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In the logistics market, it’s very important for a business to manage both costs and expectations. The supply chain relies on constant movement, and it suffers greatly from downtime. There are a few ways to improve efficiency:
- Better shipping: looking at how to navigate highways to cut time and fuel costs.
- Better inventory handling: allowing workers to quickly control stock, pack it and ship it.
- Faster invoicing: allowing the stock to flow freely because everyone is paid on time.
Software that boosts productivity in these three areas is essential for success in the logistics market. Today, automating all of this data allows for the free flow of information and real-time adjustments.
Developing a Workflow
It’s important to get a sense of what every link in the chain is doing so that everyone is prepared to move when an order is placed. At a glance, warehouse software should allow for management to track a particular customer’s order from placement to delivery.
Ideally, you would be able to handle returns and special cases from inside this software as well. Integrating with customer support is crucial so that a refund or a return isn’t missed. These unnecessary delays contribute to customer dissatisfaction, and affect the reputation of any retailers you work with.
A workflow allows you to dive into any aspect of the order and quickly adjust for the unexpected.
Knowing what you have on hand is crucial for a variety of reasons. You can geolocate stock, so workers can find it faster. You might use this data to help manage your warehouse space, or plan future expansions with room to house perishable goods.
The more you know about the stock you have on hand, the more you can plan for the future and focus on moving what’s already there. If you feel your warehouse is losing money on unsold or unmoved stock, then a software suite designed for a more granular view of inventory may help shed some of those excess costs.
Another important part of inventory management is selling online. Whether you maintain your own stock, or you’re the third-party for someone else, branding is basically how Amazon made its money. In the early years, much of their work was just putting books into branded boxes and selling them online.
Tools that help you understand your customer base, and how they interact with your sales channels, are helpful in improving sales outcomes. You can also benefit from forecasting, which crunches data from previous years to help improve your current decision-making.
Accounting and Upkeep
Invoicing is an important function, and one that’s often left up to people to take care of. As a result, errors may occur where invoices aren’t paid or are missed. This can hurt the flow of the supply chain, so automating this process is the best course of action.
Software can help track quantities of goods sold, maintain a customer account and track annual revenue/spending. Incorporating elements of customer relationship management, these suites also allow managers to keep contact listings and carry on correspondence.
Improving efficiency comes down to removing as much of the busy work as possible. When this happens, there are real benefits to be had. Automating invoicing, for instance, means nothing if left unpaid for too long. However, the unsung key to success is ease of use. If employees can’t utilize these tools, they’re of no use to anyone.