Creating an efficient delivery operation that adds value and facilitates great customer service is vital for every small and medium-sized business.
Being able to match the bigger players when it comes to offering the best possible delivery services to your customers could be what sets your company apart for clients — whether you’re an e-commerce platform, or regularly send important documents to clients.
Getting the most value out of the process is not only a question of getting goods from point of origin to the end user as quickly as possible, but should also be about minimising spend and maximising the relationship with the transport provider. In this article, we’ll run through the sorts of options SMEs should look for in a courier service, from efficiency to how to get the best rates.
Why should SMEs outsource the delivery process?
If done right, SMEs can leverage the associated benefits to provide significant cost savings and operational advantages. Outsourcing the delivery process to a reliable provider right from the start means they do not have the set-up and running costs of managing an in-house fleet. It means they have fewer staff overheads to shoulder and are less exposed to the fluctuations and current challenges of the sector, such as driver shortages and rising fuel costs. A third-party provider can add value immediately through more competitive rates, increased operational flexibility and enhanced service options to suit the end-user.
Reduce operational risks
Critically, for SMEs, getting value out of the delivery operation is about reducing risk and increasing supply chain resilience against undulating levels of demand. Delivery companies offer a range of services to build a robust service offering such as full track and trace, and 24-hour customer support that help build trust with end users and aids customer retention. These also help manage the peaks and troughs of seasonal demand, again immediately adding value. Outsourcing also gives SMEs peace of mind, knowing their delivery partner is an expert in their field, allowing staff to focus on their core function and not become dragged into the fulfilment process. Always select a courier service that can take these day-to-day responsibilities off of your hands, so that you can focus your attention on growing your enterprise.
Keep costs to a minimum
Small businesses are often compelled to try and do everything themselves, with a perception that it is cheaper and more valuable to keep operations in-house. This is hardly ever the case however and can be an unwelcome distraction from the day job. The distribution sector as a whole is facing an uncertain future over Brexit, driver shortages, fuel prices and tax, making it increasingly expensive to run in-house operations. Vehicle operating costs have risen 3% to 4% in the UK through the past 12 months and there are no guarantees you will actually retain more control and visibility over your goods. As well as minimising costs through more competitive rates, especially during busy periods, a provider can help with additional capacity at short notice and help reduce the overall spend on returns or missed deliveries. They can also help provide end-users greater flexibility through premium next-day and same-day delivery or longer, cheaper delivery options.
Offer a quality service as your business grows
For most small businesses, outsourcing distribution makes perfect sense and offers great value for money. Amid the boom of e-commerce, customer experience and service reliability are by far more important than any short-term view to costs in terms of long-term planning. SMEs absolutely need a provider that can grow alongside their business and be ready as customer demands evolve. Getting the most value out of developing a solid distribution operation usually means thinking longer term. Seeking a low-cost strategy in the short term is not always cost-effective in the future. By securing a reliable delivery partner, SMEs can grow with, they can adopt a strategy that keeps generating value.
As volumes increase, greater efficiencies can be leveraged, and savings passed on to the customer. It can also create a leaner, more efficient operation; allow staff added focus on core activities and an overall more valuable service to customers. It is obviously far easier to grow a business when everyone is focused on it. For many small business owners and managers, the supply chain is not their first area of expertise. They need a provider that has the depth of industry knowledge as well as proven processes on-hand.
How can CitySprint help?
When selecting the right courier company for your small business, you’ll need a reliable service that can take the everyday logistics off of your hands, while offering quality and consistency as you grow. As courier and delivery specialists, we have a number of services
to support your business delivery operations, adapting and scaling to work with your business needs. With a range of delivery options supported by full GPS tracking and real-time PODs, you can leave the tricky bits up to us, while still having a complete overview of your delivery logistics. If you’re interested, head over here to sign up for a free CitySprint business account
and find out more about how SMEs can get the most value from our delivery options.