Fresh ideas for improving the logistics chain under COVID-19 Special

Posted Jan 17, 2021 by Tim Sandle
No matter how sophisticated the logistics chain is in the 'thick of it' in the warehouse setting, the challenge is all about helping to fulfill orders, and making sure clients are happy. A logistics expert, provides some improvement tips for 2021.
Shipping containers are seen on a Cosco Shipping vessel at the Port of Long Beach on August 23  2019...
Shipping containers are seen on a Cosco Shipping vessel at the Port of Long Beach on August 23, 2019 in Long Beach, California
Frederic J. BROWN, AFP
To gain a fresh insight as to how logistics companies can turn the current economic situation around, Digital Journal spoke with Brendan Heegan of Boxzooka, which is a global logistics company covering the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption. Riding out the trend of coronavirus and the disruption caused is key.
Heegan explains how he works with customers to forecast trends, help them scale up, and be a continued resource in the supply chain. He provides Digital Journal with some tips from Brendan on preparing for fulfillment in 2021.
Prepping your fulfillment operation for the New Year
Heegan explains that looking at the actual work undertaken is important and with making modifications as necessary: "It is time to streamline the inventory, plus your delivery and return strategies. This is so to to scale-up your business in 2021. Prior to 2020, electronic commerce reliant businesses made the bulk of their sales during the winter months." Now this more than likely an all year round consideration, given the COVID-19 restrictions upon bricks-and-mortar stores.
Heegan's tip for addressing this pressing issue is: "From stocking up on inventory and anticipating hot spots for delivery and warehouse storage to outsourcing third party logistics when necessary, you need to optimize your order fulfillment."
Stock up
With a focus on stock and supplies, Heegan recommends: "Forecast demand as soon as possible to ensure you have the most up-to-date levels of stock. Look back at previous orders to understand the quantity, make and model to get a feel for how much storage you will be needing and when."
He then adds that it is very useful to: "Analyze sales data from previous years to understand hot spots for deliveries where consumers are ordering from so you can plan for storage space. Work with your third-party logistics provider to discuss sales trends, in order to bolster performance."
Heegan recommends planning space: "Without a proper sales forecasting, you might end up having too much in stock and waste money shelling out for high cost warehousing fees. Find a balance between having enough of your best-selling products to prevent customers from having to wait a long time for shipping."
Make a plan and scale up as needed
Planning is key, says Heegan, and ideally based on good data: "Retailers will be busy planning for what they learned and ways to scale their online business in 2021. Analyzing your selling history from previous years, plus gauging potential logistic scenarios you may encounter could make all the difference."
Outsource fulfillment when possible
Adapting in the time of the coronavirus pandemic is something many companies have needed to face. With his pressing topic, Heegan notes: "Diversifying your fulfillment centers will enable you to store and ship products to your customers faster and more efficiently. "
Optimize package tracking and updates to maintain consumer’s trust
Heegan says that keeping the customer happy is paramount, and essential for securing repeat business: "This past period was met with many challenges. Make sure you provide up-to-date tracking information and updates through e-mail and/or text message. This will also alleviate customer service teams who may be flooded with customer questions."
Anticipate returns and opportunities for resale
Dealing with returns is important, not least for maintaining revenue:, says Heegan "Electronic commerce stores will likely be bombarded with returns. So you must optimize items that get sent back to warehouses for a swift resale or exchange when applicable. This will help to avoid losing out on new revenue."