When customers know they can count on your company to deliver shipments on time, you’ll increase their satisfaction and build solid, long-term relationships. Here are a few ways to ensure the supply chain stays intact and deliveries are on time.
Go Through Internal Processes
Start by looking at your company’s systems and workflow. Are you dealing with suppliers who send late or damaged packages? Are some of your route areas having recurring issues? Would delivery routing software help you streamline your process? Once you pinpoint any problem areas, set up meetings with your employees and ask them what they need to improve efficiency and customer service. Also, call your suppliers and work out any issues that may be causing snags in the workflow. On the other side of that coin, find which processes are working smoothly and expand on their positive aspects.
Build Good Relationships With Your Suppliers
Keep track of which suppliers are doing the best for your business, and what factors they provide that are helpful. Pricing, overall customer service, on-time delivery, lead time, response time and quality specification adherence are all factors that you should consider. Build and nurture those relationships, and let them know how they benefit your business. If you have suppliers who are not meeting your standards, reach out to them and let them know what you expect from them. Suppliers that continue to perform at subpar levels may need evaluation.
Tell Customers When to Expect Packages
Through a well-managed delivery system, you will have an overall picture of realistic shipping times for the areas to which you deliver. Be sure to let customers know when to expect a shipment. A good strategy here is to add in a little extra time for your company to make the delivery. This built-in cushion will work to your benefit if you run into any unexpected delivery issues. If the delivery arrives earlier than expected, your customer will be pleased you exceeded expectations.
Let Customers Know of Late Delivery
If unforeseen circumstances cause a late delivery, notify the customer as soon as possible. While letting them know a package is late won’t cause it to arrive on time, notifying them is good customer service and will help with reputation management. Your customer will be able to communicate down the supply chain and notify anyone expecting a shipment from them. If late deliveries are more than just occasional, go back and review your process to see where errors can be corrected.
Make Packaging Efficient
When reviewing internal shipment processes, take a look at your packaging. If you keep several sizes of packaging materials in stock, is the packing system causing a slowdown? If workers need to spend time switching back and forth between packing procedures, perhaps creating a more uniform system would help. Consider whether using one or two standard boxes would speed up packing time. Purchasing the same size boxes in bulk may also be more cost effective than keeping smaller quantities of several sizes. The success of this procedure depends, of course, on your product.
Keep Your Workforce Satisfied
A high turnover rate in the workplace will likely contribute to inefficiencies and delays in the delivery process. Training new employees takes time; the trainer must slow down processes to explain them, and the trainee will need to get through the learning curve before reaching peak speed and efficiency. Good communication between managers and employees is important here. Keep the door open to conversation with the workforce, and listen to ideas they have about improving the process. Make sure they have the tools they need to perform at their best. Keeping employees empowered will increase their workplace satisfaction and will keep turnover rates down.
In a typically fast-paced supply chain, on-time delivery is a critical component of good customer service. Investing time in a smooth process will pay off with satisfied employees and loyal, long-term customers.
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