perform new technology solution assessments more often.
- Streamline B2B business processes and documentation with EDI.
- Boost customer happiness with consistent and accurate communication.
Before we start digging into the details, we feel it is worth reviewing what our ultimate goals are. We are trying to get better, but what are we working to achieve? At the heart of logistics are seven areas we seek to do correctly every time we begin a shipment. They are known as the 7 Rs of Logistics.
Make your outbound logistics more effective by documenting it.
Now that we know what we are working towards, we can start to look at our tips in more detail. The first one engages a continuous business improvement strategy. While this is a broad and vital concept on its own, we put the focus on simplifying the shipping process.
It isn’t unusual for organizations to have multiple apps and rules patched together to complete just one internal shipping process. However, for best performance, straightforward methods work best. This means leveraging continuous improvement techniques.
Start off by making a list of what aspects of the current shipping process are working smoothly, versus those that seem to extend the shipping duration. Subsequently, define your steps to overcome the issues you have identified as causing confusion or unexpected delays. If you don’t have internal tools at your disposal, see this post teaching how to generate these steps from scratch or this guide for process optimization.
OPTIMIZE WAREHOUSE COMM
Improve communications with critical warehouse personnel.
- Consistent Rapid response from your warehouse is critical
- If you can not get in touch with your warehouse supervisor in minutes, if not seconds, change that
- Email is a backup, text apps can work
- A real conversation helps remove ambiguity and gives a better chance to answer questions immediately
Use technology to locate product and assets faster.
- Every organization must have a reliable way to identify precisely where each item is located
- Make use of beacons, wireless scanners, and apps
- Devices combined with automation software will provide a return on investment
- Anti-tech policies will not continue to work long term
- Automate tasks that minimize human error to save time and money
Make use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which is a standard used by most modern transporters
- Relieves the pressure of using paper-based system
- Much more efficient at storing and tracking documents
- Overall cost and time savings
- Major upgrade for reducing costs and effort when expanding operations
Plan on keeping your customers informed at all times.
- Keep customer updated throughout the product journey
- Consistent honesty relieves customer stress
- Transparency builds trust and improves business relations
- Pay attention to key milestones in the delivery process
- Allow for parcel tracking using their smartphone using a tracking code
- Let them opt in for delivery status updates via SMS
In conclusion, enhancing your shipping process is a strategic part of the overall supply chain management system. For long term success, make more frequent investments in modern technology to streamline operations. Simply review the cost-benefit analysis vendors often perform as part of a project study.
With great demand requires greater responsibility. Therefore, step up to the challenge and take the opportunities to upgrade systems.