Management is an important part of every business, but nowhere is this more crucial than in the case of e-commerce. Effective logistics management is essential in every step of e-commerce. Here’s a look at four essential components of solid e-commerce logistics management.
Whether you make your products yourself or you’re getting them from wholesale vendors, you’ll need to make sure you have enough of the right items in stock to fill orders uninterrupted. Some of the logistics tasks associated with sourcing products include forecasting the demand for your products, developing products you can sell, tracking your suppliers’ turnaround times, looking into new product opportunities based on the needs of your market, keeping track of inbound stock shipments, and seeking bids to lower your costs.
How do your products make their way from your supplier to your order fulfillment facility? There are a lot of considerations that go into transportation logistics, including where your products are made, how many goods you’re shipping, and how quickly they must arrive.
When it comes to inbound transportation, businesses might use a standard parcel carrier like UPS or FedEx, Less-Than-Truckload freight shipments, air freight, or intermodal shipping, which is a combination of methods like air, rail and ocean freight. Regardless of the approach, you’ll need to carry out tasks like insuring freight; classifying it based on weight, size and contents; handling regulations governing imports and exports; scheduling backups; coordinating delivery; and tracking the goods en route.
Everything related to managing your inventory, packing and shipping your orders, and dealing with returns falls under order fulfillment logistics. Your approach will vary depending on your average order volume, the goods you sell, and the facilities and staff you have available.
However, daily fulfillment tasks that can’t be ignored include monitoring changing inventory levels, receiving new stock and storing it, dealing with inventory shortages, processing orders as they come in through various sales channels, picking and packing orders carefully, handling customer delivery issues, and dealing with returns. Third-party fulfillment companies and order management software can help make this part of your operations run smoother.
You’ll never get logistics right without a good system in place for tracking data and then using it to make smart decisions for your company. You can’t rely on guesswork for your purchasing decisions; you need product sales data to gain a more accurate picture of demand. Other useful metrics include top sellers, slow movers, packaging costs, exchanges, and shipping costs, to name just a few.
As you can see, a lot goes into proper logistics management, but the reward you’ll get for making the effort is a business that runs smoothly and keeps its customers happy while boosting that all-important bottom line.
This blog post was based off of an article from FitSmallBusiness. Read the full article here.