An important back-end process for product-based businesses is optimizing the supply chain. Supply chain management has plenty of moving parts–it needs time and practice to get products dropping from warehouse to consumer at a predictable, reliable pace. Logistics needs careful planning, and companies should strike a balance between being agile and cost-effective.
Because of this, automating warehouse and inventory management is becoming a real option for businesses wanting to improve the efficiency of their production system. But before considering automated logistics management, you’d need to know the details, what you are automating the first place.
Read on if you want to know more about how your products get from one place to another:
Part 1: Order Management
The process begins once a customer clicks on your Checkout or verifies their order. A well-oiled logistics management system will have processes in place for monitoring inventory, informing customers how their order matches what’s available, and accepting payments. Screening methods for bogus buyers and fraudulent transactions should also be in place.
Of course, the real movement comes with coordinating between suppliers, warehouse and transportation companies, which are all aspects of order management. Your logistics system should help make this easier for you. If you have an order management software (OMS), it will consolidate your orders.
For example, if you have a social media page, an official website, and a mobile app, your OMS will be able to gather all orders from these places without you needing to switch from one platform to another. If your OMS is integrated, it can also give you insights and data for your marketing and accounting departments. Other features include being able to sync with third-party vendors’ inventories and popular marketplaces, as well as giving the option to pay in various currencies.
Part 2: Transport Management
Once you’re ready to ship to the customer, you need to choose a shipping method. Your system needs to factor the product type in–a dry van freight service is suitable for things that do not need refrigeration, while a refrigerated service is a must for temperature-sensitive items. Smaller loads may need LTL or less-than-truckload freight. Meanwhile, raw items or massive amounts need bulk freight services.
The most important aspect of supply chain management is scheduling. Excellent delivery estimation takes data such as the amount of traffic your services will encounter, vehicle type and capacity, and population density in the areas through which your delivery vehicles will travel.
A transportation management software or TMS will help you see all your shipping details in one place. Apart from the details already mentioned, your TMS should be able to handle cross-docking. This is shipping from the manufacturer straight to the customer. Cross-docking allows for a more efficient supply chain, but it needs a well-coordinated system.
Part 3: Last-Mile Logistics
The last step in a delivery process will likely involve small parcel delivery systems. All deliveries at this stage are within two hundred kilometers of your distribution center–products get dropped to these centers, to be distributed to individual households by motorbike or van. Last-mile logistics needs integration with real-time, vehicle-position location tracking services. Customers get peace of mind when they see the product’s departure time, locations observed, or other information that would help give them clues to their purchase’s whereabouts.
The Bottom Line
Supply chain management involves a lot more than picking a delivery service to handle your shipping needs. As your business scales, you would have greater reliance upon logistics companies to make sure your entire production line happens as smoothly as possible.
Managing all your logistics processes on one platform eliminates potential delays in transmitting important information. It also lets you cut down on repetitive processes like taking note of orders and gathering product-related insights. Because of this, it is important to have all three stages in one place or a command center for tasks from the warehouse to the consumer’s doorstep.
GoRamp is an online freight order management platform. We cover the entire transport management process and can show you developments in real-time.
If you’re looking to improve your logistics process, get in touch with us to see how we can help.