Is your business challenged by the day-to-day difficulties of business to business logistics? If so, you are not alone. Business to business or “B2B” logistics planning is very distinct from the business-to-consumer or “B2C” landscape that many companies have a greater level of familiarity with. The “B2B” arena of business logistics management comes with all the challenges of “B2C” endeavors combined with several that are fundamentally different.
To really appreciate the unique characteristics of B2B business logistics management, you have to take a close look at the scope of B2B versus that of B2C. When you are dealing with consumers, logistics transactions build the basis of your brand with individuals and families. For example, a customer may have heard about you and your great products, but they will not “believe” in your brand unless the logistics experiences surrounding their purchases are positive.
In a certain sense, this is rather unfair to your enterprise, since it creates a situation where the consumer holds you responsible for the actions or inactions of a third-party logistics provider. However, since most customers are not especially savvy about matters of logistics, this is simply the way most people conceive of their relationships with businesses. “You” are considered just as responsible for the delivery aspect of the sale as “you” are for the functionality of the product.
There are two salient takeaways from this uncomplicated view that customers tend to have:
- You can receive “kudos” or scorn on the basis of your carrier’s level of performance;
- If things do go sour, only one person or a handful of potential customers are affected.
Good “B2C” logistics will build your brand one customer at a time. This requires slow and steady work over a long period, but it will pay off. Bad B2C logistics can cost you a customer, with the attendant losses over time, but B2C logistics are rarely responsible for losing hundreds or thousands of customers -- as long as you maintain effective quality control over them. Rather, B2C logistics optimization is usually undertaken in view of the millions of dollars that your business can save on a yearly or even a quarterly basis when you invest in logistics success.
On the other hand, “B2B” logistics is a bit different. Although there is some margin for error, the stakes are very high. Enterprise-level partners will not hesitate to amend their contracts with you if you do not meet their expectations. You will be expected to maintain a measurably excellent level of service. This encompasses such things as minimizing exceptions, ensuring optimal package routing, and so forth. Each of your individual transactions in a B2B relationship is absolutely crucial, as each one will bear on the feasibility of your continuing partnership and whether it can be maintained to your advantage.
Whether you are going to be relying on a network of carriers to help you with your B2B, or your own business is involved in the direct provision of logistics services, you would do well to ensure that your operations are backed by the most powerful technology available. Source Consulting offers a variety of unique, proprietary software solutions intended to optimize package routing, automate carrier selection, and deliver real-time management of exceptions and unexpected conditions. This empowers your shipping managers around the world with the real-time data you need to perform at the level of an established, global enterprise all of your business to business logistics partners can rely on implicitly.
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