One of the key ingredients in a healthy bottom line is a smooth logistics and supply chain process. Following is a discussion of four common obstacles increasingly experienced by today’s logistics managers, and suggestions for overcoming them.
Given the global nature of the economy and customers’ ability to affect the reputation of a company’s brand—especially via online ratings—the customer is more in charge today than ever. And they want more, in a shorter amount of time and at a lower cost. Your logistics customers demand and deserve the best experience possible. In fact, many businesses today are employing customer experience (CX) as a primary business strategy. According to a 2018 Forbes article, “Customer experience is the new brand.” That same article states that 80% of businesses believe they offer superior customer experiences but only 8% of customers agree. That leaves a LOT of room for improvement and the opportunity to do so.
That begs the question, are you offering your customers a smooth and streamlined experience? As your business grows, the supply chain can become more complicated and with additional people involved in its processes, more missteps can occur. But there are ways of refining your logistics management strategy so that the main focus is on your customer:
- Keep it personal and transparent. In addition to easy to understand services and associated options and costs, today’s customer expects information for their shipments every step along the supply chain. Providing shipment tracking and weather reports keeps your customer informed and saves them time, strengthening both your relationship and your reputation.
- Manage the delivery process through the very last mile. The greater the distance and time involved, the greater the likelihood of damage to shipments. Be proactive.
- Embrace data—a strong ally for customer retention! The study of customer behavior via technology like tracking tools and transportation management systems can lead to better strategies, better performance and enhanced customer experience. Analyze, and gain insight regarding what your customer demands.
- Swiftly address issues. Attempting to promptly solve, or at the very least, address an issue will go far in a customer feeling supported and can increase their loyalty. To that end, staff training should be considered one of the most important investments your company makes.
- Collaborate with the best partners. Behind every company’s strategies are the people putting them into action, including those involved when your logistics management is outsourced to a third-party logistics provider. Careful research can help you select the best 3PL provider for your, and your customers’ needs.
Risk Identification and Management
Quantifying risks, while responding to market changes like availability of credit, new products, and global sources, is a key role of a company’s management team. For peak efficiency these factors must be identified, monitored and controlled.
Regulations: Governmental, and Environmental
Numerous local, state and federal regulations, and additional local and state emission reduction regulations—such as anti-idling—make it especially important to keep current and take any necessary measures to remain in compliance.
Relationships with Suppliers and Partners
When partners are in mutual agreement regarding standards for how performance is evaluated and ways it can be improved, the best results can be achieved sooner. Service providers such as 3PLs wishing to provide optimal customer service—including accommodating customer demand and meeting their deadlines—can benefit greatly from building and maintaining a dependable carrier base. How is this done?
- Communicate! Discover carriers’ preferences regarding lanes, scheduling, and if there’s anything they could use help with. Be transparent regarding frequency of loads. The more stability you can provide, the more likely you will receive better pricing.
- Then, maintain the relationships. Have open conversations, even when it’s not easy. Keep your promises and show up with integrity. Take the time to build the relationships and earn your carriers’ loyalty, which—especially given the current challenges with capacity and ever-rising rates—is more important than ever.
Visit us next month for suggestions on controlling transportation costs in the face of increasing surcharges on fuel and freight rates.
In the meantime, find out how Amware can provide you with the highest level of service via its extensive carrier network! Click below to request a free 30-day trial of Amrate 7.0, Amware’s premier cloud-based Transportation Management Software.