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Five mistakes you might be making with your logistics planning.

Changes in customer behaviour due to the growth in e-commerce and the availability of affordable technology solutions for B2B businesses continue to impact logistics operations. Logistics planning is essential to your business’s success: it forces you to think about your business goals, both in the short and long term. An optimised logistics operation means delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time, at the lowest possible cost.  

The importance of logistics planning.

Without a clear logistics plan, there will be no reliable supply of products for sale, nor methods of ensuring you can satisfy your customers. You need to plan for projected sales growth, sourcing of products, transport costs and availability of resources. What you can’t foresee is supply chain disruptions. Changes in government regulations, natural disasters or geopolitical events can all have consequences. Remember Covid 19? Even the best-laid plans are subject to change so agility is important. Having a solid logistics plan, with contingencies in place, means that you will be able to meet customer expectations, despite setbacks. Effective data management is the basis of good decision-making, and embracing the supporting technology is now vital. Optimising your logistics is a process, not an event.    

The five main mistakes in logistics planning

1. Inadequate forecasting

Inadequate attention to developing partnerships with suppliers, transporters, couriers, and other service providers puts pressure on operations. Forecasting is simplified when there are clear expectations for quality, delivery, and cost performance. Inadequate resource planning of people, equipment, and technology impacts your ability to serve customers.

2. Poor focus on inventory management

Inaccurate inventory information can result in stockouts, excess inventory, and obsolescence. All of these can negatively impact your bottom line through increased costs and lost sales opportunities. Understanding your throughput and optimum stock levels is key.

3. Failure to embrace technology.

Continuing to plan on Excel spreadsheets and having no access to reliable and accurate data will slow down your business and reduce your competitiveness.  Digital solutions using mobile technology tools and automation are having a major impact on productivity and accuracy.

4. Neglecting sustainability

Carbon emissions tracking and reporting is increasingly expected and likely to become mandatory. Adhering to government environmental regulations is not optional. Customers care about sustainable practices including waste, recycling, and re-use of packaging. A poorly planned returns process has a direct effect on customer retention.

5. Lack of visibility into the supply chain

Poor access to reliable historical data means you’re planning process is likely to be less than reliable. When you have incomplete or unverified data, costly errors occur, and resources are wasted. Supply chain visibility refers to more than track-and-trace, it refers to all order flows, inventory, and fulfilment across multiple locations.

What should you do now?

A proper logistics plan will allow you to control costs and deliver a superior customer experience. Having a solid plan means being able to scale up or down as circumstances change without stress on operations. 1. Improve your forecasting methods.Work with your external partners to ensure continuity of supply and collaborate with sales teams to gather data on customer preferences and seasonal purchasing patterns. Demand forecasting technology tools can leverage your historical data, market trends, and other vital factors to provide accurate predictions. Review and update your forecasts regularly to ensure they remain accurate and relevant.2. Implement an inventory management system (IMS) This will provide real-time visibility into stock levels across your supply chain. An IMS can analyse inventory performance, considering factors such as lead times, order quantities, and safety stock levels. It can also automate inventory replenishment to avoid stockouts and reduce excess inventory. 3. Harness modern technologies. Productivity in the warehouse is increased by the adoption of modern automated equipment such as driverless vehicles, robots, and drones. Digital solutions using the Internet of Things (IoT), e.g. RFID, mobile handsets, and sensors significantly improve human efficiency, leading to better planning. Warehouse management systems (WMS) streamline critical functions including order processing, inventory management, storage, and fulfilment. Businesses that implement technology solutions in their logistics operations are more competitive and can drive business growth. Invest in staff training to ensure they have the skills needed for you to effectively benefit from the technology solutions. 4. Make data-driven decisions. You can leverage the power of data analytics to make better decisions and optimise your logistics planning. Digital platforms such as WMS and IMS gather and record data for future analysis and store it centrally for easy access. Inventory can be tracked in real-time; routes can be streamlined, and quality can be assured. Companies are reducing downtime, increasing equipment longevity, and saving money on repairs through predictive maintenance. 5. Set sustainability goals.Understand your starting point. Align your ambitions with your core business. Whether your stated goals are to reduce energy use, introduce disposable packaging, or reduce waste or carbon emissions, set realistic targets. Monitor and document progress that can be used in marketing and sustainability reporting. Previous slide Next slide Contact our logistics consultants

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