Making Logistics and Delivery

Always with the aim of providing you with information useful for the development of your business, we propose in this article to better understand:

  • What a well thought-out and efficient supply chain can bring to your VSE;
  • How to set up an optimized logistics system adapted to your activity;
  • The key factors for successful delivery and their crucial role in customer retention;
  • What other techniques, such as partial delivery or return management and consignment sales, are real commercial levers?

What thoughtful and efficient logistics can bring to your VSE

For a small company, being concerned with the logistics process means giving itself additional means to achieve savings while meeting the growing requirements of customers. To do this, it is a matter of identifying the elements of the supply chain on which you can act. Logistics is not just about transport!

What does logistics really mean? Logistics concerns all the flows, upstream and downstream, of products and materials that constitute the company’s productive and commercial activity. The notion of flow is the one that makes it possible to “cross” the company’s structure and organization.

Generating turnover, developing your margin, ensuring your sales or level of activity are crucial concerns for any entrepreneur.

However, the management of supplies, stocks or deliveries is essential, even if it may seem constraining because it is time-consuming and repetitive. An already overburdened entrepreneur can often consider that the management of the logistics aspect will take him away from the strategic dimension of the development of his company.

How can a small business improve its logistics approach?

If the customer perceives a profit in the completion of the purchase that exceeds the actual cost of the purchase, then we can talk about added value for the customer.

Like a conductor coordinating all the musicians’ actions from a score, the entrepreneur must know how to identify, coordinate his resources to manage the flows harmoniously and respond optimally to customers.

Three essential steps in a successful logistics approach:

The phase prior to the customer’s order

Product availability, i.e. the company’s ability to meet the future order on the basis of the stocks it has,
The duration of a delivery cycle, from receipt of the order to delivery to the customer,
The variation of this delay (example: a three-day cycle that can vary by one day more or less);

The delivery phase

The accuracy of invoices and deliveries in relation to the customer’s order (example: delivery address),
Respect of the customer’s request (example: delivery from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 12pm or constraint of individual or batch packaging),
Delivery in the quantities requested by the customer,
The delivery of products in good condition,

The order tracking phase

The existence of an after-sales service if the order did not comply with the previous points,
The possibility of offering tailor-made services if the customer so wishes (example: training on products, maintenance or repair, loan of POS…)

Towards just-in-time or just-in-time (JIT) stock management

As inventories become more and more expensive as they approach the end customer, efforts are being made to limit inventories that are costly in terms of cash flow, storage space and handling and that may also remain unused (depreciated or even unusable due to deterioration, lower demand or obsolescence).

What is just-in-time management? Just-in-time or sometimes abbreviated JIT means that raw materials or final products are ordered only when they are used. One of the objectives of this method is to eliminate intermediate stocks.

Successful customer delivery is crucial to customer satisfaction and retention

The “last mile”, the one separating the warehouse from the customer, is the most expensive, not only in financial terms but also in reputation if deadlines are not respected!

What other techniques are real commercial levers?

The ever-increasing demands of consumers require companies to listen more and more and to offer a range of high value-added services around the product. For example, customers want to be able to return items in the mode of their choice, regardless of the purchasing channel used initially.

E-commerce has considerably increased the number of customer returns (size problem, color, etc…) and the quality of return management has quickly become a competitive advantage: free return, immediate refund, nearby relay, etc…

Thus, it seems imperative to be able to put these products back on sale as soon as possible in order to:

  • Avoid immobilization by encouraging rapid return to stock
  • Preserve margins: as products have shorter and shorter lifespans, obsolescence is a threat to any company that is not vigilant!
  • Increase profitability: re-selling becomes a potential source of new sales.

The golden rules for optimal return management

To have automated technological tools allowing:

  • An immediate update of stock levels
  • Real-time item tracking
  • Easy goods movements (entry and exit)
  • Easy management of invoicing with the possibility of simply issuing credit notes and refunds
  • The ability to process sales and returns of multi-location stocks

Benefit from efficient logistics to:

  • An immediate update of stock levels
  • Real-time item tracking
  • Easy goods movements (entry and exit)
  • Easy management of invoicing with the possibility of simply issuing credit notes and refunds
  • The ability to process sales and returns of multi-location stocks

An entrepreneur should not hesitate to change his vision of the logistics aspect of the company and no longer, as is often the case, assimilate it to transport alone!

By better understanding the different aspects of the supply chain, it can give them a strategic dimension of growth and customer loyalty. By offering flexible, practical and economical solutions, a small company can develop a real competitive advantage, thus fostering customer relations and satisfaction, the keys to success!