Cross DockingReworkingSupply Chain

How to Keep Customers Happy as Shipping Timelines Lengthen

The supply chain labor shortage is affecting shipping timelines all around the world. And although we’re doing our part to keep supply chain workers happy, it doesn’t seem there’s an end near. In the meantime, we’re also working to improve the customer experience with everything in our power. Here are just a few options that may be worth considering for your supply chain:

Consider Cross-Docking

If you have a shipment that’s running behind, there’s no time to waste. Choosing a cross-docking provider allows you to bypass the usual trip to the warehouse and take product directly to customers from the manufacturer. In many circumstances, this can mean a much shorter route that saves time, but it also saves time unloading from one truck into the warehouse and then from the warehouse into another. This one-time touch paired with reduced fuel and driver wages from the direct route can even lead to reduced supply chain costs.

Increase Supply Chain Visibility

One of the most effective ways to keep customers calm while reducing your team’s workload is by giving customers access to an appropriate amount of your supply chain information. This can look like many different kinds of communication, but the most common is tracking information. A great package tracking tool will not only give the package’s most recent node location and a timeline for arrival but also provide information for next steps should they need to reach out to your team.

Another option for visibility is similar to Chipotle’s communications. When their supply chains are experiencing uncommon shifts, they will inform customers via email and on the front doors of their establishments that some ingredients may not be available with a short explanation, such as that they are unable to find an ethical supplier. Many customers appreciate the insight into the industry and, in fact, feel more likely to do business with the brand in the future for making transparent and conscientious changes to their supply chain.

Offer Expedited Options

Though shipping times lengthen with the high volumes expected this holiday season, there will still be hard deadlines for customers who have planned visits with their loved ones. Make sure to include options that give them the opportunity to weigh the price vs. timetables. This could be a great place provide education on why the industry is experiencing spikes in timelines as well as rates right now as well. Though your business may not have much control over the availability and pricing from expedited carriers, there are still steps you can be taking in your warehouse to internally expedite your supply chain at a lower cost to customers when needed.

Keep Stock Moving

One of the best ways to accomplish an internally expedited supply chain is through taking on additional help during peak seasons or as needed for staffing arrangements. Working with professional lumping services is a great way to keep freight moving quickly. At American Freight Service, all of our experienced lumpers work in teams of three to provide turnkey operations for load and unload with built-in communications and strategy so you can move more quickly without lifting a finger.

Build a Robust Supply Chain Contingency

In life, things change. You want to be able to adapt quickly when they do. That’s why having a contingency plan for your supply chain is wildly important. Having an existing cross-docking network is a great start. Another bump up is having a rework team on hand when things go awry. A great rework team can solve minor manufacturing mishaps, re-kit and rearrange existing products, and create new opportunities for custom-minded clients. All this, and the savings of shipping product back to the manufacturer without disturbing your team’s productivity.

These can be challenging times for customer service, but you do have options available to create the best customer experience possible within your supply chain. Is there anything on this list you’d like to hear more about? Give our team of experts a call to find the best solution to your supply chain complications.

Tags: Cross Docking, Reworking, Supply Chain