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The term “logistics” is one that you’ll often hear businesses use to describe the process that’s involved with gathering resources or products, preparing them for shipping and delivering them to their destination in a timely manner.
As a small business, you’ll have several goals for the logistics side of your company that will typically include making sure that deliveries arrive to your customers on time. You’ll also need to know that the products you sell are delivered in their best condition.
Shipping carriers serve a vital role in logistics by being the primary source of transportation for your shipments. While you may already be familiar with the delivery services that are used by the general consumer, you’ll find that commercial shipping carriers offer a much wider range of options.
Whether you need to figure out how to transport products between your business sites or to a large range of customers, here are five things to do to make sure you find the right logistics carrier to meet your needs.
When your small business has orders to fulfill, you don’t have time to waste waiting for a logistics company that can’t uphold its end of the contract. One of the best ways to check a logistics company’s reliability is to ask about their service level rates. While these rates aren’t always completely accurate, they do provide a close enough score to get an idea of how a logistics company operates.
Ideally, the rates should reflect that the company is capable of efficiently delivering the majority of their orders on time and to their correct destination. You would hate to invest in an unreliable company as this could cause trouble in the supply chain of your business along with potentially making a negative impact on those customers you did not satisfy.
Small businesses may only need to be able to get their products or supplies delivered to nearby areas, such as within the same state. Or, you might need to find a shipping carrier that can take products overseas. Even if you only need local transportation services right now, you may need more extensive ones in the future.
Try to find a logistics carrier that can not only meet your company’s needs now, but that will also provide you with services as your business grows. You’ll also find that a company that manages long-distance logistics operations will be even more capable of handling shorter, less complicated trips.
For smaller volume shipping, options like USPS, UPS, and FedEx are viable. ShipSaving enhances these options by offering streamlined solutions for businesses. They provide an easy-to-use platform that integrates with major carriers, ensuring cost-effective and efficient shipping regardless of volume.
If your small business sells specialty items, then you’ll also want to make sure that the logistics carrier that you choose is capable and willing to deliver them to their destination. While many shipping carriers are comfortable with shipping common products, some might not allow hazardous or extremely fragile items on their carriers. Typically, liquids fall into this category, particularly chemicals that are labeled as cautious or hazardous.
Jewelry, antiques, and perfumes might also be categorized as specialty products. When you arrange for your logistics consultation, make sure to discuss any potentially special items that you plan to ship. The right company for you should be willing to accept those products while also providing information about how they can achieve a safe delivery. You may also experience that some shipping companies do offer these services where as others do not. In short, just find the one that is made for you which may take some time, but don’t rush.
Once the shipping carrier receives the products you want to ship, the final steps of the logistics process are in their hands. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to relinquish all control over the shipment. Having access to tracking services makes it possible to see where the shipment is along its route, which can help you answer customer questions regarding the timeline of the delivery.
You’ll also be able to quickly see if there is a delay or change to the delivery date, which makes it easier for your company to adjust to the changing circumstances. If this is also the case and a consumer is involved, you can even give notice to them with additional information depending on the tracking or delivery time changes. Being able to see a delivery receipt further gives you proof of delivered services that your company can use to support its track record of providing excellent customer service.
As a small business owner or manager, you already know how important good customer service is for maintaining strong sales. As someone who strives to provide excellent customer service, you also need to know that you can receive the same level of care from the logistics company that you choose.
Search for a shipping carrier that offers multiple methods of communication. Knowing that you can quickly make a phone call to ask a question about a shipment gives you peace of mind, and being able to speak with a knowledgeable representative allows you to quickly work through any hurdles to ensure that the shipping and delivery of your company’s goods is successful. Communication is key to any business success, but especially here if you must rely on others to contribute to your goals.
As a final note, you’ll want to remember to look for a logistics carrier that you can see your business developing a long-term relationship with for future shipments. Having a go-to logistics carrier that you can rely on helps you to meet the needs of your company’s customers and develop a solid reputation within your industry.
Once you’ve found your ideal shipping carrier, make note of how your first few shipments go, and remember to provide them with all of the details they need to fulfill your deliveries. Sharing your feedback helps a good shipping carrier to continue to provide you with the highest level of services possible.
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