Every business, especially every new business, will need to take time considering and reviewing the overarching systemic decisions they wish to make, as they relate to the management and organization of their firm. If we consider this mesh of interlocking systems as gears that help the entire machine run, we can see how one of these systems, if misapplied, may limit the health of the entire process.
For this reason, making sure every facet is considered and is developed to work in synergy with the rest of those lateral processes is key. For instance, crafting the perfect office space environment with the most worthwhile ergonomic furniture is not useful unless the space is being cleaned every single night and is secured during the night.
Logistics is another essential component of managing our business priorities, and if not properly applied to our daily functioning and scheduling, can often leave us in something of a bind going forward. That’s never a positive outcome, so it’s worth considering how to develop the proper approach, to begin with. In this post, we’ll discuss how new businesses should think of and plan for their logistics going forward:
Of course, logistics fall down if we have nothing within which to provide those logistics towards, such as the movement of products or inventory. But when we have access to inventory, we also need to store it correctly.
‘Correct’ storage will differ depending on exactly what needs to be stored. For instance, storing frozen meats will require the use of industrial refrigerators. The same goes for certain chemicals. We recently saw with the Covid-19 vaccine rollouts that some required storage at particular temperatures to remain viable for use, some of them could cope with room temperatures, while others were in need of either freezing or refrigeration to work. It may also be that a certain product shouldn’t be stored in direct sunlight, or must be placed in a properly ventilated environment.
With every product you store, it’s important to assess if you have the capabilities of doing so. Having ample room to safely store products is also key, as stacking many boxes on top of one another in the aisle of a warehouse does not conform to essential safety standards in any respect.
Sometimes, proper storage involves storage for transport, such as in a small sea can or within a refrigerated truck. It’s up to you to assess which is the most appropriate transportation storage option for your needs.
Labeling & Tracking
With the number of goods that may move from place to place, it’s essential to have a proper labeling and tracking program in place. This might take the shape of labels produced with bar codes that can be scanned during and after they will be stored at your facility. This way, you can automatically count the exact number of products you are currently in position of.
Some companies even use trackers to make sure they can see the exact GPS coordinates of where their products are as they move through the transportation/logistics system. Labeling also conforms to our prior standard, often making it clear how a product needs to be stored and kept in order to retain its eligibility for use.
Of course, safety is an essential principle that we need to keep in mind when planning our logistics. For instance, managing a fleet of drivers is only worthwhile if we adhere to the proper workplace regulations, such as allowing them to take breaks where necessary, limiting them from driving over the legally acceptable amount of hours, and ensuring the truck cabin environment is clean and safe.
Safety also translates to how we manage and move inventory from place to place. Using forklifts with registered drivers is essential to make sure that responsible handling takes place. Proper safety equipment, such as high-visibility jackets in our warehouse environments, and hard hats or gloves will also be essential. Trolleys that can load inventory without causing strain on the backs of those working in this space is also key to consider and manage.
Transportation is a key factor in logistics, perhaps the key factor, and must be respected and properly planned for. Running a fleet of trucks, delivery vans or even using third-party services for this must come under your regular purview and review.
First, we must make sure that our fleet is well maintained, that our goods are stored on them efficiently and that we properly assess our network of stop-off points, refueling stations, and safety practices embedded in our practice. We must also vet the drivers we use, and make sure they are properly taken care of in what is known to be an arduous job requiring intensive endurance to do properly.
We must also make sure that paying for space in proper truck stops and loading trucks securely can aid against thefts and other issues. Ensuring our trucks and our moved inventory will also be key in making sure that any problem along the way is fully reimbursed and measured as appropriate. This way, we can make sure that we limit our losses as well as we possibly can.
It’s important to note that the network by which we manage our inventory can change over time. For instance, perhaps we wish to opt for the use of a certain logistics firm for some measures, but manage our own small fleet for more local deliveries.
For instance, a farm may wish to deliver their harvests to supermarkets using a third-party logistics service, while also running a small network of their own delivery fans as appropriate. Properly managing the investment in fuel, constantly reviewing the standard of our own fleets, and relying on agency hires where appropriate can be key in helping this logistical network sustain itself.
In some cases, fulfillment centres and eCommerce outfits can help you store your products for long periods of time and maintain their conditions, allowing you to immediately fulfill orders in given areas that may take time to deliver to. These can work as stop gaps in your logistics strategy and provide the convenience you may be seeking.
With this advice, we hope your new business can more readily think of and plan its logistical effort.