Logistics is a vital part of operations in many businesses today. But how can a small business make sure that theirs is running like clockwork? Keep reading for a few tips to get you started.
1- Plan and Strategize
Fail to plan and prepare to fail, as the saying goes. A proper plan is essential for excellent logistics, as it can contribute to increased productivity and maximized profits. Take some time to put together a logistics strategy, even if it is a simple one. Include objectives and goals, what you aim to accomplish and what should be prioritized.
Will you focus on providing a cheap alternative or is next-day-delivery an absolute must? If you are not too sure about what to prioritize, a good start might be to explore what your customers want. No business can be great at everything, so use the strategy as chance to put what you want to focus on into words.
You should also develop a flow chart, as a plan for the various steps involved in procuring, storing and delivering your goods. Make sure to include alternate options, to make sure that unforeseeable circumstances do not throw the whole operation off. A logistics partner will be able to help you with your strategy as well as your flow chart and other aspects of logistics planning.
2- Communication is the Key
As in most relationships, the ones you share with your logistics partner and customers are built on communication. A common mistake is to assume that your business partner reasons the same way as you, but this might not be the case. It is better to talk things out and communicate clearly as early on as possible. Otherwise you might end up with shipment delays and quality related problems.
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Effective communication with your customers about their deliveries might elevate the way they feel about your brand. A delayed delivery might not feel so bad if you set up a good system for status updates. And simple returns may increase the chances of returning customers.
3- Get Help from 3PL
When you partner up with a third-party logistics company, or 3PL for short, you will get peace of mind knowing that experts are handling this aspect of your business. They will already have a warehouse set up, people ready to work and experience from partnering with other businesses. Essentially, 3PLs have a streamlined routine and will get your logistics up and running like clockwork in no time.
A common notion in small and mid sized businesses is that third-party logistics is too expensive for them. A lot of the time, this is not the case. A flexible 3PL partner will be able to set you up with a solution that fits your needs and requirements. And when you see the improvement in shipment and delivery process, customer satisfaction and peace of mind, you will probably wonder why you did not try third-party logistics sooner.