Are you also noticing that e-commerce places completely different demands on your logistics process compared to traditional commerce? And does this put your performance under pressure? We will tell you where the bottlenecks arise and how to solve them effectively, so that you achieve a smoother logistics process and more satisfied customers.
Fast and reliable delivery
Speed and flexibility are of great importance. Especially in the B2C market, next-day delivery is the standard. If you cannot keep up, you’re already down 1-0. Because online it’s peanuts to find a supplier who does deliver within a day. Those who can deliver faster and at lower delivery costs than their competitors therefore hold an important competitive advantage. The lead time of orders is therefore under enormous pressure.
Simply ‘adding’ an online store often works for a short time only
Sometimes webshops unfortuntely fall victim to their own success. Many B2B entrepreneurs start a webshop alongside their regular business. They often have smaller orders, the quantities are not too high and they can handle them in their warehouse. Until the webshop really starts to thrive and the number of small orders multiplies. Regular shipping is put under pressure and if your logistics process is not sufficiently adapted to this, things will unfortunately go wrong.
The annoyances of a non-optimally designed logistics process
Requirements keep increasing, with regular lead times being too long and the number of handover points soon seen as too many. To speed up the process, more and more things go wrong. Performance declines. Customers are frustrated by wrong or damaged deliveries or missing parcels. Also a major customer annoyance: too much air in the packages. Especially for small orders, this is often the case. Lack of clarity about order status is also a major shortcoming online. All factors that cause customers to drop out immediately.
5 focal points to align your logistics process with your e-commerce
The efficiency of the supply chain operation is a key factor in profitability. Not only to continue supporting continuous growth, but also to maintain margins. That efficiency drive has mainly to do with digitalisation, automation, Big Data optimisation and process simplification. We give you 5 focal points to better align your logistics process.
1. Make sure your master data is in order
The basis for optimisation is insight into all product data. Therefore, create a database of the dimensions of all packaged products in your warehouse in your ERP or WMS system. Make sure this database is and remains up-to-date. This will help you save costs and get a more efficient process. If the order picker chooses the packaging, he will soon go for a larger size. Just fill and ship. With a program like StackAssist you automate the packaging selection. The order picker is guaranteed to work with the right size packaging. You send less air and save on filling materials and cardboard. You can only achieve this if your master data is in order.
2. Organize your processes more efficiently
A more efficient process reduces the handling costs per order enormously, especially for low-value products.For example, you can shorten the logistics process by eliminating a number of steps. Like with the pick-in-the-box principle. The order picker gets the right shipping carton and collects all the products that are part of the order in it. The box then goes straight through a ’standard’ taping machine, saving you a time-consuming packing step. Or you make the process more efficient by having multiple orders picked at once, in a so-called wavepicking or pick-to-light process. With automation, that efficiency gain is easy to achieve because the employee gets the right overview. If you also combine this with the pick-in-the-box process, you’re in the right place. What you do need to pay extra attention to with process changes is creating support among your employees. After all, changing processes can sometimes feel like a threat and thus meet with resistance.
3. Transparent process for the customer
The customer does not exactly know who he is ordering from online. Transparency is essential to build trust. The automation of your process gives you a lot of valuable information. Share that information with your customer! An accurate confirmation of the number of products, price and delivery date is the minimum transparency the customer expects when ordering online. But, you can improve the customer experience much further. For example, in the B2B market, by visualizing in the order confirmation that the pallet is only half loaded. For the customer, this is an opportunity to order additional products and thus reduce transport costs per product. For you, a great sales opportunity. If you provide an overview with the exact location of all products on the pallet, you offer the customer more convenience when booking the items. That will certainly be appreciated.
4. Integrate all customer requirements into your process
A significant efficiency gain is possible if you address customer requirements individually. If you supply consumer products, it often happens that you deliver to a large distributor. These large parties often each have their own specifications. A maximum pallet height of 1.60 meters, for example, or 1.70 meters. For your logistics process, it might seem smart to group all these specifications together and use the strictest standard for all your customers. For example, by defaulting to a maximum pallet height of 1.60 meters for all your customers. But is that really smart if the majority of your customers don’t ask for that at all? There are applications that allow you to integrate all these customer requirements separately into your logistics process. Such an application automatically indicates exactly which specifications an order picker must take into account at a certain delivery address. That customization can save you a lot of transport costs.
5. Integrate packaging management into your logistics process
Shipping packaging is inseparable from logistics and efficiency in the e-commerce supply chain, as well as the look and feel of your business.
Your packaging is the first customer contact, so make sure you make the best impression! When delivering to consumers for example, also consider returns when choosing packaging. A plastic bag is great packaging for clothing, at least if it has a resealable strip on it. Otherwise, the customer will pull the bag open and it won’t be usable for any returns. Also send along a return label with bar code on it. This way you make a return easier to handle for both the customer and yourself, and you also show that you are thinking along with the customer.
So the right packaging can make all the difference. Yet packaging is often seen as a closing item. Both in decision making and budgeting. Packaging management ensures:
- A smaller range of packaging (fewer variations)
- A more efficient logistics process
- Less air in packaging
- A better appearance to the customer
Logistics handling requires continuous improvement
Supply Chain is dynamic and requires constant improvement. You are in a rat race, where the smallest detail can make all the difference. Speed and reliability are what matters. So this process improvement is definitely not a one-time exercise. Keep collecting and analyzing data to continuously improve the process. Your assortment changes, your customer base grows, everything has an impact on your logistics process. And on the ideal mix in packaging.
Is your e-commerce business also growing fast?
Is your logistics process under significant pressure from your online business? Time for a new plan of action. Of course we can help. Leave your comment or question in the form below or contact us directly.