Every Australian supplier needs to have an efficient and reliable logistics plan in place for smooth operations and an effective supply-chain network. But, many that re-evaluate their current situation find that things aren’t quite as efficient and cost-effective as they could be.
Here are 7 important questions to ask about your business to see if you could make any improvements:
1) What is your overall strategy for your business?
Once you have a better idea of what you want to achieve with your business plan, you can then adapt your logistics plan for the best results. This could mean a shift in focus that allows for some great gains in cost reductions or client retention. For example, are you keener on speeding up the delivery process or providing a more budget service for consumers? Your logistics approach needs to adapt to reflect this.
2) What do your customers want?
Determining an overall strategy and tweaking your logistics plan may all depend on the demands of your consumer base. What are they calling out for that you aren’t yet able to provide and could a change in approach facilitate that in the future? For example, it doesn’t pay to be too focused on a fast shipment service if your customers would rather wait a little longer to get it shipped for free. Listen to their desires and try and find an effective solution.
3) How visible is your supply chain right now?
Collaboration between key parties in this process is essential and requires greater communication between suppliers, customers, and all those in the middle. Everyone in the supply chain and warehouse management should have an equal voice. However, this isn’t so easy to achieve without better visibility and transparency. Improvements in these areas could help to improve the efficiency of the operation and inventory levels.
4) Are you keeping track of your costs?
Managing your costs is vital as problems can snowball if you lose track, even on a small detail. There are so many different costs involved in the logistics process right across the chain and you need to be on top of all of them. This means a clear understanding of precisely what you are spending and where. This in turn can help you see areas for improvements and savings.
5) Are you getting the most competitive quotes possible?
Sticking with the subject of costs, it helps to make sure that you get the very best quotes possible when dealing with suppliers and carriers. It always pays to see what the competition might offer, even if it seems like a hassle to ask when your current carrier is adequate. For a start, you might find that there is a better offer because you are currently being overcharged. This then opens the door to a new cost-effective relationship or a price negotiation with your current company.
6) Do you have an adaptable plan in place for shipping?
The importance of being adaptable with logistics planning is something that can’t be overstated. This is a process that is likely to experience major changes and disruptions regarding the completion of shipments, the transportation process, and the arrival of materials from suppliers. It helps to have a contingency plan ready just in case so that you can jump to plan B and still get your goods to your customers.
7) Are you collaborating with a good third-party logistics company?
Third-party logistics companies aren’t necessarily the costly expense you think they are. In the long run, you should be able to build a great relationship with a company that improves your process and enhances your business. Some of the best companies aren’t just there to provide a smoother process. They can also help with guidance and solutions for some of the problems listed here. They can help you get that faster or more cost-effective delivery that your customers are asking for. They can also help you with costs and rates while aiding with that contingency plan.
If you answered no to the last question and are keen to make some of the improvements outlined here today, contact TMS Online to see how we can help. We can help you determine the best approach in line with your customers’ requirements and cost, as well as help you review your current plan and prep for the future. Together we can get you on the road to a better logistics solution.