In a fast-evolving business environment, supply chain problems are becoming increasingly complicated. For companies to stand apart from their competition, they must be quick to respond to consumer requirements, and logistics flexibility is an essential component of that response.
What is logistics flexibility?
Supply chain management is continuously transforming, and at an industry level, it can impact any business. So, organisations must design a comprehensive logistics strategy that will help them understand how approaching changes will influence their business so that they can alter their organisational flow to make sure that customer service is not adversely impacted.
How flexibility in logistics helps
There is an extensive range of factors that cause interferences with supply chain logistics. We’ll look at how flexibility in logistics is vital to address the top three main disruptions to minimise the impact on your customers’ overall service experience.
- Technology – When your logistic systems are flexible enough, they respond quickly to new technological advancements, higher data rates as well as real-time reporting.
- Weather – Regardless of the industry you are in if you are shipping your goods globally, there are bound to be disruptions from increasing drastic weather conditions around the world. In 2017, when hurricane Harvey and Irma caused utter chaos and devastation across Florida and Texas, truck shipments came to a complete halt. For those businesses that adopted intermodal flexibility, the effects of these natural disasters on their logistics were minimal because they resorted to rail transport which continued functioning through the course of the travesty.
- Changing political landscape – Until 2017, ‘protectionism’ wasn’t on the horizon of many companies worldwide. However, now all of a sudden, it can impact a wide range of industries and the supply chains that cater to them. For example, the preference to be a part of a free trade agreement such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has an implication on your logistics, which must be accordingly adjusted if you want to stay competitive.
The importance of logistics brokers
- A good understanding must be established between the client and the logistics broker. Brokers typically have a great network of contacts, and in addition to collaborating with appropriate shipping companies, they also take care of other technicalities such as price and payment as well. So, when an issue raises its ugly head, a logistics broker is quick to adapt by finding suitable alternatives because he or she has the knowledge and experience to adeptly deal with the change.
- Companies must find brokers who offer good accessibility, which is crucial in times of emergency. Plus they must also build robust service delivery systems to ensure their delivery services can weather any storm.
Why is logistic flexibility important to consumers?
To better understand the indispensability of logistics flexibility, let us consider the following example. A delivery vehicle that has broken down when your products are in transit for home delivery will severely hamper the delivery time. However, by adopting a flexible approach, you will have access to a few contingency plans such as calling in for a substitute vehicle to continue the delivery or calling a local company to send a vehicle to collect the stock and carry on with the delivery. The bottom line is, without flexibility, your goods wouldn’t move, cause delivery delays and will dramatically affect customer satisfaction.
How does it relate to customer satisfaction?
Consumers have a plethora of needs and requirements, so when completing a client’s order, there are several components that go into making a successful delivery. In addition, because no two customers are the same, there are different modes of transports that deliver within different timescales, and they vary based on the product line, country and customer.
According to a ComScore and UPS study in 2013, a startling 44% of consumers deserted their shopping carts because of disappointing estimated delivery times, which is a considerable increase from the statistics in 2012. So, companies are having to develop new methods of getting goods to consumers to enhance their multi-channel success rates.
Furthermore, another ComScore and UPS published report found that a majority of the 14,000 online shoppers surveyed across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and Mexico preferred to exercise better control over their shipping and delivery experiences. Today, savvier consumers even expect parcels to be rerouted based on their personal preferences.
Unquestionably, the growing divide between highly successful multi-channel companies and the rest of their competition trailing in their wake is a robust logistic strategy that is bound to get the products to the consumer as efficiently and quickly as possible to increase their satisfaction. And flexible logistics is one of the key contributors that will deliver your company a seat at the table of success through higher conversions and subsequently, brand loyalty.