In general terms, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet the customer’s requirements. A successful logistics strategy translates into getting your customer the right product, on time, and in one piece. But for many small to medium businesses, transporting product from one place to another can be stressful, not to mention risky and costly.
But having a good logistical solution in place is crucial to the health of your business, and it could be the differentiator that sets you apart from the competition. Consider the following solutions to determine the best logistics strategy for your small business.
Using a third party logistics provider, commonly known as 3PL, can be quite an effective option for small companies, providing negotiating power and technology that would not otherwise be affordable. Outsourcing your logistical needs is fairly straight forward and convenient, and it can free you up so that you have more time to focus on tending to and growing your business.
Industry Specific Logistics Providers
An industry specific provider knows how to handle the particular products being delivered. An industry specific 3PL may be more costly, but you might discover it outweighs the risk of using a provider that does not have expertise in your market.
Small Business Logistics Services
If the size of your business is too small to warrant using a 3PL, look to the major shipping providers for logistics management solutions. The major parcel carriers (FedEx, UPS, and DHL) all offer logistics services for small businesses.
Consider teaming up with your vendors or customers who have similar needs and budgets. Because most logistics companies’ pricing is based on volume, it’s possible that a partnership could help you meet your needs at a lower cost.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is cloud based technology that delivers logistics tools to users via the internet, instead of requiring a more costly onsite software installation. SaaS based logistics management solutions automate the entire process from carrier selection to the final delivery. These solutions also enable businesses to add new capabilities at a much lower cost than site-installed software.