To master your logistics management, it’s worth remembering how it’s is defined for your business. Logistics management works across all sectors, but we’ve found an industry agnostic way of describing it to be most useful in framing your planning: to manage the fulfilment of internal & external project lifecycles and supply chains in the most efficient way possible.
Finding more efficient ways of moving resources and products from conception to completion and finally to customer, not only saves money for your business but drives brand reputation and is the key to customer satisfaction. The larger your operation, the more steps you will have in your logistics management plan making efficiency throughout the supply chain paramount to success.
We’ve come up with 5 top tips to master your logistics management and RMA process.
Be Clear About Your Goals
Transportation, shipping, receiving, storage and management basically sums up logistics requirements. If your goals include greater efficiency, more sales and cost savings then technology plays a vital role in optimising efficiency gains, streamlining processes and minimising waste.
Implementing a logistics management strategy requires investigation into every part of the chain, how it should work and how it contributes to your overall supply chain management goals e.g. are the warehouse centres in the right locations and are you optimising their capabilities?
Plan For The Unexpected
Technology plays a major role in increasing the efficiency of an organization and business process optimization. For example, automation can be used to provide timely updates between the movement of goods providing valuable details and accurate tracking on:
- Dispatch to supplier
- Procurement at warehouse
- Delivery to destination
Innovation and new applications are crucial for executing seamless fulfilment. This is especially true for the last mile. Keep an eye on development options for customer delivery. There are cost efficient, relatively new crowdsourced options available, but many companies are waiting to see how these will work out before committing to a change.
Occasionally technology can let us down so having a backup plan at every point in the supply chain is necessary to avoid breakage. Always ensure you have an extensive network of sources for products and services and are not solely reliant on one supplier / vendor.
Dedicate A Resource
We understand that hiring a logistics manager may not always be feasible for smaller companies, however, it’s essential that you seek the guidance of someone who knows how to identify, sort and prevent issues in your supply chain.
If hiring a consultant is not possible, ensure you team up with the right partners who have the experience, the physical set up and the capability to deliver on your goals. Plan and communicate your objectives with the warehouse managers; you might learn about their additional capabilities and the efficiencies that could be made by listening to their experience.
A third-party logistics provider can bring a range of innovative fulfilment services, from setup, to shipping, to customer service. Most can integrate with existing e-commerce systems, manage inventory, process returns and provide up to the minute reporting for your key KPIs. Talk to your partners about any recent innovations they may have implemented for other customers that could be easily transferred to your supply chain.
Automation is Key
As mentioned before, technology plays a major role in supply chain efficiency. Make sure your partners are offering the most up to date technology available to measure, analyse and improve at every step of the process.
Realtime reporting and stock management will help you to refine your processes taking into account factors that will have the biggest impact on the bottom line. Lean stock management will reduce storage costs while tracking a truck in transit will provide valuable data, communication with customers and will ensure a delivery is on time.
The ability to customise reporting is essential to reduce administration time. Working with partners who have the technology to deliver this as part of their solution will save you in the long run.
Increasing your supply chain visibility and updating your inventory count in real time ensures that your customers can’t order products unless they’re in stock. Walk through your process and then walk through it again, chances are there is a bump in your process somewhere, waiting to be optimised. Continuous improvement will improve customer experience and increase your brand equity.
Find the right balance
Designing a customer centric order fulfilment process is the optimal approach … in theory. This should only be achieved within the limits of your business capabilities, sales and marketing budgets. The whole team need to understand the acceptable spend in fulfilling a customer order and the trade off between the cost of the solution and the benefits to the customer experience.
Learn from your data, identify seasonality trends and scale up your operations to ensure you meet customer demand, but again, only within the parameters of what makes sense for your business.
At SOLV we use end to end customer journey mapping to identify where efficiencies can be gained throughout the supply chain and make suggestions for improvements.
With locations in Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland and UK, we partner with experts to deliver local, agile and superior end to end manufacturing and RMA solutions to clients throughout Europe, bringing efficiencies & a more optimal carbon footprint with intelligent use of innovation and technology.
Get in touch with us here to see how we might be able to help your business.