From ad-hoc employee scheduling to inefficient inventory tracking, seemingly small logistical mistakes can add up to frustrated customers, unhappy employees and expensive errors.
Even shipping a package can turn into a nightmare as increasing fulfillment complexity, inventory imbalance and demand fluctuations impact your sending/receiving capabilities.
Add an international shipment to the mix (and international customs/tariff requirements), and you've got yourself a perfect logistical storm.
Here’s the good news: you don’t need to spend a fortune to solve these problems. These are four of the most common logistics management issues facing small businesses, and four of the easiest fixes:
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Whether you’re managing a team of five or 25 people, knowing who works when is essential for keeping the lights on and the customers happy. Improve profitability and reduce costs with Mitrefinch Employee Scheduling Software from Advance Systems Inc.
The software’s innovative pay rates, skills and availability metrics help you create the most cost-effective schedule for your business. Generate schedules in just a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually.
Worried about exceeding an overtime budget or managing employee absences and time off The Mitrefinch Employee Scheduling system gets the job done for you.
Managing a remote workforce? Mitrefinch to the rescue again. Employees can track their time and attendance from their computer or mobile phone. Goodbye scheduling headaches, hello productivity.
Can your point-of-sale (POS) system keep up with your sales team? For brick-and-mortar retailers, accurate inventory tracking is vital to a successful business.
Wasp Barcode simplifies tracking by letting you know instantly whether a specific item is available in the size, color and cut your customer needs.
The system sends automatic alerts when inventory runs low and can manage multiple tax systems, a huge bonus for businesses with an international customer base.
Track inventory and customer purchases across multiple stores. A bonus for Wasp Barcode users: the one-hour webinar training (and fantastic customer service support) makes it easy to get your new inventory system up and running.
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Smarter Time Tracking
I’ve written before about why time tracking can be such a challenge for small businesses, and these lessons are certainly worth repeating again. Smart time tracking is about more than just managing your employee’s billable hours for clients.
Time tracking can also help boost your personal productivity. Many of us fall victim to the 80/20 rule.
We waste so much time on the $10/hour tasks (like sorting through customs forms for an international shipment, a task anyone at your business could do) that we fail to accomplish the $1,000/hour tasks that only we can do, like following up in a timely fashion with a potential client.
Worse, we're so stuck in the day-to-day logistics of running our business that we can't even see these missed opportunities. (Confession: I've made this mistake too.)
That's why time tracking apps like Toggl are so invaluable. They bring greater awareness to how we spend our time each day. The result: smarter delegation of the $10/hour tasks and more focused time on the $1,000/hour jobs.
Shipping Cost Estimates
Sure, we’d all love to offer our customers free shipping, but for some large bulk orders or overnight deliveries, free shipping simply is not an affordable option. In other cases, ground shipping may actually get an item to your customer faster than overnight shipping.
Mark Solomon wrote for DC Velocity that since overnight delivery is only guaranteed to 45 percent of all ZIP codes, ground delivery may actually be the faster (and more cost effective) option.
From a planning perspective, it pays to do a bit of research and price out shipping options. And never assume that overnight delivery means your customer will have the package in hand by 10 am the next morning, unless you've got written confirmation from your shipper.
There's nothing fun about small business logistics management. Don't waste any more time and sanity trying to manage employee schedules, inventory, or time tracking the old fashioned way. Free and low-cost digital solutions abound.