Integrated eCommerce platforms make ‘best practice systems’ accessible to smaller eCommerce businesses. But are you turning the available data into actionable insights? This might include analysing the true cost of delivery. Or the impact of holding excess inventory on margins.
Linking your systems with suppliers and delivery partners can also make things easier to manage.
For example, Australia Post’s track and trace web service can give you access to every delivery event, allowing you to proactively manage customer communications and reduce inbound customer enquiries.
4. Warehouse optimisation
Within your warehouse operations, are there ways you could improve stock visibility, or increase the efficiency of your pick and despatch process? A few small changes to your sorting processes, for example, can make a big difference to how your parcels are delivered.
If you have multiple pick-ups in a day, group them by state. If one truck just picks up WA-bound parcels, they don’t need to be re-sorted en route. Local metro deliveries can be picked up later, and meet your next-day delivery promise.
Think about what warehousing capability you will need in the future. Understanding where you have confidence and expertise in house will help with scaling your business without adding unnecessary time and effort to your business.
Your Australia Post account manager can help you work out ways to optimise this process. This can enable you to maintain eCommerce momentum, extend growth presented by new opportunities and be better prepared for the next peak period.
5. Customer experience
Optimising customer experience is all about providing choice. Rather than rushing to copy the services your competitors offer, consider what your customers truly value – and what they will pay for. You may find only a very small percentage really need same-day shipping, but a choice of collection points can make things easier for them.
Paint Plot’s customers wanted more visibility over their delivery. Rebecca says, “we quickly worked to change our supply chain to ensure our customers knew exactly where their packages were at any given time, and to make sure we could communicate with them as effectively as possible.”
Post-peak review checklist
By covering these five potential areas for improvement through your own post-peak review, you’ll see potential vulnerabilities in your supply chain as well as opportunities to take positive steps in 2021.
This checklist can guide you through the process of running your own review.
- What was peak like for your business this year?
- What proportion of revenue does it represent in terms of your annual business performance?
- What were the top three challenges you faced with peak this year, such as:
- Customer satisfaction
- Stock levels
- Sales revenue
- Warehousing and logistics
- Did your marketing strategy work this year? Why/ why not?
- What would you do differently next year?
- Given the extra volumes, did you manage to fulfil your customer promises?
- How will you measure success this year?
- How did your customer service team manage over this period?
- What impact did your supplier service levels have on your business?
- How did your supply chain cope with the peak periods this year?
- Where were the bottlenecks? (For example, stock availability, carrier performance, systems)
- What worked/ didn’t work with your logistics plans? For example:
- Processes and systems
- Stock/ inventory management
- Are you collaborating with suppliers in planning for the next peak?
Future Growth and Scaling
- Will your current warehouse support growth and peak in 2021? What’s Plan B (consider a 3PL, expansion, or pop up sites)?
- Do you have the right mix of delivery services to meet customer expectations?
- What impact will successful customer acquisition strategies have on your supply chain?
- What would your business need to change to support the next five years of growth – including warehouses, freight, technology, stock plans, pricing and marketing?
- Are you prepared for supply chain risk events such as bushfires, cyber-attacks or a global pandemic?
Once you have the answers to these questions, focus on those five core improvement areas. Prioritise initiatives you have the skills and expertise to manage – or look for advice from trusted partners, including Australia Post. Your local channel business partner or account manager can help you find new ways to optimise your supply chain in 2021.
Download your Business Roadmap workbook, as well as our Supply Chain Resilience white paper we produced with Deloitte, for a broader planning framework and other important factors to consider when assessing your supply chains.