For any business, online logistics can be one of the hardest aspects of the supply chain to control. Not only do you wait on parts and supplies, but you also have the responsibility of delivering the final product to your customer on time. The process involves a lot of scheduling, paperwork, uncertainty and trust. You don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to take control of your logistic operations. There are a few tips to making sure your products and shipments are delivered on time.
Establish Clear Communication With Partners
No matter what your contracts say or how much you value your vendors and suppliers, you cannot just assume that everything is going to work the way you need it. From the initial moments an agreement is signed or a partnership is made, open up clear lines of communication. Your partners need to understand your expectations and your needs right down to the smallest detail. Know who your contact is for suppliers and have more than one way to get in touch with them. Be familiar with the chain of command and be prepared to take things up the ladder when delays, quantity issues and quality concerns arise.
Pay Attention to Scheduling
You need to pay close attention to the orders coming in and forecasted needs. When you have sales or environmental factors cause a spike in purchases, you need to carefully watch your supply. Be prepared with the capital to replenish stick well in advance of when you will need it. You have to calculate normal shipping speeds but also plan in a cushion for potential delay. There are shipping seasons and holidays that can delay delivery times for your incoming goods and the end products headed to consumers.
Use Logistics Software
Logistics involves a lot of planning, scheduling and multiple sources of information. Thanks to technology, you can use delivery routing software or another form of logistics software to keep everything organized and on track. There are programs for all budgets and company sizes, with some offering comprehensive solutions for your entire supply chain management needs.
Rely on Your Business Network
There is always the potential for your materials and goods to get lost in transport or seriously delayed. No matter how much you plan and schedule, you may encounter a snag with your supplier or shipping company. When you have a good relationship with those in your business network, there is always the potential for a partner to bail you out. If your contacts use the same supplies, you may be able to purchase directly from them in a moment of need and replace what you used when your shipment arrives. Establishing a logistics buddy can help keep you from letting customers down with serious delays and broken promises.
Use Tracking Options
The majority of logistics software packages on the market include a tracking feature. This is helpful for both you and your clients. Access to track a shipment online can help alleviate a customer’s concerns about their delivery, but it also can be alarming when they see something has gone wrong in transit. If you are going to give your consumers access to track their purchases, you need to proactively communicate when a delay may occur before they read it online. You should also actively check your company’s incoming shipments to ensure that your production and shipping will go according to your timetable. When delays occur, make adjustments to your strategy right away. This prevents trying to figure it all out at the last minute.
Use a Third Party
If your company has room in the budget, one of the best ways to ensure your customers receive consistent, timely deliveries is through a third-party logistics company. Many of these offer a range of services to help you streamline your shipping process, from warehousing to paperwork and package tracking. For companies that rely heavily on product delivery for customer loyalty, this may be a worthwhile investment.
Keeping your customers happy is a big part of your business success. Timely deliveries are a vital part of your commitment to customer service.