When you are not “in” logistics and fulfillment, it’s hard to appreciate how much time it consumes.
Here we’re not just talking the time it takes to locate, pick, pack, ship, and deliver an item. (Though that’s important too). But actually managing the logistics operation and maintaining control of your own data can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Few people realize this until they are in the thick of it.
To illustrate, see this blog post published by our strategic partners over at Infoplus, entitled “Seven Time Sucks in Your Logistics Operations.” In it, they outline several processes that tend to waste the time of operations managers, VPs, and COOs—things like slow reporting, stock replenishment, labor management, and good old-fashioned problem-solving (or putting out those “metaphorical fires”).
Why do such “time sucks” abound? Typically, it is because businesses are concentrating on their products—as they should. Most of their efforts go into product development and marketing. Fulfillment, if anything, is an afterthought.
But this attitude is precisely what leads to inefficient systems—or lack of any systems whatsoever. Without a good system, fulfillment, customer service, and leadership get tied up just getting the right products to the right customers.
The folks at Infoplus put it well:
“Nobody wants wasted time. But there is an even more powerful argument to be made for taking positive action to eliminate these time sucks. Each and every one gets in the way of more important strategic activities that can actually grow your business.”
That, in a nutshell, is the argument for taking a long, hard look at fulfillment.
So, if you don’t want to waste that precious time, consider doing the following:
- Start tracking how much time is wasted. When you measure a problem, you get a true grasp of its extent. Once you start measuring, you will be floored at how much time is wasted on mistakes and old-school practices.
- Investigate whether you have “systems” or “heroes.” In a truly resilient organization, all procedures are documented and tracked. Any qualified person can pick up where someone else left off. In contrast, some operations are lead by “heroes” who do everything themselves because they have all the knowledge in their heads. Heroes are great to have…but a problem when they quit, leave, or are otherwise unable to work. It’s only then that you realize how much was being done manually.
- See what you can outsource. 3PLs, for example, have systems in place for fulfillment and logistics. That’s what they do. Not only can they bring tons of knowledge and know-how to fulfillment operations, they can guarantee continuity of service and economies of scale.
3PLs can free up more time than you realize. Ask us for an estimate, and we can prove to you the savings that a 3PL can bring.