For many shippers, the post-Christmas period is slower and that gives you the time to think about the year ahead and plan to improve upon what has gone before. So, we thought it might be timely to provide you with some inspiration on your New Year’s Shipping Goals.
Start with knowing your Customers Goals
Keeping your customers happy is of course key to having a successful business so having an idea of what’s important to them, through the lens of logistics of course, is important for shaping your own shipping goals.
A couple of methods for understanding your customers’ goals are:
- Survey Customers – create an online survey for them to complete with questions designed to assess their level of satisfaction, and the causes of any issues they might have. Offer a small gift for responding, e.g., 5% off next purchase, a gift card, Buy 2 get 1 free deal.
- Get your Customer Service team to ask them to answer one question when they call, (once you’ve successfully dealt with their request of course). If you’re a retailer you could use your POS system to get them to answer a yes / no question when they pay for the items they’ve bought at your store.
The information obtained may help you to establish what inventory to buy, and where to stock it.
If the issues revealed are focussed on delivery timeframes it may provide inspiration on how to improve your freight customer service. For example, adding extra carrier services; faster options, better tracking systems, such as adding exception eAlerts or embedding tracking data in your website for customers to check when desired.
Improve Shipping Options
Adding more options for your customers on how, when, and even where to pick up their purchases is helpful for improving customer satisfaction and turning customers into repeat buyers.
Services such as:
- Same Day
- Click & Collect
- Vendor Orders
- Drop Shipping
You will need the assistance of a sophisticated shipping system such as 2Ship to help you to set up these new services.
You may also need to do a Freight Review to assess who are the best carriers to partner with to add the new services required in a competitive manner and to improve upon service if you’ve found through your customer surveys that your carriers’ performance has not been ideal of late.
Your Company’s Shipping Goals
Turning now to a focus on your own business’ shipping goals, you may want to look on how you can save time and money and reduce your freight costs. When you focus your business shipping goals or strategies on these KPIs you will enable your business to not just survive but thrive, and you being successful still indirectly helps your customers too.
Use Less Packaging
Doing more with less helps your business to save time, resources, and reduce costs. The ability to automate your packing process by selecting the right package(s) for the item(s) in each order will greatly assist with these shipping goals.
For example our Inventory Management System, a module of our Shipping system: 2Ship, has an inbuilt algorithm: In2Box that will analyse the details of the items in the order: their weight & dimensions; select the optimal sized packages for those items to reduce the size and number of packages to the minimum needed, therefore saving you from shipping air – saving on the freight bill; and saving on resources used i.e. number of packages, as well as saving air again – carbon footprint.
Source software that might replace older legacy systems, perhaps an API Cloud-based system over EDI on premise is a good shipping goal to have.
A system that expands on what the older system did can be very helpful. For example, replacing an old dispatching system with a shipping system that also has inventory module could be a better fit for a small to medium sized business than adding in a warehouse management system.
Integration of systems, perhaps connecting an online store or an ERP to your shipping system will naturally save time and money on manual processes by digitising and automating your order fulfilment.
Expanding Markets is also a great shipping goal to have as it opens you up to more customers: more sales; more profit. But these days it is also about keeping market share you already have as if you cannot provide the shopping services, (as mentioned above), that your customers demand then you will find they will migrate to those who will.
Expanding your markets could take the form of:
- Opening up an Online Store: adding B2C or D2C market to your traditional B2B business.
- Adding a new warehouse in another State or Country, or outsourcing this to a 3PL so that you can more quickly service customers in that location; perhaps therefore adding a Same Day service to compete with others in that location.
- Turn your retail stores into mini DCs; a good shipping system can assist with this with Inbound Logistics and Inventory Management features.
- Drop Ship Consolidation: consolidate orders, and apply local labels to individual order for last mile delivery
- Add Online Marketplace(s) such as Amazon, eBay to your shipping system to put your products in front ot the eyes of new potential customers, and be where they shop
These are just a few ideas on how to plan your shipping goals for the year ahead while you have the downtime to focus on these important areas for your business. Focussing on what’s important for your customers, and focussing on what will help you improve market growth, automate workflows, and improve profit.
If you need assistance planning and / or implementing your shipping goals we’d love to put our wealth of experience and technological know how to bear in this type of endeavour for you; please contact us for a consultation.