Here, there and everywhere: common logistics issues and how to fix them

Foto del autor

By Natalie Golffed

April 2, 2021

In a pandemic world, logistics is everywhere, and not just limited to transportation companies. Everything has a logistics aspect. If you’ve purchased something online so you can avoid going places because of Covid-19, there are logistics involved. If you have been or will get vaccinated soon, there’s logistics behind receiving that shot in optimal conditions. If you stocked up on toilet paper like the world was coming to an end, there are logistics involved as well to make sure the market continues being able to provide all sorts of different products. If you wear a mask every day, there’s probably logistics there too that made the mass production and exportation possible and most likely expedited.

We’ve been working with logistics for a while, both in big and small companies, with national and international operations. And no matter the scale of the project, we have been able to identify some common problems. They can be solved, and once they do, the operations report a significant positive impact.

So, without further ado, here are the top 5 recurring problems we find regarding logistics -and some tips for their solutions-:

5. The last mile becomes blind

We’ve all been there: the order has been placed, confirmation has been received, payment has been processed, and so the wait begins. Either you don’t have a delivery date or you do but your purchase doesn’t arrive as planned. What actually happens is that you as a customer have no visibility of the internal (sometimes outsourced) processes that take place and make your purchase come to you. This might create unfulfillable expectations for customers as well as a loss of engagement or reputation that your brand has worked so hard to obtain.

In cases like these, integrating these processes along with the deployment of technology is the way to go. They also offer the very important advantage of giving the customers visibility of their product and its voyage. This makes the process as a whole more reliable as well as seamless.

4. GPS and then what?

GPS tracking has become increasingly ubiquitous. Most of us, if not all, have this technology in our pockets right now or are even reading this on a mobile device. Of course, in the context of logistics, sometimes other, more complex mechanisms are employed.

We’ve come across companies that have gone out of their way to subscribe to a GPS service, and then… nothing. The information gathered by those devices is not used, when it could be really useful to manage and measure (and later on, predict) multiple aspects pertaining to logistics, such as gas expense management, vehicle maintenance, the total cost per unit, general profitability information, loss prevention and possibly a myriad of other metrics.

3. Documentation management: between two realms

Logistics, especially if they involve international trade, require copious amounts of paperwork. And when we consider that an important number of companies outsource their logistics, it makes even more sense that paperwork should be organized for the peace of mind of everyone involved. These documents often are physical in nature and need to be manually signed by the many people that come in contact with them in order to assure that certain procedures have been followed. Logically, for internal administration purposes, these physical documents need to be collected and manually uploaded into the different systems companies use. This takes up a significant amount of time and virtually blocks all other tasks for the resources at play.

If these documents were to be digitally distributed and signed, they could be automatically uploaded, reducing time and human error. They could also automatically trigger other processes related to payment or management of the services provided.

2. The Goldilocks story: resource planning and allocation

We’ve all seen those unboxing videos where there are so. many. layers. of packaging for a tiny product that probably could have been shipped much more simply. And this, on a different scale, happens in different logistics scenarios. If resources are overestimated then efficiency also gets overestimated: if the load is too big for the vehicle on hand, then two trips will be needed. Likewise, if we overestimate, we end up allocating a resource that wasn’t necessary in the first place and taking it away from other tasks that could benefit from it.

We’ve developed a system geared towards the correct allocation of resources, where many kinds of means of transportation are included and, based on their capacity, selected for the task at hand.

1. Information management: where it all starts and ends

If you think logistics basically means moving things around, you might want to think again. The core of logistics is information. Sometimes we find that different areas of a company all intervene in some processes, but the systems they use are not connected, which means information is not properly managed and workload is doubled or sometimes even triples.

Having a system in place that manages and unifies all the information has a number of benefits: It reduces errors derived from manually uploading information to separate systems, helps streamline processes, avoids duplication of tasks, and improves efficiency and overall communication inside the organization.

These common problems can be fixed and drastically improve the efficiency of your company. Contact us, we’d love to help you!