Logistics is a fundamental part of any business. Whether you manage an SME or larger, your business won’t function without smooth running of the logistics. In order for your business to operate properly, you need to know the what, where, when of how your products or services are distributed within the company and to your customers. This is logistics, and it is crucial for your business performance. Here are some of our tips on how to manage logistics for small businesses.
- What Are Your Business Objectives?
The key to any smart logistics strategy should be centred on your business goals. Keep your overall business objectives in mind, and then design your logistics around that. For example, are you a B2B supplier? Do you have global operations? How quickly can your products reach your customers and what are their expectations? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking when you are deciding on your logistics strategy.
- Plan Well Ahead
When creating a logistics strategy, you should be thinking well ahead into the future. Not only should you be thinking about your current business goals and logistics, but you should also be looking for a way to continuously improve your logistics. Understand your current practices and then focus on any areas that need to be improved.
- Prioritise Customer Service
In the business world, the customer is king. What you must do is ensure that all of your customers are provided with the best experience so that you don’t lose out to your competitors. Keeping your customers satisfied should be a key priority of your business model, and you have to make sure that your logistical processes fit in with that.
- Streamline Your Communication
An effective communication strategy is the key to efficient logistics. So, when you are planning your logistical operations, put communication at the centre and base the rest of your practices around that. Make sure that your channels of communication are clear and open between your business and its suppliers, and your customers at the other end. Avoid misunderstanding, minimise conflict, and don’t jeopardise the success of your business based on poor communication.
- Reduce Transportation Costs
Making savings on any delivery costs is a good step to improve the logistics of your business. One way to do this is to make your logistics demand-driven. Try to increase efficiency by shipping less frequently, but with greater volume. This will save you money and time. However, make sure that your customers do not lose out. Make sure that their expectations are met, but at the same time, you should be looking to reduce your transportation costs as much as possible.
Consider Using a Third-Party Logistics Provider
If all of the above sounds a bit difficult to achieve at this point in your business growth, then consider outsourcing your logistical needs to a third-party provider. These days it’s very easy to hire a 3pl logistics provider. If you don’t feel the operations of your business are streamlined enough, then you should consider using a third-party provider.
There are many choices of third-party logistics providers now, and each specialises in a specific market that is tailored to your line of business. Even though using a 3pl provider might cost more, this may prove to be the most convenient and effective way to improve this area of your business operations, particularly if your company is growing.