Every company ships packages, but it can be a huge endeavor, especially when you're talking about thousands of packages going to thousands of customers. Entrepreneurs more interested in marketing and product development may lose sight of the fact that there are a number of risks in the shipping process. Having a shipping system that isn't cost-effective, fast, and accurate can damage customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
Webster's defines logistics as "the procurement and movement of people and supplies, a concept that means a lot more than labeling boxes and stacking them in a truck. It's also about building a supply chain and crunching the numbers so that raw goods are always on hand for processing, orders are filled, and the product arrives on time at the right destination. Logistics encompasses every detail of an operation. It means implementing efficient procedures across an entire supply chain so that an organization achieves its business objectives.
Every company relies on a supply chain to ensure incoming raw materials and supplies are adequate for your needs and in the right place as required. Even selling melons from your garden involves a supply chain. Seeds, soil, fertilizer, gardening tools, and all the other components for successful growing need to be obtained at various stores in quantities adequate to grow plenty of melons, transferred to your car, and to your garden. The ripe melons must be harvested, loaded, and transported to your selling point. Then you'll need poster board of some kind and paint to create a sign that lets people know what you're selling. Well-organized steps ensure that minimal time and money are wasted; this is logistics. The supply chain is everything from raw materials to final delivery. Logistics is every step that makes this happen. If logistics doesn't flow smoothly—perhaps due to shortages, transportation issues, incorrect materials, distribution problems—then the supply chain is broken and product isn't delivered.
Keeping up the Pace
Logistics and supply chains aren't new ideas—every army in ancient Egypt had to be armed and fed for their campaigns. But as they apply to modern companies, logistics and supply chains are extremely complex and provide new challenges, such as automation, online ordering and tracking systems, and more. The Internet allows companies to expand rapidly from local markets to supply chains that might circle the globe. Yet customers want to locate their products more easily, pay for their purchases more securely, and have them delivered faster. Over 13,000 tons of freight are moved by truck within the US each year. In order to thrive, companies must identify and correct inadequate logistical points in the supply chain.
Should the whole process seem overwhelming, and your shipping process a major chore, going with an established freight service can be a strategic move that saves your company a lot of time and effort. You get a streamlined process that gives you more time to focus on other aspects of running your business. And a streamlined process can help keep an entrepreneur motivated and focused on core duties.
A third-party logistics company can set up efficient performance of all the preliminary steps such as taping, labeling and scanning into the system, plus see to it that all your packages arrive at the right place and on schedule. You can save money by paying only their competitive bulk shipping rates, while the freight services provider handles all the loading, tracking, and claims processing.
If inefficient package handling and high shipping costs are eating into your valuable time and profit, you'll find that taking control of your logistics can remove most of the headaches and let you focus on building your customer base.
I hope you enjoyed this article on shipping logistics for your small business or lean startup.
Interested in more articles about improving your business process?
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Best Of Luck In Business To You All!
Michael J. Schiemer of Schiemer Consulting
Enthusiastic Entrepreneur & Owner of Frugal Business
Digital Marketing, Social Media, & Entrepreneurship on a Budget
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