21 July 2016

Is poor communication driving up your logistics costs?

5 warning signs of poor communication

In any business with external operations, business communication plays a crucial role. Not only can poor business communication have an immediate effect on accidental risk and company efficiency, but it can also have a major impact on profit margins, brand representation and employee satisfaction.

Where logistics is concerned, maintaining communication and connectivity between external operations is even more important, particularly in making sure every aspect of the business is accountable and running with maximum efficiency. In many cases, it has been found that a lack of internal communication can actually drive up logistics costs.

When managing logistics it is, therefore, crucial to evaluate communications systems on a regular basis to discern any areas for improvement, and as new technology continues to facilitate better connectivity as well, these systems also need to be under constant review to ensure you are retaining a competitive advantage. For many businesses, however, do not have the time or resources to dedicate to reviewing current processes and implementing new ones and that’s where a customs brokerage service can help.

In this blog, we have outlined five common warning signs of poor communication and detailed how they can affect your logistics network and even your business too. We’ve also provided you with our top tips on how to solve them.

Deadlines are being missed

Many industries such as healthcare, maintenance and retail, rely on strict deadlines to satisfy their customers. Without proper communication between external forces, logistics can be ineffective damaging and inefficient.

Missing a delivery date or failing to order a part on time can have numerous repercussions, beyond the immediate situation. Missing a deadline reflects poorly on brand image and can have a wide reaching financial cost, including incursions caused by immobile staff, additional transport and potentially even loss of clients.

We suggest: Advances in technology and easy access to wireless devices mean businesses should now be anticipating when a deadline might be missed and putting things in place to help circumvent these issues. To allow a delay to happen without any foresight or pre-planning is inexcusable in today’s modern world. At Carousel our in-house designers create specialised systems to facilitate easier communication across all areas of the business. Regular shipment updates and schedules can be accessed throughout the company, meaning that any delays are anticipated and planned for.

You notice an increase in mistakes

Though business procedure must allow a certain degree of leeway to compensate for potential errors or delays, it is important to evaluate the frequency and nature of these situations, particularly as the financial losses can be substantial.

There are a number of discrepancies such as; incorrectly delivered stock, incorrect data and documents or negative customer reviews, that should all serve as red flags of poor communication. Identifying the cause of this and finding a solution can be difficult but can be extremely beneficial to your business.

We suggest: Create an in depth, comprehensive list of any problems as they arise and address them immediately. By compiling this information and sharing it with people across the business, you will be better able to action a comprehensive plan of improvement, analyse trends, make contingency plans for the future and ensure that the situation is resolved.

Staff are unhappy

In field service operations, staff satisfaction is incredibly important. Often external agents will act as the face of your business to customers so it is important to make sure that staff are representative of the image and impression you wish to display of your brand, and are informed and able to perform their tasks with efficiency.

Conversely, having disempowered or uninformed staff will not only reflect in a less effective service but will also impact on overall customer satisfaction. Warning signs of unhappy staff could be anything from negative customer reviews, specifically referencing attitude or staff, poor staff retention and slow service. In many client-facing businesses, which rely on logistics to manage delivery, it is vital to manage staff effectively to ensure excellent service and process efficiency is implemented at all times.

We suggest: Instead of relying on paper trails and on-site communication in field service operations, consider using wireless devices to empower staff to make decisions and place orders on the go. Not only will this improve overall efficiency of operations but will also encourage staff to make their own decisions and provide a more satisfying experience for customers. In order to combat this new responsibility it is important to make sure that employees receive in depth training and interactions within the business so they are able to do their job and represent the company to the best of their ability.

You first about issues through customer feedback

Customer feedback is one of the most important repeating influences on business success. In modern business there is an emphasis on providing lightning fast, flexible service across the board. Failure to deliver on customer promises or providing an unsatisfactory experience is much more likely to result in a negative review or loss of clients.

There are plenty of opportunities to flag up sources of potential upset for customers and intercede before it gets to the point where the customer feels upset enough to write a negative review or look to a competitor. Failure to hear about these potential situations or notifying the customer before they become a bigger problem is largely a result of poor communication and poor field service management.

We suggest: Creating an environment and platform for external operations to feedback to others is just as important as maintaining a strong external network in this regard. Having a system for delivery drivers to report transport delays or recognising points of inefficiency in logistics services is possible through effective field service management and systems of external networking.

Inconsistent views on operational goals and objectives

Where business exists outside of the main base of operation it is important to make sure that all activities and processes are concurrent with the central business expectations. If employees are acting under contrasting or incorrect impressions of the company as a whole, this will likely reflect in their practice and success.

Correlation between departments and teams is crucial to making sure that businesses are united under common goals, rather than pulling the company in different directions and holding it to separate standards.

This can sometimes be difficult for larger businesses to manage, particularly when operations exceed beyond a single location, but is especially important to manage effectively.

We suggest: Create a single business platform across all departments of the business to ensure that important information gets delivered to those who need it. Being able to share and access performance metrics, data and customer feedback across locations means that all departments are operating towards shared objectives in an effective manner.

Poor business communication is a massive problem for businesses and one which can cause notable financial, customer service and brand loss.

To find out more about our technology-enabled approach to logistics, take a look through the rest of our site – starting with our strength in technology. Alternatively contact the Carousel team to find out how we can help you with your business communication on 01795 413 602 or fill in our quick form and we’ll call you.