Using Logistics to Grow Your Business

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1 Using Logistics to Grow Your Business

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3 USING LOGISTICS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS Y ou want your business to grow and logistics can help you achieve your objective. I ve put together this short guide for you that shows you how and I m really pleased to be able to send it to you. You probably know from your own experience that many people think of logistics just as a cost to be controlled, or a process to be improved. Of course, you can t ignore these things, but what we ve found is that really successful company, it will help your company grow. This paper is just an introduction, so there s not enough space to go into any of the issues in great detail. You ll also have to go about implementing them in a way that suits your particular business. I ve plenty of experience of tailoring solutions based on these principles to the needs of individual clients. Why not give me a call, and I ll talk to you about how you use these

4 found is that really successful companies look at logistics in a different way. Companies that grow quickly and what s more, sustain that growth use logistics as a competitive tool. These companies have transformed the way they think about logistics. You ll be able to see that for them, logistics is what gives them their edge over their competitors. Of course, every company is different, and I m sure you ll find some sections more useful than others. But I m convinced that if you re able to introduce just one or two ideas from this paper into your to you about how you use these ideas to help your particular business grow. Or me on You want to grow your business let s see how logistics can help you! Stephen Errey Stephen Errey Limited, Chantry Court, CHESTER, CH1 4QN, Great Britain Tel:

5 Principle #1: GET YOUR LOGISTICS FIT RIGHT I f you re like most of our clients, you d probably be surprised the first time you meet us. What happens is this. You ask me to come and talk about an issue you ve got with your logistics. But when we meet, most of the questions I ask you aren t about your logistics at all. Instead, they re all about your business about your customers, about your competition, about where you want your company to go, about what makes you different. Throughout the country they were using large coaches to collect passengers and take them to a central point to join their holiday tour. I found that while this worked well elsewhere, it just didn t suit London to fill a coach you had to call at eight or nine places. And with the low driving speeds you get in London, these journey times put potential passengers off. So now they use a fleet of minibuses that can take passengers directly from home to tour and back again and now there are more satisfied

6 There s a very good reason for this. I ve noticed that successful businesses don t treat their logistics departments just as an add-on to the other things they do. They look at what their customers need and then design their logistics systems to meet those needs. Let me give you an example. A major holiday company wanted to increase their market share in South East England. They could have redesigned their brochure or given travel agents better incentives but instead they asked themselves the question does our logistics fit what our customers want? now there are more satisfied customers and business is increasing. You can see that there s no way that changing the way they sold the old service could have done this. If the way you re providing your service doesn t fit what your customers want, you can t sell yourself out of trouble. Of course, this is a solution that s very specific to that company. But what it shows is that if your supply chain isn t designed to fit your customers needs you ll be missing opportunities. And every time you miss an opportunity you re missing a chance to grow. Stephen Errey Limited, 4 Chantry Court, CHESTER, CH1 4QN, Great Britain Tel:

7 Principle #2: HOW YOUR LOGISTICS CAN TURN YOUR CUSTOMERS INTO SALESMEN I f you want your business to grow, you ve got to get new customers. So how do you find them? Of course, you ve always got the hard-sell option. Throw salesmen at it, bump up your marketing budget to subsidise promotional pricing, and hope the numbers game works out for you. There s another way you can go one that recognises that your best salesmen aren t salesmen at all Of course, your customers won t do this unless you give them really good service. And here s the important point. Good service isn t just a good telephone manner or a smart uniform it s the nuts and bolts of delivering the right product to the right place at the right time all the time. This is where your logistics comes in. If you re not managing your logistics effectively you just won t be able to do this. At least, not with the dependability that you need to

8 salesmen aren t salesmen at all they re your customers. If you can get one of your customers to recommend you, you re winning in three ways. #1: You can be sure the customer you ve already got is going to keep buying from you. Why else would they have recommended you? #2: Your new customer has cost you nothing to win no salesman, no incentive, nothing. #3: And the new customer s already well disposed towards before you even start. You haven t got to spend time building up that trust that s so invaluable. the dependability that you need to give your customers confidence to recommend you. In particular, if your business is growing fast, you ve got to be able to keep your logistics operations ahead of your growth curve. If you don t do that, you won t be able to keep your new customers but what s worse, you ll lose your existing customers as well. So you can see that, getting your logistics right is a real selling tool. If you want high-quality and sustainable growth, you can t afford to treat service delivery as an afterthought. Stephen Errey Limited, 4 Chantry Court, CHESTER, CH1 4QN, Great Britain Tel:

9 Principle #3: GET YOUR PROCESSES RIGHT AND SEE YOUR BUSINESS GROW S o far, you ve seen how important it is for you to design your logistics to fit your business. Of course, planning s important but so is execution. This is where getting your processes right comes in. I find that companies with a record of consistent growth are always trying to improve their logistics processes. That s because better processes give them advantages over their competitors in all sorts of ways. They can respond to their improvements in all sorts of areas. Just for example, picking errors have fallen by 24%, the number of damaged consignments has fallen by 25%, and their picking rate has increased by 13%. I m sure you can easily see how these improvements result in sales growth. Satisfied customers are happy to order more; demonstrable improvements like this make it easier to win new business; and improvements in efficiency release

