Is your outbound logistics still stuck in the dark ages? If it’s taking a day or more to get your products shipped and your operation isn’t exactly customer-centric, it’s high time for an upgrade! Join me as I delve into the current state of outbound logistics. In particular, I will highlight five key objectives that will enable you to guarantee a superb delivery experience for your valued customers.
“The supply chain stuff is really tricky.”Elon Musk
What Is Outbound Logistics Operations And Why It Is Key To Delighting Customers?
Outbound logistics is no longer a process that is far removed from customers. With the advent of eCommerce, businesses must now focus their supply chain on the customer. Fundamentally, an outbound supply chain is essentially the process of delivering goods to customers. So with eCommerce operations it is imperative that businesses now make their outbound logistics and integral part of their customers’ experience.
1. Outbound Logistics – What Is It and How Has eCommerce Changed It?
Traditionally, companies viewed outbound logistics as a back-end process. Specifically, logisticians focused solely on efficiently storing, moving, and distributing products to retail stores or businesses. Basically, businesses thought of their supply chains as a cost of doing business. However, with the rise of eCommerce, businesses can no longer treat logistics as a mere cost center. In fact, this mindset must shift as many end-customers are now online consumers. As a result, logistics now includes last-mile delivery services. Moreover, it includes a comprehensive omnichannel customer contact center to successfully deliver orders to end customers.
2. Outbound Logistics For eCommerce Has Many Customer-facing Distribution Channels.
Back in the day, outbound logistics primarily focused on commercial deliveries to retail stores and other businesses. Now, with businesses making more and more deliveries to eCommerce consumers than to other businesses, logistics is getting complicated. Indeed, there are now numerous distribution channels, eCommerce models, that companies use to deliver orders to end-customers. Specifically, the primary distribution channels include Business-To-Consumer (B2C), Business-To-Business (B2B), and Direct-To-Consumer (D2C). For a more detail explanation of eCommerce distribution models, see SC Tech Insights’ The Meaning of eCommerce Models and Relationships – B2B, B2C and other Acronyms.
“The most important thing is to obsessively focus on the customer. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”Jeff Bezos
3. Outbound Logistics Is Now, More Than Ever, A Critical Part Of The Customer Experience.
No longer can store clerks or even state-of-the-art customer contact centers keep the customer delighted. Now, it is outbound logistics operations that assures a delighted customer experience. Specifically, it does this by having competent order processing, efficient order fulfillment, flawless last-mile delivery service, and a proactive, knowledgeable customer contact center.
Undeniably, who else besides outbound logistics operations can minimize shipment order errors? Further, who can avoid insufficient inventory and minimize missed delivery commitments? Lastly, who can prevent a bad customer experience? In all these cases, it is outbound logistics that makes the difference. Also, another challenge with eCommerce is that there are more chances for errors as there are more and more smaller orders going to more and more delivery addresses.
For more information on outbound logistics, see Elogii’s The Impact of Outbound Logistics on Last-Mile Delivery and Fareye’s What is outbound logistics?
A New Set Of Goals For Outbound Logistics
So the question is, “is your outbound logistics operation lagging behind the times?” Indeed, merely performing well in outbound logistics isn’t sufficient. In particular, many logistics operations lack customer focus and fail to offer a competitive advantage. Positively, it’s high time for most businesses to unlock their outbound logistics potential. Quit treating your outbound logistic operation as a cost center. To help, I recommend five objectives that every outbound logistics operation should pursue to ensure their customers have a positive delivery experience.
5 Goals For Outbound Logistics
- Get The Order Information Right Every Time. Goal to eliminate defects with order processing.
- Focus On Having A Perfect Order Every Time. Goal for order fulfillment to complete every order on time, no stock-outs, no miss picks, and no damage.
- Meet Your Delivery Commitments Every Time. Partner with transportation carriers to minimize shipping delays and errors.
- Enable Your Customer Contact Center To Proactively Resolve Exceptions The First Time, Every Time. Minimize “Where is my stuff?” calls and assure customer service has info to resolve exceptions fast.
- Measure Performance Using Click-To-Delivery Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Management uses KPIs, to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the supply chain and take steps to eliminate them.
For a detailed explanation of these 5 goals for eCommerce outbound logistics, read SC Tech Insights’ Advice For Reduced Costs and Time From Click-To-Delivery.
Wow! Imagine this for your eCommerce supply chain operation. You eye last week’s stats on your operations dashboard and see that every delivery was on-time, no stock-outs, and the warehouse picked all orders correctly. On top of this, no customer had to call your contact center asking “Where’s my stuff?”. So how do you get a competitive edge? Click here for 5 tips to help you improve your eCommerce supply chain operations and ensure your customers have a great delivery experience.
Also, see ShipBob’s Inbound and Outbound Logistics: KPIs , for more ideas setting goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for outbound logistics.
For more articles from Supply Chain Tech Insights, see our supply chains topics section.
Greetings! As an independent supply chain tech expert with 30+ years of hands-on experience, I take great pleasure in providing actionable insights to logistics leaders. My background includes implementing 100s of innovative solutions using emerging technologies and a data-centric development approach. I have also provided business intelligence (BI) solutions for 1,000s of shippers. For more about me, click here.