The more steps there are in your logistics plan, the more efficient your entire process needs to be. If several different materials need to be supplied to a certain location at different times, your supply chain not only needs to be efficient, but also able to quickly respond to problems as they arise. The larger your operation, the more difficult this becomes, and the more prepared your business needs to be. To help your supply chain run as smoothly as possible, here’s our top five tips for effectively managing your logistics.
Efficient logistics is all in the planning. The less decisions that need to be made off the cuff during the transportation process, the better. And, while a solid plan can never cover every extenuating circumstance, it will keep ad hoc choices to a minimum. A good logistics manager will therefore make sure to plan well ahead in order to eliminate any delays in the supply chain as best they can.
No matter how fool proof you think your logistics plan is, it’s impossible to prepare for every possible eventuality. A good logistics manager therefore knows their job is far from done after their plan has been made, as they need to follow the supply chain at every point and put out fires whenever they crop up. To do this effectively, you should have contingencies for every element of your logistics plan. You should also know when to stick it out with your original plan and when to switch to your backup — something that can only come with experience.
When your logistics plans go awry, it’s crucial that the person tasked with sorting out the mess has great interpersonal skills. This is because they’ll not only have to re-arrange things with the employees within your business, potentially making life more awkward for them, but also occasionally have to find a last-minute logistics supplier to fill in.
If your logistics manager is good with people and has a solid network of industry contacts, he’ll be well-equipped to get your business out of any logistics problems. Whether someone within your business fits this profile or you need to look outside of the company, finding the right person for this position is a part of effective logistics management.
In the digital age, there are a number of ways you can automate the logistics process, including tracking and monitoring each delivery. These systems take the guesswork out of planning your supply chain by reporting the raw data without bias. Ensuring your business is better informed by using fleet and inventory management software will allow you to refine your processes around the factors that impact your bottom line the most.
Depending on the size of your company, poor logistics management can cost your company up to hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. Perhaps the most important thing you can do when optimising your supply chain is to learn from your mistakes. Regularly sit down as a team and openly discuss the mistakes you’ve made in the past, focussing on what systems you’re going to put in place to ensure they don’t happen again.
Keep these tips in mind and your supply chain is sure to be as effective as possible, potentially saving your company thousands of pounds each year.
Peter Hunt is Managing Director at logistics specialists OSE European.
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