When starting a new business large or small, business logistics are a key factor in ensuring smooth sailing for your operation. The term ‘logistics’ originated from 1950’s military jargon, where the intricacies of sending and receiving supplies to and from troops became too complex, and businesses had to cope with the increased outflux, influx, and storage of goods or they would fall by the wayside. Since then, logistics management has become an artform within supply chain management and doubles as a core component of any functional business venture.

Not sure where to begin with the logistics of it all? Never fear! As we have 5 logistic management tips and tricks that you could do today to improve your processes’ output tomorrow.

1.Planning from start to finish

The first step of any business activity is to begin with a planning session. Get out the whiteboard and pens! It's back to the drawing board. Your planning process should consider everything from product/service procurement to storage management and facilities, and even delivery of products and services to their final destinations; no matter how far away that might be.

After this is established, you have to factor in the critical variables that are individually determined by your business: time, transportation systems and budget with relative costs. Finally, your ultimate goal should be to accomplish the most activity in the most efficient amount of time possible. However, even the most seasoned logistics manager needs to be able to plan for the unexpected problems or limitations that may disrupt your master plan.

2. Measurement & improvisation

Successful logistics management must also entail the ability to improvise on a moment’s notice and to account for unforeseen circumstances. This includes integrating key measurement, analysis, and feedback systems to monitor existing processes, to easily compare when testing or deploying new processes.

Moreover, you should have secondary processes in place just in case the current methods falter. Logistics may require some improvisation, and thinking outside the box (no pun intended) to complete the job at hand. For example, imagine your transportation is via truck, but the truck company cannot dispatch a truck due to an internal error. Do you have a secondary process in place? A backup? Or does a member of your team have a suggestion that could possibly save the day? Always be prepared for the worst case scenario.

3. Effective & efficient transportation

In order to maintain the movement of exchanging goods and services for your business, having an efficient transportation in place is very important. Whether you are importing spices from India or lumber from a local vendor down the street, determining the best delivery mode of transport and route are necessary steps.

A logistics focused firm should identify the shortest and safest transportation route to save money and time, but also consider going with a mid-range to premium service as to ensure quality and punctuality of deliveries. Along with this, cost-effective packing to ensure safe travel should be considered, whilst being optimised to occupy as little volume as possible.

4. Valuable relationships

Not only do you want to make sure you have a professional team of logistics specialists that can communicate and work together productively, you also want to secure some external contacts that are equally as valuable to your operation. Constantly improving your communication and interpersonal skills are crucial for maintaining and building relationships, which in turn helps to retain client satisfaction. At the same time, you should support your internal staff with training, benefits, and reward schemes to keep them updated on industry trends as well as happy to come to work. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work.

5.Warehouse management

Lastly, effective logistics start in your very own warehouse or storage space. It may seem obvious, but keeping an organised and easily navigable space for your inventory is a must for efficient operations. You should also aim to maximise the space through vertical storage columns or a movable shelving system complete with wheels for easy transportation. You should consider using innovative software to sequence and take account of all products, and your staff should be trained to an expert level of how to manage and operate this. All in all, treat your warehouse like an organized filing cabinet - everything should have a place, and nothing can get lost!

While starting a new business venture can be stressful, managing logistics of your products and processes doesn’t have to be if you follow these guidelines.