It’s easy to underestimate the importance of an efficient distribution process until it dawns on you that 13% of your customers will ditch you for good if you make a late delivery. It’s the reason the most successful businesses never compromise when it comes to streamlining their distribution channel.
The good news is that any business can strengthen its distribution strategy and start to meet its clients’ expectations. But where do you start? This blog outlines six actionable tips for an exceptional distribution process.
1. Maintain an Organized Warehouse
Few things can hamper business efficiency the way a messy, disorganized warehouse does. It makes it difficult for your warehouse staff to access products and packages quickly. The result is a slow distribution process.
Take the time to go through your warehouse carefully. Find out whether its floor plan is well-thought-out, so employees have no problem navigating it smoothly. Is the space superbly organized so products are easy to reach and people can move around without getting in each other’s way?
In the average warehouse, employees are always processing different orders simultaneously. For this reason, they need to have enough space, so no one steps on another person’s toes. A large warehouse is always a huge plus to ensure everyone has plenty of space to get things done swiftly.
Adopt good warehouse labeling practices to keep things well organized. The goal should be to have a warehouse layout that makes sense to your staff so they can easily find what they need without needing to go through spreadsheets.
2. Prioritize Your Fast-Moving Products
As you organize your warehouse, consider your priorities. Each element of your warehouse’s layout needs to favor the fastest-moving items. Given that these items won’t be sitting on the shelf for long, it’s best to keep them where your staff can easily retrieve them.
If your employees have to keep going to the back of your warehouse to retrieve an item, you’re slowing down your distribution process. These items need to be kept near the front of the warehouse and low to the ground, where it’s easy to pick them up and load them onto a waiting truck.
3. Automate Your Order Management Process
Despite the fact that process automation is both affordable and widely available, an astounding 84 percent of small businesses still rely on manual processes on a daily basis. This old-school way of doing things can negatively impact your distribution process.
If you still process your customer orders manually, you open up your process to errors. This leads to unsatisfied customers. In addition, processing your orders by hand is a time-consuming affair.
The simplest solution to these problems is to automate your distribution system. Find and implement reputable ERP software to bring your distribution process into the 21st century.
With ERP software, orders get posted straight into your system. The data then seamlessly flows to your warehouse for picking. The data also goes to despatch for packing, as well as to the delivery and accounts departments for billing.
Once you automate your process, you immediately free up the resources that were previously committed to repetitive tasks. Your productivity goes up, and you also get to increase sales.
4. Simplify Your Order Fulfillment System
You can also increase efficiency by keeping order processing within your distribution center as simple as possible. Take a close look at your current process and take note of any unnecessary steps. Remove these steps right away, so you only have what’s absolutely necessary.
Reducing the number of steps in your order fulfillment process helps make your distribution strategy less hectic. It frees up time that you can use for other valuable purposes, such as strengthening your customer relationships.
5. Prepare for Seasonal Demand Shifts
As a wholesale distributor, it’s very likely that you will experience low and high seasons. During these seasons, demand for your stocked inventory decreases, increases, or entirely changes direction. It’s essential to stay on top of these trends so that you can stock your warehouse efficiently.
Always know what products you need and exactly when you need them. This way, you don’t have to rush to order materials when demand skyrockets or waste space on a particular item that’s slow-selling.
When you’re constantly aware of your customer demand shifting, it becomes easy to keep your clients happy.
6. Get the Right Partners in Your Supply Chain
As a business, you also rely on others to provide you with the products you need to meet your customers’ needs. It’s critical that you choose your suppliers carefully as they’ll play a role in whether you can distribute goods to your clients efficiently.
Take the time to vet your suppliers before signing contracts with them. Find out whether your suppliers have the capacity to provide you with the items you need and in the quantities you need them. More importantly, find out whether the supplier can deliver the products within the time frame you need them.
If you are relying on an international wholesale distributor to deliver products to you, view here for more information on how to choose the right one for your business.
Take Control of Your Distribution Process
An efficient product distribution process is a great component of business success. It can keep your customers satisfied and boost their loyalty to your brand. Thankfully, there are many simple changes you can start to implement today that’ll make a huge difference in your distribution strategy.
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