The number of businesses that depend on a seamless logistics management strategy is endless. But, while this seems an obvious statement to make, it’s often surprising how many businesses neglect this vital aspect of their day-to-day operations. There’s always room to improve your supply chain process and this will almost always result in cost reductions and increased customer satisfaction.
So, what’s the best way to improve your logistics management strategy? In this two-part series, we’ll delve into the finer details to help your business make the optimisations needed for success.
But, should you need our expert advice or a quote for any of our logistics services, we’re always here to help. Simply contact our experienced team today to learn more.
The Supply Chain Process
Defining Inbound and Outbound Logistics
Depending on your business model, you’ll be dealing with inbound and outbound logistics separately or simultaneously. So, what do they mean for your supply chain process?
Inbound logistics covers any goods and materials that move from a supplier to a business. For example, the movement of materials, parts, or finished products from a supplier to a manufacturer or warehousing location of a business.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, outbound logistics relates to the storage and delivery of completed products that are ready for a customer/end user. This means products can either be shipped directly to a customer/end user or to a retail location from which they can be purchased.
Choosing Your Transportation Options
No matter the type of logistics management strategy your business relies on, cost-effective and reliable product movement is the thing that matters most. Not every business has a distribution network afforded by the likes of Amazon, so careful consideration of your transportation options is essential for keeping your business moving forward.
Transportation by air freight is typically the fastest method available for long-distance logistical requirements. However, there may be size limitations with some air freight carriers as well as restrictions on goods classed as hazardous.
With that being said, it’s an extremely secure and reliable form of transportation; with air freight carriers offering highly accurate departure/arrival timetables and making it simple to track any goods in transit. As an added financial bonus, air freight shipments will normally help to lower costs associated with packing, warehousing, and insurance.
Transporting freight over land can be completed by road or rail. Road freight utilises vehicles of all kinds, from large lorries to small mopeds, delivering goods both domestically and internationally. Rail freight, on the other hand, uses trains to transport goods in cargo containers, specifically over long distances.
Land freight helps to keep your supply chain process cost effective and is a relatively quick method of transportation. However, for intercontinental shipping, transportation by land freight may not be practical or possible. Additionally, there may be some weight restrictions for certain road vehicles and delays from traffic, weather, and road conditions are a possibility you’ll need to consider too.
Moving your freight across the ocean is ideal for businesses transporting a large volume of goods or those that require specialist storage facilities. Shipping by sea is extremely cost efficient, allows businesses to transport products across the world with ease, and allows for the transportation of products of all kinds, shapes, and sizes.
However, while there are obvious benefits to sea freight, intensive planning is required to ensure that shipments reach their destination in time. If your shipments are time sensitive, it will be worthwhile considering faster, more reliable transportation options.
Looking Towards the Future of Logistics Management
To help reduce your costs and improve the efficiency your logistics management, you need to set clear short-, medium-, and long-term objectives. This starts by revising your existing logistics management plans and creating new ones as and when your market demands. If needed, reach out to experienced advisors like our team at Smart Directions to get professional assistance that will make a difference.
Having a proven methodology for your employees to follow will help to speed up your entire supply chain process. By properly training your employees to use logistics software and follow industry best practices, your business can start to mitigate against human error and unexpected surprises.
Look for opportunities to reduce costs and improve efficiency by changing your transportation methods, reducing packaging, or shortening warehousing times. Then begin to diversify your supply chain process so that you can gather data in order to make more informed decisions down the line. Data will be your biggest friend when it comes to adapting to seasonal and unexpected delays as well as spotting opportunities for further optimisation – without it, your business will be moving forward rudderless and find it difficult to accurately assess ROI.
Does your business require cost-effective shipping across the world or assistance with warehousing and logistics management? For further information on how Smart Directions can help you today, please contact us now.