5 Ways to improve logistics performance
Logistics performance plays a key part in a company’s distribution success and performing well can be down to a number of factors such as warehousing, supply chain, labour, shipment and information management.
The management of logistics is an important aspect of operations for many businesses and impacts many things from internal practices to customer relations. Some would argue that logistics management is the most important element of a business as it ensures you deliver on promises set out to the customer.
So how can we improve our logistic performance and management? There are a few ways we can ensure the most efficient processes and we have outlined these below.
- Efficient Warehousing
Optimising your warehouse space and its operation is vital to increased and consistent productivity. Products and stock should be positioned in such a way that there is optimum flow meaning minimal issues in locating or reaching required items. Keeping updated on fast selling products will help with the best layout, these items should be quick and easy to retrieve as well as easily accessed for restocking.
With that in mind warehousing activities should react to the changing environment and climate, if products are seasonal or outside influences cause an influx in popularity then action should be taken to make sure these products can be moved to the prime locations easily. To stay one step ahead of demand it is also advised that warehouses keep a sizeable stock of inventory, using tools that can assist with this such as stock planning and forecasting.
How fast your staff can pick orders is also vital to efficient operations, the faster orders can be picked the better. There are many different methods adopted by warehouse management systems to ensure optimal picking procedures, these can include wave picking, batch picking and zone picking and which one suits you will depend on the set up of your facility.
- Standard Operating Procedures
Reviewing your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) can ensure all members of your team are aligned with processes that are key to achieving a united goal. Things to review could include information sharing, regular reports which outline warehousing activities, development, packaging and sales to keep up to date with market trends and behaviours. Setting KPI’s and regularly measuring them will monitor how well processes are performing and which areas require improvement. Putting in place a method for checking orders would prevent human error as much as possible, with individuals packing orders there is always the risk of mistakes, so double-checking could help prevent the knock-on effect of this.
- Relevant Technology and Robotics/automation
Technology and automation can significantly increase the speed and efficiency of operations for your organisation. Automation and robotic technology that save on labour can operate 24 hours per day 365 days per year without the human need for lighting, heating or breaks. There is no need to completely replace your workforce though, robots can be used for jobs such as transporting stock replenishment. There are other technologies such as management systems for warehousing activites, transport and multi carriers which can be fully integrated so that you can monitor and measure your logistics performance.
- Planning and Forecasting
As mentioned above having the right amount of stock can be the key component to balancing a successful logistics organisation. Keeping on top of stock ensures customer demands are met without holding more money than needed in unnecessarily high stock levels. Advanced replenishment is a part of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) that helps optimise stocks levels and it is one way that wholesale and distribution companies can benefit from how it enhances their operations and streamlines stock management. Another option is stock planning and forecasting software to help reduce costs for you and the customer.
- Learn from Competitors
We can learn a lot from what other people are doing, keeping an eye on trends and popular processes can help refine our own operations. From doing this we can learn best practices, popular software and systems for managing operations, efficient training programs for staff and improve overall efficiency for our own logistic operations. Keeping an eye on what competitors are doing is also useful in staying ahead of the game and making sure customers are reassured that you are giving the best of what is available.
Improving your logistics performance will inevitably improve your customer relations, delivering your service more efficiently and to a higher standard. The customer holds the power to the success of your organisation; they own the purchasing power making them a powerful asset. Remember that improving operations will build on the positive experience the customer will have with you and strengthen the future of the relationship you have with them.