Retail Logistics: Efficiency in Motion

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Retail Logistics: Efficiency in Motion

04/18/2024

No one likes waiting, especially not for an online shopping order. That’s why, in the era of e-commerce, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses working in the retail industry to operate at speed and scale to consistently meet consumer expectations.

One of the primary things retail businesses can do to ensure success is focus on making their retail logistics as efficient as possible. This means ensuring that everyone involved in the supply chain, from the retailers themselves to manufacturers, suppliers, and shipping companies are all working closely together to effectively manage the flow of products throughout the consumer journey.

Not only does successful retail logistics deliver greater customer satisfaction, but ultimately reduces costs for businesses and improves order fulfilment. In turn, all of this enhances your overall brand reputation and increases the likelihood of customer retention.

Whatever is being sold at the end of the chain, from clothing to white goods, furniture to FMCG, well-structured retail logistics ensures it makes that journey as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible. Because of this, many businesses involved in the retail industry invest in advanced technologies such as smart containers and container tracking.

Not only does this give all stakeholders in the retail supply chain end-to-end visibility, but from a consumer perspective, also helps retailers ensure that the right products are delivered on time, in the right quantity, and good condition.

Retail Logistics: Underpinning the Industry

E-commerce has transformed the retail landscape and as a retailer you can no longer rely on only having stock available in store. With more and more customers shopping internationally and expecting their goods to be delivered either the same day or the next day, it’s important to have a strong supply chain in place. This ensures you continue to meet your customers' expectations and avoid losing out to the competition. Retail supply chains make this possible in the following ways:

  • Streamlined supply chain management
    Logistics is part of supply chain management. At every stage of the supply chain, retailers must optimise and streamline processes so that value can be maximised.
  • Strategic planning
    Retailers can ensure faster, more direct delivery by applying the right strategy to product transportation, researching the fastest couriers and routes, and reducing transit times.
  • Innovative technology
    Customers need end-to-end visibility of their goods. Integrating technology like smart containers and warehouse asset tracking systems can save valuable time and money.
Effective Inventory Management is a Key Part of Retail Logistics

As a retailer you often need to balance the costs of holding a significant amount of stock, against operating a leaner inventory, which will be cheaper but could potentially result in lost sales. Successful inventory management, using advanced forecasting and demand planning tools, as well as real-time data on sales and inventory levels is critical in avoiding this.

It is important to prioritise products in your inventory, keeping to the general rule that 80% of profits come from 20% of your stock. You can also look to find ways that ensure any lower cost items can be turned over quickly and hold less stock for higher value products. This means your inventory management process will become more efficient, resulting in happy customers and greater profits.

Unitisation groups individual products into larger units for safer and more efficient transportation and storage. Not only does this help reduce the costs of transportation and warehousing by maximising the use of available space, but there is also a reduction in handling and labour costs. Equally, unitisation can also help reduce the risk of damage to dry cargo or spoiling of perishable produce which could be costly to both you and your customers.

Storage, Material Handling, and Warehousing are Critical Aspects of Retail Logistics

Effective storage maximises the use of available space while ensuring that products are easy to access when needed. Furthermore, having good material handling processes reduces the risk of damage to products while in storage and improves your overall efficiency during operations.

Similarly, warehousing is of fundamental importance to your retail logistics because it enables products to be kept in optimum condition before final delivery or during pauses in the transportation process.

As such, it’s important to invest in advanced technologies and processes, such as inventory management software, automated storage and retrieval systems, and RFID tracking systems, to ensure that your storage, material handling, and warehousing operations are managed as efficiently as possible.

Top Tips to Improve Your Retail Logistics

There are several areas that businesses can target to improve their retail logistics in an impactful way. These include:

Using predictive analytics

Predictive analytics can help you anticipate fluctuations in supply and demand, consumer trends, and possible risks. By analysing historical data, you can generate insights that can help better inform sales forecasts.

Adopt sustainable practices for last mile delivery and reverse logistics

Making logistics lean and green is a major challenge for businesses. Implementing environmentally sound processes in your last mile strategy and recycling initiatives can you help to achieve this.

Outsource

In some cases, it may be helpful to work with logistics experts, who can handle this specific area of your retail supply chain for you. Not only can you rest assured that your retail logistics are all in hand, but you’ll also have more time to focus on driving revenue and building growth.

Ask MSC for Advice on Your Retail Logistics

At MSC, we understand that managing retail logistics effectively can be daunting. As such, we’ve developed a growing number of value-added logistics solutions, to help you find your perfect fit. These include:

  • Shipping from all major retail producing regions.
  • Providing dedicated retail solutions, like Garment-on-Hanger containers.
  • Our extensive warehousing and intermodal network.
  • Utilising smart containers to track your retail shipments.

We also provide consultation and advice on all aspects of international container shipping and can help customers with our range of shipping and logistics services. Contact us today to find out more.

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