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Filling the gas tank, going out for lunch, buying groceries, and ordering something online are some of the many things we do without giving them a second thought. That is until something is out of stock or when an order does not arrive in time. We are so used to getting what we want – when we want it – that any disruption throws off our day. Supply chain issues also affect businesses. When they can’t deliver products, they lose sales and, potentially, their customers’ trust.
The United States logistics industry helps ensure products get from point A to point B so that store shelves remain stocked and our online orders appear on our doorstep on time. Keep reading this Balboa Capital blog article to learn more about the incredible power of our nation’s logistics industry. This guide to logistics explains how a complex system of shipping, storing and distributing materials, supplies, and products runs like a well-oiled machine.
What is logistics?
Logistics is a vital part of supply chain management, significantly impacting the flow of goods throughout the country. It involves transportation management, freight forwarding, warehousing/storage, and other related activities that help to move goods and products from their origin to the point of consumption. In addition, logistics has become increasingly important as businesses seek ways to optimize operations, balance supply and demand, manage backorders, and maintain customer satisfaction.
How does logistics work?
The logistics industry is multi-faceted and involves many moving parts and technologies. Suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, transportation companies, and retailers use automated ordering and fulfillment software and related technologies to keep goods and products moving through the supply chain. Therefore, communication between these industries with logistics management software is essential. Without it, there would be no way to see product demand or facilitate and ship orders on time.
To illustrate how logistics works, we will use a home audio products manufacturer as an example. The company manufactures next-generation speakers, soundbars, and amplifiers that run on home WiFi networks. To maintain adequate inventory, the company needs many raw materials and components. So, it uses a robust inventory management system that automatically renews orders for raw materials and components with adequate lead time.
Next, the company packages its home audio products on-site and stores the finished products in its warehouse. Plus, finished products are shipped to a network of fulfillment centers and distribution outlets in select cities nationwide. The products will be sent to retailers who purchase inventory and to customers when they make purchases online.
Finally, the home audio products manufacturer established an efficient and user-friendly return system. If speakers, soundbars, or amplifiers are damaged or need repairs, the retailer or customer can return them to a dedicated fulfillment center. The return process is simple and only requires an email with a QR code that contains the shipping information and a scheduled pickup.
Benefits of logistics.
Logistics solutions can be a great way to streamline your business’s operations. They can help you manage your supply chain more efficiently, optimize inventory management systems, and simplify the order fulfillment process. Logistics solutions can also reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction by providing timely delivery of goods and services. With the right logistics solutions, you can save time and money and boost your brand equity. As you know, companies that provide a great customer experience throughout the path to purchase are more likely to generate repeat business from existing customers.
The role of automation.
Automation in logistics is revolutionizing the way businesses manage their supply chain operations. Automated logistics systems can reduce human errors and provide real-time insights into the supply chain. For example, automated warehouse systems can help companies save time and money by automating inventory management, fulfilling orders, and shipping.
Automated shipping solutions can also help companies track real-time shipments, ensuring customers receive their orders on time. Businesses and their customers can also be notified if there is an unexpected shipping delay due to inclement weather.
Choosing a logistics provider.
If your brick-and-mortar or e-commerce business is growing, that is good news. However, your company’s growth might make storing, fulfilling, packing, and shipping products difficult. If that is the case, it is time to look for a third-party logistics (3PL) provider for your business. However, narrowing down the best option for you can be challenging with so many options available.
That’s why it’s essential to research and compare different 3PL providers before deciding. A good 3PL comparison tool or chart can help you compare services, pricing, and other factors to ensure you choose the right provider for your needs and growth goals.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.