How to Make Your Logistics Business More Efficient

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Andrea Easton Head of Finance and Operations at Fleet Ex

Monday, January 4, 2021

Regardless of your views on Brexit, you’ll probably be glad to see the end of 2020. The end of a year is generally a time when people look at what went well and what improvements can be made for the new year.

Article 3 Minutes
How to Make Your Logistics Business More Efficient

This year, it's particularly important that businesses get off to a flying start, so here are some tips on making your logistics business more efficient.

Review your standard operating procedures (SOP)

Your standard operating procedures should make the best (most efficient) use of your current resources. Reviewing and, where necessary, optimizing them, can also help identify where you could make further improvements through investing in new technology.

When you are reviewing your SOPs, keep three questions in mind:

  • How can I improve cash flow?
  • How can I reduce errors, both in the warehouse and during transit (e.g. order tracking)?
  • How can I improve delivery times?

Improving cash flow can mean increasing revenue as well as lowering costs. However, it’s probably more realistic to focus on improving processes to maximize efficiency and hence reduce costs.

Look for ways to implement task interleaving

'Task interleaving' is the technical term for 'batching' tasks. In other words, you make one journey serve as many functions as possible. A typical example of this would be combining picking with putting away on a single trip rather than making one trip for each function.

In principle, you want to implement task interleaving as much as possible. In practice, make sure you leave yourself at least a bit of breathing space. This ensures that you’ll have the flexibility to deal with any unplanned events.

Decide if you need to implement a goods-to-picker approach

To determine if a goods-to-picker approach would benefit the business, you need to have a clear understanding of how your workers are spending their time. In particular, you need to know how much time they’re spending on trips to pick up goods. You also need to know the cost of implementing a picker-to-goods system.

Think about where and how you need to implement double-checking

Humans make mistakes. Humans also program computers so computers can make mistakes. This means that you need a system of double-checking to pick up errors before they become large, and costly, issues.

Decide what reporting you need and how often

Ideally, you should have constant access to real-time information. Daily, weekly and monthly reporting, should be possible. What’s more, even if you have access to real-time information, it can be helpful to look at consolidated reports with everything you need in one glance.

Get to grips with inventory management

In logistics, everything starts with inventory management. As a bare minimum, you need to know exactly what you have and exactly where it is. If you’re storing perishable items, you also need to know their expiry date.

What you really want to know, however, is what’s selling where at what time. This allows you to optimize what stock you keep in your warehouse, the layout of your warehouse and your SOPs.

This means that you need to make warehouse-management software a high priority. If you already have warehouse management software, then make sure that you know how to get the most out of it. If necessary, sign up for training.

Andrea Easton

Head of Finance and Operations at Fleet Ex

https://www.fleetex.co.uk/

Andrea Easton is the Head of Finance and Operations at Fleet Ex who specialise in quality ex-fleet/end of lease trucks and trailers and are global leaders in the trucking industry.

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