Successful B2B Shipping Basics
One of the most challenging aspects of business that manufacturers and distributors face is B2B shipping. The following are strategies for a proven approach to make some changes and streamline your B2B shipping models.
B2B Shipping Basics
Make a Plan
Supply chain planning (SCP) is like creating a blueprint for your business. Amazon, who was once a stranger in the market, is now one of the most efficient and effective supply chain management companies in the world. Every item ordered is measured and given its own set of data and metrics. A good plan is always adaptable and should be able to evolve with the marketplace. Having no plan at all is like building a house from scratch without blueprints; it's probably not going to stand the test of time.
“Too often the focus is on tasks, rather than on the people who do the tasks,” - Bill Flint, President of Flint Strategic Partners, a Midwest-based full-service business consulting firm, specializing in helping manufacturers improve their results. Good communication is the foundation to any B2B relationship, and in B2B shipping, it is an essential part of running a fast and cost effective process. Without the proper channels and open lines, creating a supply chain plan and executing it is virtually impossible. The more successful a manufacturer or distributor is, the higher the cost of lack of communication. According to one Harvard study, "Communication costs will have a relatively larger effect on the expected price for products with a higher variance of demand." Therefore, it's important to streamline communication processes whenever possible.
In order to measure success, you need the proper tools. One of the only ways to achieve an efficient and effective B2B shipping strategy is by collaboration. Powering a connected commerce ecosystem means bringing together sales channels and integrating data, transactions, and shipping elements. The idea is to connect your offline and online experiences into one central place to drive better business outcomes and more cost effective shipping. An eCommerce platform built for B2B, for instance, can allow customers and sales reps to communicate through an online experience tailored to the way they want to interact, and customers can still expect orders to arrive on time whether they’re placed online or in person with a sales rep. Processes tend to run much smoother with this model of complete visibility.
Assess and Test
Once you have the proper tools in place to collect data, you need to know how to consolidate it, measure it, and use it to streamline your shipping processes. Like a lot of B2B organizations, data tends to be spread out through various channels. In order to understand how your supply chain is performing, it's important for manufacturers and distributors to measure everything. Amazon is known for holding their supply chain partners to measurable standards, through extensive auditing processes. Continual assessment and evaluation of your metrics will ensure you are staying on the right track. With proper analytics in place, you can have complete visibility on what is trending, scorecards, and even cost-benefit modeling. Applying these types of methods to your shipping processes will lead to better, faster, and more strategic decision-making, and it will improve your competitive edge. Efficiency and effectiveness can only be obtained through the proper planning, communication, tools, and analytics. It’s all about staying ahead of the game.