Logistical challenges are a major roadblock to new businesses, especially if yours has not really had a chance to plan out its own expansion yet. Whether you are in high demand overseas or struggling to supply your own business with the stock you need, having a good grip on your logistical systems is a must.
But how can you deal with short-term and long-term logistical challenges when you do not even have a fully established footprint on the market yet? There are a few ways, and thankfully, most of them are incredibly convenient for brand new entrepreneurs who are feeling overwhelmed or lost.
Have An Objective
Before you do anything, it is important to figure out what your objectives actually are. You can’t be the best at everything, but you can aim to prioritize certain things over others, and those priorities can make up for logistical issues or shortfalls.
For example, your business might struggle to ship products to customers quickly. However, you could counteract this by trying to reduce shipping costs, meaning that they pay less for the shipping – and incentivizing them to use you anyway, even if the shipping is still slow.
Trying to focus on every part of your logistics at once will only make it harder to point out any specific problem areas or strengths, so it is a good idea to slow down and evaluate your objectives. You need to know the goal before you can begin to work towards it.
Do not be afraid to rethink your company’s objective if something goes wrong or does not work, either. You can always adjust your focus to something else and try targeting that instead, rather than sticking to an idea that is not working until your company begins to suffer.
At its core, logistics is about knowing where things are and where they are going. If you are not keeping in-depth records, then you run the risk of having no idea where particular products are, whether they have reached their destinations or even your current stock level.
This does not just go for stock, either. Knowing the costs involved in running your business’ logistics can help you avoid major pitfalls that might begin to build if you do something wrong. You can’t reduce your spending if you are not sure where your money is being spent.
The more you know about your business’ logistical network, the better. However, it is also a good idea to record information about things that aren’t part of your network: suppliers that work with competitors, potential companies that you could approach, or the demand of products similar to your own.
Information is a powerful thing, and using it correctly can give you an advantage against other companies in your niche. If you are not keeping track of what is going on in the market, then you can’t tell if your business is actually performing well enough to keep itself afloat until it is too late.
Be sure to back up records on a regular basis and to set up new ways of recording important data if your company expands. Even the small things can be useful if you notice an error in your finances or some stock that seems to have gone missing.
Use Third-Party Sources
Sourcing new materials or stock is not easy, and there can be times when you are struggling to get hold of the products or equipment that you need. For example, if you are trying to start a business in the medical sector, then tracking down a reliable source of medical equipment is vital to your success.
While you can go to individual dealers or sellers to try and get their products wholesale, you could also go through other companies that will handle those steps for you. They can also set up the supply chains to help keep your businesses stocked with products, ensuring that you never run out of goods.
This might sound like a small change, but it can have a huge impact on your business’s ability to succeed. Not only does it let you keep up with periods of high demand, but it stops you from relying on a single source that could eventually go broke or struggle to meet your own business needs.
Sourcing the items that you need is not easy, but you can skip the hard part and go straight to getting somebody else to do it for you. It just takes a little money and some extra planning to ensure that you are setting everything up correctly.
Use Third-Party Logistics
There is also the option of turning your logistics over to a third party instead. Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) are a good choice if you are more focused on growing a business since it takes a lot of the stress off your shoulders and allows you to set aside your time for more business matters instead.
3PLs are a good way to see instant improvements in your logistical systems, all without having to do much additional planning yourself. While it can be costly to get the best service, this is still cheaper than trying to manage your own logistics and failing, something that can kill even the most prepared company.
Many 3PL groups are fairly affordable, and you can always tailor the exact service that you get to better suit your budget. If you have just started a business, then smaller-scale help may be what you currently need, but you can quickly begin to ramp up the assistance you get as you continue to grow the company’s reach.
Remember that third-party logistics are also well-established and might be able to help you ship into areas that you would not otherwise. This means that even established or stable companies can benefit from having a 3PL company expand its reach into another state or country.
Always remember that your company is not an isolated part of the market. Everything you do ties back to multiple other groups, and collaborating with a company that can cover for your weaknesses is always an option. If you can’t handle logistics, then you should consider working with a company that can and put your effort into improving your strengths instead.