Logistics play a pivotal role in the successful running of many business operations and getting your shipping and receiving strategy right is key to smooth everyday operations and profitability.
Details like using customized steel bearings to move heavy equipment and stock around your warehouse with ease, are all part of the overall inbound and outbound logistical planning that goes into making all parts of your business come together.
Maintaining a competitive edge
In order for a business that is selling products to customers, there is a definite need to adopt a different mindset and strategy that is purpose-built for a modern retail environment.
If you have a logistics strategy and operation that is more geared to serving the traditional bricks and mortar model, it may need a rethink so that you have a logistics process that copes with a more dynamic online retail climate.
More customers than ever before are ordering items online and expecting a prompt and seamless purchasing experience. This shift in trends and attitudes dictates that in order for your business to grow and succeed, your distribution center is going to have to be dynamic enough to satisfy these demands.
Understanding inbound logistics
Inbound logistics is about dealing with aspects such as delivery, storage and transport of goods that are coming into your business premises.
Both inbound and outbound logistics involve an element of supply-chain management but understanding the subtle nuances and different priorities as well as the similarities between goods in and out, will allow you to develop a workable strategy.
Optimizing your inventory management
Your goal is always going to be about providing your customers with an efficient service that gives them a great experience, from the moment they place an order to when the delivery arrives.
Improving your service levels should always be on the agenda and one way of doing this is to optimize your inventory management system so that it is as efficient and robust as you can make it.
One of the areas where business struggle in this regard, is in trying to find a clear way of measuring effectiveness in a way that you can then set about implementing improvements. An effective inventory management system will probably involve as many as about 20-25 different metrics, so that you get a chance to properly stress-test and measure your inventory management performance.
It seems that a fair number of businesses are not currently taking full advantage of technology tools available, so if you don’t already do so, it might be a good time to look at how you can deploy some automation into your process.
One of the many ways that modern consumers have changed, is that they have become far more price-conscious and driven by innovation.
What this means for a logistical perspective, is that you need to have an inventory and stock management system that is able to cope with regular product launches and surges in demand for certain items, when they are subject of sales promotions that gain traction quickly.
Your aim should be to try and develop a way of forecasting how these changes will impact your logistics planning and how you can be proactive rather than reactive in your approach.
Consumers are far less loyal and forgiving than ever before, so you need to be geared up to deliver both on price and product itself, when customers come your way. If you hope to keep them happy and ordering from you again.
Developing a workable transport policy
Getting everything right in the warehouse and expediting orders efficiently is just one part of the equation, as your outbound logistics have to be watertight too.
Depending on the size of your company, you may either have your own network of delivery operatives or you might need the support of third-party logistics to complete the final journey between sale and delivery.
A transportation management system is going to help you formulate a successful logistics operation and you might even want to consider investing in a commercially available software solution to work out the most efficient strategy and get the most out of your transport options.
You might be able to set up a shared services model that works for you in terms of performance and also cost.
There is a lot of thought and planning that will need to go into developing a successful inbound and outbound logistics system that works for your business, but the hard work and planning oftens pays off and allows your business to grow.