Preparation, communication, and follow-through are essential when navigating complex and ever-changing freight shipping logistics within your business.
When assessing a supply chain for shortfalls, it’s rare to find problems that are fixed by simply installing a piece of software or shifting a single warehouse workflow. Systemic issues are far more common, which is why it’s so important to discover and alter them as quickly as possible. Internal control processes such as freight shipping logistics and inventory management depend on these systems, and an unanswered flaw can quickly grow to engulf vital metrics like stock keeping unit (SKU) turnover, fill rate accuracy, and more. Here are five red flags that you should be aware of when reviewing your freight shipping logistics.
- Lack of Planning
- An Inflexible Supply Chain
- Vendors Taken for Granted
- Failure to Interpret Data
- Too Many “Cooks” in the Warehouse
In some industries, variables like supply and demand can change on a daily basis, creating an environment that can undervalue the importance of long-term planning. If you don’t have a blueprint for your freight shipping logistics, it’s nearly impossible to “reset” if a planning initiative does not meet expectations. There are critical steps in the logistics process that can fall through the cracks when there’s no blueprint for adapting new plans. Warehouse managers should take a different tack, emphasizing the importance of warehouse planning as a built-in process. Start with a full-scale assessment of your warehouse and logistics operations as they stand, as opposed to immediately moving towards change. Without a baseline, it’s hard to determine the success or failure of various warehouse planning initiatives.
No matter how cautious, well-researched, or well-established your supply chain may be, it’s still vulnerable to sudden change. Industry-wide issues such as port closures can throw the surest transportation arrangements off-track, and if there’s no contingency plan in place, your brand grinds to a halt. Fluctuations in gas prices and highway construction projects can also force you to make changes that you had not accounted for initially. Sometimes, we see companies either failing to keep up or avoiding tackling new challenges simply because it messes with the status quo. Your supply chain and logistics planning should allow you to shift gears when the need arises, changing transportation methods, suppliers, case packs, and other variables with relatively little resistance, at least in the short-term.
Healthy relationships in business rely on clear, current communication, and your supply chain vendors are no different. If you fail to communicate plans to change your ordering or delivery methods well in advance, you’re essentially placing the burden of adjustment unfairly on them. Remember that your vendors need information and updates just as much as your own company does, and you should not automatically assume they are in agreement with the plans you are adjusting and recalculating. Compliance needs should be clearly communicated, but there also needs to be room for productive conversation. Help your vendors work with your processes, not against them.
Your supply chain is a data-producing machine. From freight rates to geographic locations to volume measurements that can be compared dozens of different ways, there’s a lot to work with and interpret. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this important tool, or using this proverbial wrench as a hammer: take the time to learn your data. Work with your team, adding new members if necessary, to interpret your data in a timely enough fashion to use it for real-time changes in planning. If you fail to read into what the data is telling you, your logistics department suffers with a trickle-down effect on the rest of your business.
While the responsibilities of running a warehouse are complex, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need an extensive workforce to handle them. If there’s too many “cooks” in the kitchen, the ball can easily get dropped or job roles can get confused, making your supply chain suffer. When assembling or adding to your warehouse team, choose professionals with one or two core strengths, and put them in charge of these core areas. While it might be tempting to hire individuals with dozens of talents, cross-training only has so many benefits. Ultimately, you want to have the right people in place that allow you streamline your freight shipping logistics process management.
Concerned that you may be guilty of some of these problems? RCX Solutions, a skilled freight shipping company in Arkansas, is ready to help you get back on track. For more information on freight shipping logistics, contact RCX Solutions today at 877-578-6517 for a consultation.