By The Custella Team
“New is always better” is what most people say. Obviously, new changes can be linked to growth in a variety of cases. However, this concept remains debatable in the field of logistics and supply chain, but there is no question that an obsolete system will reduce the efficacy of logistics functions. It can also be a potential threat for a company relying on manual systems rather than a transportation management system.
Shifting to a transportation management system can be rewarding. But it is true that making the decision to change is tough as it is somehow too risky for the business to abandon the whole system of the past. Thus, identifying signs to see whether it is important to make improvements or not may be based on these 3 signs:
1) “Well It Is Quite Confusing Now, But Trust Me It Will Make Sense”
Difficulties in adequately explaining the logistics functions and processes to the new field staff are considered the first warning. The perplexed response from the new employees is what the manager gets which takes place because of all the over-explanation that keeps happening.
“Yeah, it’s confusing now, but it will make more sense over time.”. The line is often used to reassure new staff, but ironically, even senior employees tend to get lost over time by constantly answering the same questions about where to go for a piece of data or how to find a specific shipping document. This is one of the most common business scenarios, especially those that are transforming into a phase of growth.
2) “We Just Missed The KPI, Didn’t We”
Isn’t it scary? KPI is extremely important to measure production, costs, and quality rates of a team during the process, particularly in the fields. It becomes a nightmare for every logistics manager to miss a KPI. For example, if the report is below 98% for On-Time Final Delivery KPI, then operations are recommended to evaluate the whole procedure to consider strategies for growth and cost savings.
Missing KPI is reasonable since at times even the finest delivery teams fail to meet a shipping target. A major extent of these lapses is certainly an indication that the current shipping system lacks the capacity to handle increasing volumes of orders. It is also a cause for concern if you are unable to gauge and evaluate the performance of your team against their KPIs on an ongoing basis particularly if current processes and systems allow you to only evaluate this at the end of the quarter or year when it is too late to evaluate reasons and take remedial action.
3) “We Don’t Know Yet, But We Will Inform You About The Delivery Information ASAP”
People say, “A lot of things in this world are partial, but the priceless gift that everybody might own equally is 24 hours per day”. Maybe, not everybody is ready to sacrifice a valuable day of their lives to just sit and wait for their parcel’s details. Hence, timely and reliable responses become a tool for creating credibility, popularity, consistency, and satisfaction among the customers.
If your team members are unable to immediately update e.g. with a transportation management system, they need to make several calls and checks each time in order to be able to keep a customer informed about their delivery information, then companies must take this cue that it may be time to update their transport management systems and/or processes.
Just because it has been manual and tedious all this while is not the reason why this should continue or why this can’t be improved.
Know What To Change, But How?
Solution 1: Redefine The Basic Operating Practice To Render Simpler Working Procedures
The problem for the first scenario is rooted in the absence of a clear workflow. Therefore, on many stages of the process, human resources are wasted, from training to real-time work. Thus, companies should ensure that their team moves the right wheel at the right time with a transportation management system, by redefining your standard operating procedures, before making any major changes.
Employees will have a clear direction for work with a good SOP, which is basically a step-by-step process on how to get the job done. Redefining SOPs may not be the simple we understand. However, tying it to a Transportation Management System (TMS) that can simplify and automate these will take away the burden from your team members memorizing and being overly cautious of overlooking a step, particularly during high demand periods.
Solution 2: Embrace Industrialization To Improve Efficiency
In the technological era, the elimination of manual interference is possible due to robots being able to save a substantial amount of time and effort. Take a look at a real case study from a light fixture and fittings company to better understand the matter.
The company originally owned and operated six delivery workstations, all with separate shipping applications provided by the carrier. The task was huge and inefficient because the procedures were manual as field staff were expected to submit orders in various carrier systems, type in each package size, and then pick the best carrier cost and service. And as the holiday seasons began, the workload increased, causing shipping to become their greatest bottleneck.
A Transportation Management System (TMS) was implemented by them for parcel delivery in order to solve this problem, gaining the opportunity to automate the transportation of their products, saving time and enabling cost-effective decision making. As a result, the company managed to streamline and maximize the completion of its shipment orders.
The Transportation Management System used by the company enabled advanced planning and scheduling: This helped logistics managers plan optimized for pick-up and delivery schedules reducing unnecessary trips and utilization of vehicles.
Solution 3: Keep Monitoring And Follow Suit
It is a keen wish for any logistics organization to instantly gain knowledge of any delays or transport anomalies so that companies can adapt accordingly. In order to make their dream a reality, various innovations in the form of transportation management systems are taking place now to quickly and precisely boost the distribution process:
Route Optimization Software (ROS): ROS boosts operational efficiency by solving the Vehicle Routing Problem and adequate route scheduling. In addition, companies can track and monitor goods at all stages of the process until it reaches the consumer.
Order Processing Software (OPS): It helps a company to process more orders faster and allows customers to self-serve their orders, distribution records, and payments. So they can reduce time and monitor orders with detailed reports and dashboards in real-time.
Indeed, it is never easy to say goodbye, especially when it is a friend with whom the company has been cooperating for so long. It has brought the firm to where it stands today, after all. The shipping activities have supported the business well, yet it can be developed to be more successful. Therefore, if any of these three indications are familiar, it is a possible time for the distribution process to make adjustments and implement an effective transportation management system.
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