This is how you minimize, for example, the number of incoming inquiries to the warehouse. Three ways to give your customers, and your customers’ customers, improved service with the help of distribution data.
One-hour deliveries, drones arriving with pizza... Are the global e-commerce companies filled with hubris, or are they simply operating at a staggeringly ambitious but, sensible pace? Probably a little bit of both. However, companies that do not have endless resources to raise the bar on logistics, warehouse management, and shipping information can still invite their customers to dance. Spice up your warehouse and logistics management with some data management.
DATA MANAGEMENT AND DELIVERIES
The warehouse is the heart of a company’s operations. Make use of the shipping information that flows through it. Here are three ways of transforming the ones and zeros to time and money.
1. Shared Data is Double Data
Sharing shipping and distribution information is a good way to build trust. This applies particularly to customers such as retailers and other large quantity buyers. It is especially important when it comes to the latter because it is highly likely that they have multiple orders that are being shipped to them at the same time by different carriers. Single notification messages via SMS are not a tenable option is this case. No buyers want to have to contact your warehouse unnecessarily to ask about delivery status.
Therefore, make sure that your digital logistics system, or delivery management system (We find many names for the things we love):
1. Can handle and present shipping information in real time and that this stream of data can be shared in a controlled and secure way with the respective customer.
2. Can share data in such a way that it provides the customer with a “window.” The customer should be able to see all their deliveries. They should either be able to access the information via a browser on their smartphone or computer or have the data imported into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system (or equivalent system). The customer that you are sharing data with should not need to log into your system to view the information. Sharing information with them should give them a sense of control and insight on their own terms.
3. Is built on a well-thought-out policy and technology for data security.
2. What are Your Customers’ Preferences? Historical Data
Can you use the data to find patterns in purchases, destinations, choice of carrier service (carrier product), requested time of delivery, etc.?
If yes, what conclusions can you draw from it?
Are there cost savings or efficiency gains that can be made for you and your customers, for example, by consolidating some shipments or offering cheaper and slower carrier products for other shipments?
If you want to be able to draw conclusions based on the patterns the data are showing you, you should make sure that your logistics and delivery management systems can:
make the shipping information available in the warehouse management system (WMS) or ERP system, or in other so-called systems for business intelligence (BI), or data analytics systems such as Microsoft or Qlik, which will then make it easy for you to act on the information.
3. Use the Data to Deliver From the “Right” Location
The central warehouse is the temple of the company. However, your customers and retailers do not always live near your main warehouse. It might, therefore, be good idea to offer drop-shipments or delivery from the closest store that already has the product in stock.
The question is:
Where is it most efficient for your company to ship an order from? And how can you manage this as efficiently and with as little manual handling as possible?
· Make sure that the order and delivery data in your logistics system can be compared with data from the warehouse management system, for example. Also ensure that the WMS shows stock status at your own stores or retailers.
· This kind of data analysis is certainly part of your long-term ambitions for last mile service, but while you are waiting for the most ambitious solutions to become cost- effective alternatives, consider it useful scouting.
· If your logistics system/delivery management system has already been integrated into your WMS, comparing data is an easy task. However, it does require that the logistics system come with a so-called Control Tower feature for statistics and data management. It also requires that the logistics system can handle all carriers on the market, and comes with drop-shipment features.
1. Share data―Drastically reduce administration and customer phone calls regarding delivery status by giving them full insight into their deliveries.
2. What are your customers’ preferences? ―Use historic delivery data or shipping information, for example, to improve your procurement bids by basing them on actual facts instead of rough estimates.
3. Think outside the warehouse―Your stores are also a warehouse resource. With the help of shipping information you can, cost-effectively, turn that into an advantage.
How Does Data Sharing Work in Practice?
Do you want to know how data sharing can be used in your day-to-day operations and also learn more about data security with regard to logistics and shipping information? Read how one of Sweden’s oldest carriers and now also 3PL service providers uses data sharing, and also get the checklist:
Six Things to Think About When You are Going to Start Sharing Shipping Data