If you envision your eCommerce business’ delivery to be dependable and efficient, you need to plan and think about the details. Here are some points to help.
Set your logistics priority
Just like anything else in the world,trade-offs are part of the game. When you set up your logistics game plan, you need to set priorities straight. Do you value speed, or do you prefer to save those big bucks? Asking yourself what matters is the first step towards setting your priorities. Sure, your priorities can change over time. Maybe you would like to minimise cost at an earlier stage, and when your business reaches a specific scale, invest more into faster delivery.
The bottom line is to keep your customers happy. No matter what you prioritise on, remember to consider the overall customer experience. The customer must feel good about the encounter while receiving their goods conveniently and with minimal defects.
Lead Time Management
Once you’ve decided on your priority and direction, it’s time to refine your lead time management. The main factors to consider is how long it will take the customer to pick up their product. The length of time will very much depend on your prioritisation between speed and cost. The lower the cost, the longer it takes, and vice versa.
Once you’ve set an ideal lead time, you need to evaluate each supply chain step and determine how long it will take. For example, how long does the supplier need to provide essential materials? Or what can the courier services offer to ensure deliveries are accurate and reliable? Even more, what technologies are you using to track each step of the supply chain process? Getting all the details right is equally essential to decide between cost and efficiency. Remember, it is impossible to have the best of all worlds, so you need to make choices while paying equal attention to all aspects.
Planning, Planning, Planning
Do you know your goods’ demands? Can you foresee any demand spikes or are they any upcoming holidays? If you can know your demands beforehand, you can see how you can ship your products and control the number of raw materials. These aspects can include freight method, production planning and customer service, among others. Also, your logistics plan should address how fast you can process an order and how you manage your customers’ expectations. If there is a delay, you would need to communicate with your customers and provide solutions. Even if there isn’t any change to the usual demand level, it’s important to group your shipping bulks and make them as efficient as possible.
If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it is that the unexpected will always happen. Remember to have contingency plans for rainy days. Even if you don’t want to keep extra inventory, at least get into some agreement with your suppliers, or offer some assurance to your customers before surprises even happen.
Find your partners early
If you don’t want to handle the daunting task of managing your supply chain by yourself, the best way is to find a 4PL or a 5PL logistics partner. Their expertise will not only help you settle all physical sides of logistics but significantly boost your overall capabilities.
Before you start, find out their service terms. What do they offer and what do you need? Can they help you enhance the supply chain’s robustness and implement your plan? Also, compare the cost and deliverables between several vendors and pick one that you deem fit.
Once you achieve economies of scale, meaning your operations will reach a point with optimised efficiency and costs, you can focus on your core competencies by leveraging your partner’s services. Keeping in regular contact with your partner and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Know your region to reduce costs
Since every region is different, your logistics plan shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Instead, paying attention to regional difference is crucial to reducing costs. For example, knowing your destination’s de minimis value will help you minimise tariffs and decide how you would like to ship your goods. Also, knowing the local customs will help you predict other parties’ behaviours and predict things like high demand seasons or possible points of conflict.
If you have any doubts on how you could set up your logistics chain, speak with our consultants today and we’re happy to help.