If you’re in the business of selling products, then you’re in the business of manufacturing, storing, and shipping products as well. That means as a business owner you need to have a logistics strategy in place that makes this process efficient and cost effective. Your logistics should be an asset, a tool your business uses to maximize profits and solidify your relationship with customers. Used incorrectly, however, it can be equally as detrimental to the operations of your organization.
Your shipping logistics processes intersect with many different elements of your business to the point where the efficiency and effectiveness of your logistics can have a very real and tangible impact on how well you market yourself. “Market” in this context, relates more to matters of public perception than direct advertising efforts—but those can be involved, too. Simply put, logistical efficiency is important for marketing because the enhancements that it brings will often directly or indirectly impact the consumer experience. Improving the former will naturally lead to gains in the latter, thus strengthening your brand.
Now more than ever, the opportunity for logistics efficiencies is present for retailers, in particular for those in e-commerce. With manufacturing steadily making its way back to North America, companies can apply a combination of technology and improved operation procedures to cut costs, improve delivery times to customers, and increase margins on overall profitability.
Whether you have a large or a small business, a new company or an establishment that has been around for decades, if you are shipping products it is essential to have a logistics system in place that safely and efficiently gets those products from point A to point B.
With the number of variables involved in shipping products, this is not always the easiest task to get accomplished. Logistics involves several different people from various departments and industries, and it can also involve knowledge of multiple systems throughout the delivery process. But implementing some fairly simple strategies can make the process much more straightforward and effective for everyone involved.
Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) work with shippers to manage their logistics operations. But 3PLs provide much more than logistics management, they find ways to accommodate consumer demands. Many 3PLs offer complete fulfilment of logistical services, including handling orders, storage and product shipment.
Retailers are on the eve of what will be the most profitable segment of the year. September through to the Christmas season typically means higher volume sales and more customers walking through doors and visiting web sites. But then the best months of the year are immediately followed by the worst, as it relates to returns, that is.
It’s always interesting to speculate on the future of any industry. Experts all give their predictions on what the next decade, quarter century, or half century will bring. Some of it comes to pass, other predictions don’t ever make it past the “what if” stage. The future of logistics, not unlike many other industries, is in the technology. And with some exciting new systems already being implemented with others yet to come, there will be just as much anxiety as there is excitement over how future technology in the logistics industry will be applied.
Whether you are looking to find the right logistics company for your business needs or are trying to figure out if the company you’re already working with is doing a good job, it pays to know the proper metrics. Outsourcing your product delivery means outsourcing part of your reputation. After all, customers don’t always make the distinction between the company delivering a product and the people who actually produce it. How the third-party logistics (3PL) company performs will impact how customers view your business.
Small and new fulfillment companies often struggle when trying to establish their logistics strategies. Shipping can be a challenge, with a lot of potential issues that can cause confusion and possible damage to your company.
These days, any information that can help small businesses to improve their logistics and shipping services is useful. Here are a few common suggestions to help you out:
When it comes to product choice, the public knows no bounds. While they no doubt appreciate the items produced in their hometown, international products have their own appeal as well. A lot of consumers lament that they can’t get items from outside the area more easily.
Your company can fill that void. Not only can you offer customer order fulfillment that no other business can, you can extend your company into flourishing international markets and economies. It might sound difficult, but entering the world of import-export fulfillment is actually rather simple.