Mastering your logistics strategy is an essential requirement of any business. But for small businesses, the benefits are even more significant. With a slick and reliable product delivery strategy, you stand to develop a spotless reputation. This, in turn, helps your business grow through recommendations and accumulating positive reviews.
On the other side, smaller businesses with unreliable, frequently delayed logistics processes are likely to struggle to grow. And, will likely develop the kind of bad reputation that only large businesses with other selling points, like lower pricing, can afford to have.
With insights from the Joloda Hydraroll team, we provide some top tips on logistics, to help ensure you get it right.
To remain competitive, you need to offer multiple delivery options for your clientele. The marketplace is saturated with competition. Therefore, it’s become necessary to offer variation in as many aspects of your business as possible. With regards to shipping, people want different pricing options, delivery times, and even shipping providers.
It might be the case that they’ve had a negative experience with one of your logistics partners, and want to ship with another operator. If your competitor offers that option and you don’t, that might be enough to lose you an almost converted lead.
The most important part of the logistics process is staying one step ahead. If you can predict problems before they arise, you can also be proactive about solving them.
One of the best ways of achieving this is through the use of smart tools. If you outsource your use of a warehouse, try to find one that uses an auto-updating inventory, with remote digital access. This way you can stay on top of stock levels. Thus, ensuring that you never offer a product on your site which has in fact run out, avoiding any disappointed customers.
While you want to focus on developing long-term partnerships, you want to make sure that those are the right partnerships. You might find that in time, your old partners can no longer offer the competitive advantage they did when you first coupled up. Conduct regular market research – at least every few months. While it’s good to be loyal, as a small business you may not be able to afford loyalty. Especially, if it affects the overall service your business can provide. If you can significantly improve your profit margins, as you scale, those gains will only become more significant.
Be aware of current ongoing geopolitical instabilities and the effects they’re having on supply chains. It’s important to prepare for these inevitable disruptions.
Things like diversifying your material sourcing can be massively helpful. Especially, in the event that one of your suppliers can no longer operate on the scale you need. Diversifying other elements of the logistics process can also help to mitigate the risk of complete failure in any one area. Thus, avoiding bottlenecks and the like.
Part of developing a stellar reputation and bulletproof brand is listening to the needs and wants of your customers. Then, taking the steps to change your business accordingly. With logistics specifically, this doesn’t mean that you need to accommodate unreasonable demands. But it does mean that if customers are repeatedly asking for something you aren’t offering, you should consider it.
You may have a significant number of clients who use your service even though you aren’t optimized for their needs. Then, it’s likely that there will be a lot of other potential customers who considered it but decided the compromise was too significant.
To optimize your logistics process to the needs of your customers, make sure there are easy ways for them to provide feedback, and incentives to do so.
As with any complex process, the multiple individual costs associated with the logistics process quickly add up. This makes it even more important to make sure that each stage is financially optimized. Allowing you to deliver a service at the required standard without surpassing it at a vast cost. Audit your logistics process on a regular basis, down to the boxes and tape used to package your goods.
There will likely be significant savings to make, especially as costs fluctuate over the months and years. As Ben Franklin said, “watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”