India is growing as a land of retail startups and expected to reach USD $1 trillion by the year 2020. Of this, the B2B e-commerce market could touch USD $700 billion. What does this mean for the industry? It opens up opportunities for startup retailers to create their own niche in the market. It also means that a bigger market would call for logistical efficiency. Typically, logistics refer to movement/transportation of physical goods and important information and the new ‘infrastructure’ status of the retail logistics sector also entails cold-chain, warehousing and multi modal logistics. The way you handle your retail logistics not only impacts your internal operations and the entire supply chain, but also affects your customer relations. The aim of a smart logistics system is to boost operational efficacy, build better customer relations and increase productivity.
Here are 5 ways you can improve your retail logistical efficiency to catalyze your business growth and build a stronger customer base.
Pay attention to planning
Whether it’s a growing business or a startup venture, your retail operations would invariably require a robust logistics plan to make your supply chain more efficient. Paying attention to your key parameters- time, transportation and above all, cost can yield you maximum output in minimum time. Another indispensable aspect of planning, which most managers might overlook is considering the unavoidable circumstances. It could be an internal organizational issue, unavailability of transport or even shortage or excess of goods. While planning, it is essential that you consider these unforeseen factors.
With technological disruption taking up industrial operations by storm, it’s time to reap the benefits of automation while planning your logistics. Build an Information Management System (IMS) to record, track and analyze every piece of data available to you. With a customized IMS, you can manage the huge volume of your retail data across the warehouse, inventory, orders and delivery.
Adopt smart warehouse management
The key to a smart retail logistics strategy is a robust warehouse management system. Warehouse management varies and depends on the kind of goods that you are supplying or selling. Your products will determine the kind of storage you would need. The idea of developing a smart warehouse management system is to ensure minimum wastage and increase your storage capacity.
Invest in training
For any entrepreneur, training the staff is an essential part of operations. More so in retail which involves functions that need to be constantly upgraded to stay in sync with market changes. Redefining your standard operating procedures at regular intervals can help you understand if all the gears in your work system are moving properly. From your warehouse managers to transport supervisors, your human resources in at every stage need to undergo regular training and development. This will enable smooth flow of information across the value chain.
Measure your metrics
Numbers always speak, as they say. So, to understand the success or failure of your retail logistics process, you need to build a system to measure your output. By integrating analyses, measurement and feedback from your internal and external audience, you can optimize your logistic performance.
Last, but not the least, the underlying essence of building a strong logistics program is by networking and building relations. Because, irrespective of the scale of your business, the value of relations go a long way in making your retail venture successful. And with good interpersonal relations with your supplier, transporter, delivery team and your customers, your retail logistic system can become sturdier. And going by the words of the great Napolean Bonaparte, “The amateurs discuss tactics; the professionals discuss logistics.”