The strategies of supply chain management are of paramount importance when it comes to boosting the profitability of the business and distribution network. It is highly important that the customers’ demands related to the quality, quantity, timely response and timely delivery without any unnecessary delay are being met in a cost-effective manner. The various steps in the supply chain management include the transportation of the material and its storage as well as monitoring of those stages.
A distribution center along with acting as a warehouse to store products also provides value-added services including packaging, order fulfillment, product mixing, docking, etc. to serve the external wholesale or retail customers by storing and shipping the products. The centers may also provide a temperature-controlled environment for the goods that need certain conditions for storage including edibles like fruits, vegetables, and medicines. The type of goods determines how the products are managed in the distribution center and how they are going to be stored.
For a smooth flow of the supply chain, the distribution and the material management play essential roles. They determine how the products are supplied, stored and delivered to different locations and keep a record of the stored products. Mostly it involves the following things.
- Loading and Unloading
- Surveillance of stocks
- Storage and packaging
- Value-added services
Adopt Distributor Management System
Some distributors prefer traditional and conventional ways of handling products and goods. They either don’t feel at ease with using technology or they lack skilled resources to manage it. But in order to gain a competitive edge in the market, it is becoming essential to incorporate technology in the distribution centers. Whether the business is of a small scale or a large one, DMS software has gained a lot of importance later in the warehouse and inventory management.
Trends to Know in for Better Freight & Carrier Management in 2020
To combat the visibility and transparency problems that may arise as a result of handling and managing multiple companies, the DMS portal by keeping a track of all the information related to the product can assist the distributor in placing the primary orders as per requirement. He/she can also check on the physical status of the product until its delivery and financial status related to the payment is also just a click away, hence it adds transparency in the whole process.
Not only can this, with incorporating DMS, the jobs related to the secondary orders be handled automatically, for example:
- Confirmation of orders
- formation of challan
- application of promotions
- Invoice generation
The online portal avoids any unnecessary manual involvement, so not just the transparency increases, the labour expenses are also minimized adding profit.
By enhancing the responsiveness, it not only speeds up the whole process but also helps keep the track of the financial and information flow for the distributor as well as the customer. From order taking to its fulfillment, everything is handled automatically and the customer is continuously updated with the credit history, its limits and the status of the product thus keeping him/her satisfied.
As the business involves large amounts of money, a well-planned strategy for stocking, restocking the products is a must. The inventory management according to the analysis is necessary. The distributor can get the analysis and information regarding the product sale patterns, statistics about the high credit customers, etc. thus helping in taking the important decisions with precision and also assisting in taking pre-emptive measures to avoid any sort of loss.
DMS Software assists in optimizing the distribution center related operations. Moreover, It helps keep an eye on the center related jobs and help avoid and trace any malpractice or manipulation.
The sustainability and the efficiency of each one of the channels have a great impact on the overall efficiency of the distribution center. The moving of goods especially temperature-sensitive products is a very responsible task and any error in this can have severe consequences. It is necessary to introduce strategies to make the transportation process cost-effective, adequate, speedy, competent and to avoid any sort of delays. Some of the strategies that could be worked upon are discussed as follows:
Customers often feel drawn towards offers. Incentives and offers can be introduced for the customers who order in a quantity that helps make better use of the space of the container so that the fuel and travel cost is saved.
Speed and Schedule
With technological advancement and due to the need-based demands, it is better to not test customer’s patience regarding the time taken by delivery. It should be made sure that the schedule is being followed strictly without any delay and that the whole process is carried out at a good speed. Moreover, to build a good reputation in the market, it is important to work with a dedicated fleet that is reliable and trustworthy.
The customization of vehicles is one of the latest trends. With the customization of vehicles, the transportation of goods has become easier and faster. The automation in vehicles can allow safety, available capacity, and more insights into data around freight moves.
Optimize Warehouse Operations
Well organized and efficient distribution centers can make the large scale shipping of goods to the customers easier. As discussed above, the efficiency of the channels is very important. In this regard, well-planned policies are required for handling the storage. The optimization of warehouses can overcome many challenges.
Automation and Robotics
The warehouse robotics assist in careful and better handling of the goods for assorting, lifting, packaging, etc. The latest warehouse software assists in handling the inventory with pallet jackets, forklifts storage retrieval system shipping containers packaging and, containers, boxes and carton. The RFID and RF Barcode system not only help in the data collection but also reduce the chances of human error in keeping a record of all the items. Moreover, it helps in collecting and analyzing more data in less time thus improving the efficiency of the distribution center. These systems also eliminate the chances of any malpractice or forfeiting attempts.
Space and Capacity
Sometimes, the capacity of the warehouse does not match the quantity of the goods and does not fulfill the required adjustment. At this crucial stage, the danger of spoiling the goods hovers. To meet this challenge a proper space is needed. If the storage place is sufficient to adjust goods, the danger can be avoided easily. Otherwise, the hurdles will find an easy way to stop the logistic procedure. In the same way, if the warehouse is much bigger than the required capacity, the cost of the storage goes high and the chances of loss will be larger. To get rid of these risks the availability of sizable inventory is much needed. It not only saves from the wastage and spoilage of the goods, but it also helps to lessen the storage charges. A sizable inventory is helpful in storing the supply goods and it will stop the delaying orders.
Cut Down The Communication Gap
One of the most important plans of action to gain a competitive edge is effective communication. It should be ensured and verified that there is no miscommunication at all for a smooth process. Information channels must be efficiently analyzed so that the important data can be viewed by different parties involved so every situation can be handled effectively.
The communication gap can cost a company both time and money. It not only impacts the efficiency of the workers but also the relationship between different parties too. The latest software like WMS, RFID, etc. can reduce the chances of any information sprawl by saving all the records of the data online where the involved parties can access it.
Measure Performance and Set Target
The only way to survive in a competitive market is to survive and get ahead of others is to continuously improve and to never repeat the mistakes. It is important for freight forwarding companies to improve the efficiency of the center and for that, the performance of each channel should be analyzed frequently. First of all, what the company needs to do is to track all the information regarding the monthly revenue of each channel and the number of partners. In this way, you’ll be able to identify the problems and correct them and bring improvement wherever needed. After you have developed a strong report, you may get the idea about the following things:
- The percentage revenue of each of the channels
- Average revenue
- Difference between the planned and achieved profit
- Possible hurdles
The conflicts usually include poor customer service, stocking problems, financial issues, miscommunication or misinformation, irresponsible behavior of workers, etc. To fight such problems the freight forwarding company can:
- Appoint a channel manager for each department
- Analyze the response of customers
- First Communicate for problem-solving otherwise go for a new option.
- Analyze market perception and sales campaign
- Hold regular meetings and seminars for discussing responsibilities and actions