Black Friday, Christmas and Easter. These are three periods of the year when logistics companies are busier than usual and the number of orders could grow two- or even threefold. E-traders try to be prepared for such seasonal peaks but it helps a lot if they can count on the support of their customers. Of course it isn’t about actual help with deliveries but rather about good communication with the operator. What can be done to avoid frustrations, claims and disappointments? Here are 5 simple tips that will guarantee flawless cooperation:
1. Presentation of expectations
Before choosing the provider and signing the contract, it is essential to state one's needs and expectations concerning the services. The orderer doesn’t have to know every element of the supply chain but it is important to let the service provider know the historical data of deliveries as the grounds for forecasting the upcoming sales. Thanks to this, the selected partner will be aware of the seasonal ups and downs and also also of the specifics of the goods and the consignees. It may sound obvious yet not everyone remembers about passing on such information before commencing cooperation.
2. Continuous communication
If we finalize a transaction as part of any framework cooperation agreement, we expect it to run on its own. Yet, it can happen only if we clearly state our needs when we sign the agreement and if something goes different, we communicate it in time to our logistics operator. For example, if orders in the Christmas season are more overwhelming than expected, we must inform the operator about it in time. “A surge in the quantity of pallets by 30% a day may be acceptable for a well-organized logistics business with a stable portfolio of customers.” - explains Peter Erdei, Domestic Road Network Manager in Raben Trans European Hungary Kft. “But if the extra is 100-200%, it could be troublesome operationally.” Hence continuous communication between the parties is essential to successful cooperation.
3. It is not only about the numbers
Not only the quantity of pallets matters but their size and weight are also important. It was never good to overstress the axle weight of trucks but starting from 2018, weight scaling stations started to operate so fines cannot be avoided in case of such incidents. That's why we shouldn’t put the provider at such a risk. Particularly in groupage transport we must avoid putting more weight on pallets than planned. Road safety is definitely more important than avoiding fines so it is essential to comply with weight limitations.
4. Inform in time
How to avoid stress and angry phone calls asking about shipments? It is enough that we inform customers in time that the standard lead time has been extended due to increased volumes before Christmas, for instance. Naturally it is not the best advertisement to post on our our website that delivery would take seven days instead of two but it pays off in the long run because we earn customers’ trust. We should discuss this with the logistics service provider and ask for an honest approach.
5. What are the responsibilities of a logistics operator?
It is the job of the operator to minimise the seasonal effect. Many industries have their peak season at the end of the year; there are some businesses where spring or summer is the busiest. Such a large logistics operator as Raben Group is easily able to adjust operations to seasonal peaks of various sectors and it is possible thanks to the support of the customers and the competently balanced portfolio.
Co-author of the article is HVG BrandLab.