10 ways. They can respond to their customers more quickly, it s easier for them to satisfy their customers needs, and they can save money which can then be ploughed back into more improvements. improvements in efficiency release money to plough back into yet higher quality service. And these aren t empty hopes sales volumes have increased by 25% over the same period of time. I d like to tell you about a real-life example of what I mean. I ve worked with a pharmaceutical company to help them improve their logistics processes. Together, we ve looked at the detail of what they re doing. We ve made lots of small changes to the way they work. In isolation, none of these are particularly significant but added together they ve achieved big So remember, in logistics, growing isn t just about getting your planning right. It s also about continual attention to the detail of how you re doing things. After all, a lot of small steps can get you a long way. Stephen Errey Limited, 4 Chantry Court, CHESTER, CH1 4QN, Great Britain Tel:

11 Principle #4: THINK OUTSIDE YOUR WAREHOUSE I f you re like me, you probably feel phrases such thinking outside the box are overused, and best avoided! But here s one time when they re just the right words to use. It s easy for you to think that logistics just means what s going on in your warehouse. That s what you can see, so that s what you should manage. But this isn t the way growth-oriented companies think. customer s point of view. What they want is the stationery where it s going to be used, in the amounts it s going to be used. A neatly shrink-wrapped pallet on their loading dock means a lot of work for their staff, and delay while everything s processed and delivered round the building. So customer-oriented suppliers have set their logistics up to pick, pack and deliver to their customers desks and by thinking outside the

12 There s one sure way to grow and that s to give your customers what they need. And that means that you can t stop thinking about your logistics at the warehouse door. You need to think about what your customers do with your product when they receive it, so that you can make life as easy as possible for them. Here s an example that you should be familiar with office stationery. It was always usual for one office to be treated as one customer. That meant one picking note and one drop. Simple and straightforward. But think about it from the desks and by thinking outside the warehouse, they ve been able to grow their businesses. And of course, if you think about your customers like that, shouldn t your suppliers treat you in the same way? If you can get your suppliers to work in a way which suits your business, you can pass those benefits down the supply chain and everybody gains. If you re focussed on growth, make sure you re focussed on what s outside your warehouse. And that s not just your customers remember to get your suppliers to think the same way as well. Stephen Errey Limited, 4 Chantry Court, CHESTER, CH1 4QN, Great Britain Tel:

13 Principle #5: WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK? Y our logistics can help you grow but it can also hold you back. I m often contacted by companies who know there s something wrong, and have tried to put it right but nothing s changed. Although every company s got its own particular problems, I ve noticed two things that businesses in this situation have in common. So as well as telling what you can do to grow your business, I thought it would be just as useful to show what you should try and avoid! which of these it is. Secondly, if you haven t got commitment from the people involved, you won t be able to make changes stick. I m sure you ve experienced the rubber band syndrome where you make a change, there s an improvement for a short time, but then as soon as you move on to the next issue everything springs back to its old shape! I ve certainly seen this happen

14 what you should try and avoid! First of all, you won t be able to solve a problem if you don t understand it. And that means having measurements in place that tell you what s happening. As an example, suppose the cost to pick a case has increased. Before you can take action to reduce it again, you need to know the cause. Is it because you re paying your pickers more per hour or has your throughput fallen, so that your labour cost is spread over a smaller number of cases? Obviously, you need to take different actions, depending on I ve certainly seen this happen and suffered from it myself. So over the years I ve developed a method of planning and implementing change that s designed to stop this happening. You ll find it s more time consuming than traditional methods of introducing change. You have to put in a lot of time at the beginning, getting ideas from the people who will make the change, getting agreement on how to move forward, and so on. But in the long run you ll be better off, because the changes you make will have a much better chance of success. Stephen Errey Limited, 4 Chantry Court, CHESTER, CH1 4QN, Great Britain Tel:

15 What Next? O f course, this paper is just an introduction. But I ve found over and over again that really successful companies use logistics as a way of getting ahead of their competitors. All the same, the ideas I ve shown you will only make a difference once they re implemented and that s where the hard work starts. So how can you turn ideas into action and then results? It goes without saying that no two Did you know If you ve found these ideas useful and thought-provoking, did you know that every month, in Stephen s Logistics Letter I give you my thoughts on a topical logistics issue, or tell you about something I ve come across that could help you. Why not subscribe to it now? All you have to do is go to my website

16 It goes without saying that no two opportunities are the same, and so there can t be one set of rules for everyone to follow. But if you want to use logistics to help your company grow, give me a call. I d be delighted to talk, and tell you more about how we can help you use these techniques to give you more customers, more sales, and more profits. you have to do is go to my website stephens-logistics-letter fill in the box and every month you ll get Stephen s Logistics Letter delivered direct to your mailbox. Welcome to my readers circle! Call me on any time or you can me at Hope to talk to you soon! Stephen Errey Limited, 4 Chantry Court, CHESTER, CH1 4QN, Great Britain Tel:

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