Logistics can be a tricky business and the promise to improve costs, delivery times and loyalty among customers is not always easy to accomplish. Many logistics companies rely on technology and a solid supply chain, but there are some problems that are unavoidable, although some errors may occur when due to lack of planning that can be evidenced when warehousing goes all wrong. You can read more about specific ways to avoid the most common warehousing mistakes on the David Kiger Blog. So, regardless if you are a small business or a large company you might want to stay away from procedures that will lead you towards a logistics nightmare. Let’s begin with a list of the most common mistakes in logistics, and then explore some ways to avoid these issues in your organization.
Poorly packaged goods
Yes, loves, at first sight, is real, and when a customer receives a package even more so. Poorly packaged goods will not only visually put off clients from wanting to purchase from you again, but also lead to damages. To avoid any additional costs or unnecessary claims, always make sure the packaging is the right one for the product that is being shipped. You will save yourself a huge headache and unnecessary inconveniences with your logistics provider and of course your customers, affecting his or her loyalty in the long run.
Clarity on returns
When sending products to customers there needs to be clarity about the details of the logistics process, especially when it comes to returning policies. You always want to avoid a disgruntled customer on the phone who besides being upset with the package that arrived, is also frustrated because he or she is not sure how to go about sending it back. By not having clarity on return policies companies can suffer many consequences, which could all be avoided from day one. Nowadays, especially return policies are actually one of the first things customers look at, which before was definitely not the case. Online consumers are a lot more concerned with all of the policies they may affect them.
A one-way logistics point of view
Many companies place all of their attention on the logistics to get their products to their customers, and many times lose sight of the shipping of the products from their suppliers. The complete supply chain cannot be overlooked and when it is, it can also have a very real effect on your customer’s satisfaction.
Consider the web
Even though brick and mortar companies are still around, it is just as important to include their website and online business in their supply chain. The lack of importance given to many company’s websites lead to inconveniences that set their company back and lose their competitive edge when compared to other similar organizations. Today’s technology can make company’s lives easier and understanding this while implementing strategies to integrate your company’s websites in the supply chain will save you time and create loyalty with your old and new customers.
Can’t keep promises
Companies sometimes simply tell their customers what they want and need to hear to avoid losing them over the competition, but the fact is that when making promises you can’t keep you’ll lose them quicker. It’s not an easy task to create a smooth supply chain that creates a seamless series of channels that go from your suppliers to your organization and finally to your customers. In many cases, it will occur that promises are made without considering all of the elements involved in the supply chain and without the necessary communication and interaction between all of the stakeholders in the process.
If your company is truly interested in avoiding these and other inconveniences that could occur in the logistics process, start by having clear, efficient and effective manuals that contemplate not only manual but virtual processes in the complete supply chain. This will initially solve many issues that may arise due to guesstimating the cost or time of a shipment, shipping internationally while not having all of the relevant information or procedures, or applying out of date costs. At the same time, companies may need to consider updating their operations in general and including new technology and procedures that can allow real-time tracking, warehouse storage inventories, and customer interaction. Finally, also try to create enough alternatives for your customers, although free shipping is enticing, not all customers may want to wait it out and would prefer options even if they have to pay for them.
Flexibility will be the key to ensuring your online audience doesn’t turn to the competition, and they will for sure value the fact that you are giving them choices. The easier you make it to track your supply chain from beginning to end, the easier you can also avoid pitfalls, by making the right decisions at the right time.
* Featured Image courtesy of Chris & Karen Highland at Flickr.com