How to improve the logistics of product transportation
Product transportation and logistics is an ongoing challenge for small and large businesses. Faced with changes in legislation and transportation standards, it can be an uphill battle to be compliant, let alone set an example. If you’re looking to sharpen your operation and improve the flow of your business functionality, let’s take a look at current threats and ways to improve the logistics of product transportation.
Ensure you are compliant
We can’t discuss the logistics of product transportation without remarking on the recent Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws introduced in Australia. The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and Regulations commenced in 2014 across Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. This is in spite of the fatality rate in the road transport industry is over eight times higher than all other industries. In the 12 months, 212 people died in crashes involving heavy vehicles and 1,600 people were hospitalised from crashes involving heavy vehicles. In response, all transportation vehicles must comply with weight restrictions which can be achieved by using a truck scale. You should also ensure that your insurance is covering you for the correct items, and your drivers are operating legally and to your business’ standards.
Plan, plan and plan
Planning should be a chief concern of every business, but it’s never more true for those operating in the logistics space. Planning the logistics of your transportation responsibilities encompasses optimising your routes, streamlining your shipping periods and planning for peak seasons and new markets. While the day to day operations are important to plan, so too are the contingency plans that may or may not need to be executed. This includes planning for products that don’t arrive or arrive damaged, unavailability of transport, and internal issues that cause a bottleneck. Another thing to remember is just because you have the plans, does not mean they are known to your greater team. Planning sessions should be a group activity, with the insights and plans shared among your greater team.
Automate where possible
Some jobs are too important in the hands of human error, and some jobs are too insignificant to dedicate an employee resource. Automation has been shaping thousands of product transportation business, with supply chain automation one of the biggest growth areas in AI. Imagine the time you would save with technology that can receive, pack and ship out your products. Or what about technology that tracks drivers and gives customers real-time delivering updates, reducing your customer service function. Automation applies bigger picture thinking and frees up time and resources in areas that shouldn’t require either.
If you’re a warehouse manager then you likely understand the quirks and rhythms of your warehouse and find it works for your needs. The problem is that many others work within your warehouse, and procedures and processes might not be as efficient as you believe them to be. Does your warehouse have clear signage, fully functioning refrigeration, safe lighting and logical flow? If you answered no to even one of those items, it could be time to review your warehouse and see what can be changed to improve the logistics of product transportation. If you expect your drivers to work and deliver to a strict code, make it as easy as possible for them with the best warehouse management.
It could be legislation changes that are making you improve your logistics, or it could even be feedback from your team or customers that has brought about the change. Like any business, there is never a finish line, and there are always tweaks and trials to be administered to get the best possible outcome. Address these key areas and see what sort of efficiency spike you get.