Supply chain logistics is a vital part of any business. Warehousing, inventory, transport, information, security; management of all these factors make it hard enough to deal with during one of the busiest periods of the year, but imagine having to do all of this with an understaffed team!
The efficient flow and storage of all your office goods depend on these factors. As more and more staff take leave, the more responsibility lies with the individuals that remain.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a supply chain logistician to make ends meet (literally). With a little bit of know-how and patience, you can keep your office flowing smoothly by going over the following below.
Firstly though, let’s get to know about office logistics and look at things from an overall business perspective. There are four different kinds of logistics that make up the broader term. These are Procurement, Production, Distribution, and Disposal, and your office will definitely be dealing with at least one of these if not all. Procurement involves the careful selection of suppliers and negotiation of contracts for delivery of goods. Production requires a lot of planning in regard to the layout, control, and production itself of the goods/service throughout the supply chain. Distribution simple means delivering the product to your customers, here it is transportation and storage that count the most. Disposal refers to the reuse and recycling of all materials.
No matter how complicated your office logistics are, one of the simplest things to do when under the pump is to hire a bit of outside help. This is called 3PL, third-party logistics, when you solicit an individual that is external to your office to offer their services in either of the factors mentioned above. For instance, if you’re having trouble keeping track of stock and things are going missing, consider hiring someone to warehouse your office supplies offsite. This can be also done for records and files. Before the busy period, go over the mistakes you may have made during prior years and note what has been going well so far. 3PL’s have the skills to organise and interpret massive amounts of data into measurements that explain the past and formulate solutions for the future of your office. When the holidays start to approach, be proactive in maintaining communication with your 3PL. This way you can offset any ensuing chaos and deal with last minute issues more efficiently. Forecast info to everyone taking part in your success and make sure to keep everyone in the loop. Of course with any plan A should come a plan B, so be flexible in your decision making and know when to scrap a plan when things start getting too skewed.
If you don’t well so comfortable handing over things to an outsider, it may be wise to consider hiring the services of a logistics consulting service. These guys can pinpoint exactly where along your supply-chain may need improving. From the beginning stages of securing goods, right up to customer delivery, professionals in this field can recommend the latest technologies to use and the best ways to apply them. Over the past few decades, a lack of tracking software and communications equipment meant that knowing were stock was at all times was a difficult task. Fortunately, the gap is closing with advancements in links pertaining to information management and databases. The internet, computer automation, and tech-savvy university graduates all make that much easier to put in place. Particular to the office environment are inventory management, order processing, and materials handling. Project management requires its own set of considerations. Budget, time, and scope are the key aspects of project management that necessitate a need for planned usage of resources to ensure the project successfully reaches its end result. Any business effort will seem effortless with a bit of guidance.
If all else fails, plan for the holiday surge well beforehand and set deadlines earlier. Moving deadlines forward a couple of days will reduce much of the last minute stress related to getting things moving along the supply-chain, and give your remaining employees some peace of mind. Giving yourself some breathing space allows for a bit of contingency built into the processing time between staff and the servicing of customers.
Try to look at this time of year as a challenge and opportunity. Mitigate any potential mistakes by using the points mentioned above and help keep the holiday cheer present in your office!