In our relationship with companies there are moments that make a difference. Situations in which we value the response that is offered to us and, as it has been, we proceed to form an opinion about that company. The moments, in short, that will mark what we will say to someone who asks us if we recommend that company. What are these moments when we work with a logistics company? What are the thermometers with which we are going to assess if we are in the best hands?
5 moments in which your logistics company should shine
Due to the growing importance that logistics is having in companies, its role is becoming more fundamental every day. Private customers are very sensitive to the experiences they have with delivery processes, while business customers work in increasingly demanding environments with processes, dates and the Just in Time philosophy rooted in many companies.
This means that there is increased pressure to keep the entire supply chain running smoothly. A more important role is recognized for logistics, but in return the demand on its performance grows. Each failure gains in importance and the way in which the logistics company responds will make a difference.
What are these moments of truth?
Detect and resolve incidents
Sooner or later, no matter how good a job the logistics company you work with performs, a problem will arise during the service. The desirable thing is that it happens as few times as possible and work so that its frequency decreases. But the management when these incidents occur is one of those vital moments in the relationship with your logistics operator.
Logistics companies that are capable of anticipating customer complaints, of detecting that something is not going as it should before the claim arrives, and of being proactive in solutions, add value to your company. Communicating a problem to the customer and addressing it requires courage on the part of the supplier, but it is the foundation for achieving a relationship based on trust. Few things annoy individuals more than the excuses that it has not been delivered because there is no one at home, especially if the recipient has stayed at home precisely to pick up the merchandise.
But that is not enough, rather solutions must be achieved once the incident has appeared. Here customer service and the talent of people to know how to find the best solution take center stage. How can merchandise that has been misrouted reach its destination as quickly as possible? What can you do to replace a damaged merchandise as soon as possible? How to coordinate the shipper, carriers, consignee and other personnel in between to achieve the best solution?
“There are two critical moments with the client: when he is in front of the product and when he tries it”
out of stock
In the world of marketing, A. G. Lafley, former CEO of the giant Procter & Gamble, established two moments of truth with the customer: the first, when the customer meets the product face to face; the second, when he buys it and experiences its quality and how it matches what he had been promised. In the case of stockouts, it is clear that it would mean a resounding suspense already at the first moment of truth.
There are many reasons why stockouts are one of the biggest nightmares in the supply chain. And when they occur, the shipper and logistics provider know that they have jeopardized the business relationship with the end customer. That is why you will do well to ask yourself about the role of the logistics company with which you work in this matter.
Does your transport provider help you avoid out of stock? Does it meet the delivery times you have estimated? Does it help you to rethink your logistics so that these situations do not occur? Is it capable of reducing the impact once the situation arises (for example, helping you get the product to its destination, taking advantage of the fact that there is some quantity stored -or even already distributed- in nearby places or offering you urgent transport services)?
The challenge of seasonality
Christmas, and especially Black Friday, have brought to the general public the logistical problems that seasonality can cause when we do not prepare properly. The e-commerce boom has focused attention on these dates, but there are many companies whose peak activity falls on another part of the calendar.
In any case, you must collaborate with your logistics company so that the result is good. Depending on the size of your company, the strength of these seasonal peaks and the sector -it is common for a sector to share a seasonal period, such as fruit collection campaigns-, it is possible that your logistics operator must put additional means to meet your needs and those of other customers.
The logistics company you work with must train potential temporary staff, have quality external collaborators if necessary, have facilities and resources that can handle volume growth, etc. Realizing halfway that your provider is saturated will be a sign that they have not passed this critical moment.
Until now we have focused on “hot” critical moments, in which there was an obvious and very striking key moment. However, now we are going to focus on one that develops in a more discreet way, on a day-to-day basis. It’s about inventory management. A job that seems invisible, but with very direct consequences on your results.
Are you efficient managing your inventories? Do you have data and indicators that help you find out? How much merchandise are you able to manage and at what cost? Is your inventory management system reliable and do the quantities that appear in it correspond to reality? Have the problems in your inventory led to problems such as stockouts? This is another exam that your logistics company must pass.
Respond to the unexpected
If there is any concept that makes direct reference to the critical moments of logistics, that is risk management. She is in charge of imagining, so to speak, everything that could go wrong. In risk management, factors come into play that often, because they are unlikely, we do not even take into account in our day to day. Major natural catastrophes, terrorism, company closures, political or economic upheavals, prolonged strikes in a sector that directly or indirectly affects us, etc.
The difficulty in anticipating these situations makes it especially critical to achieve a quick and imaginative solution, which even goes beyond the proposals set forth in our risk management plan. Among the things that a logistics company can contribute to alleviate these problems are: changing the routes and even the mode of shipment (land, sea, air) to avoid the closure of a port, being flexible and having a broad infrastructure that allows to the client to quickly change one of their suppliers in case of need, offer urgent services that can reduce delivery times in an emergency, etc.
These five critical moments are not the only ones that a supply chain faces, but they will give you a good measure of whether your logistics company is prepared to face them together with you.