A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article inspired by a trolley full of misplaced milk in a local supermarket. The article flagged a number of areas of logistics that can impact on your brand and undermine your marketing efforts. These are the five that seem to burn our clients most frequently:
- Intrastate, Interstate or Overseas Freight
- Inland Freight On the Other Side
- Local Pick up and Delivery to the Nominated Destination
- Transport and Handling Within Your Customer or Destination
- Warehousing and Handling within Your Customer or Destination.
I suggested that readers did a stock take of their own logistics ‘pressure points’. Since that article I have had a number of questions regarding issues to plan and prepare for. Hence, Loose Logistics Part 2 (i.e. this article) where I shall provide some further prompters to assist you to identify where your brand is most at risk from a logistics perspective.
1. Intrastate, Interstate or Overseas Freight
Handling (Load on) and freight at the point of your main intrastate, interstate or overseas freight provider. This is where a major freight company loads the stock and delivers it across Australia or overseas.
This is usually the big leg in terms of the amount of distance traveled and although the stage where the product is typically in the hands of the largest operators it is often where smaller producers are treated as ‘just another number’.
If this leg of the journey involves sea freight then think of your product inside a container swinging in the air before being dropped down onto the deck.
It pays to consider the quality of packaging materials, print finishes and structure of product labels, inner cartons/packs and outer cartons or shippers to ensure that your product does not arrive crushed, dented, buckled or otherwise damaged.
2. Inland Freight on the Other Side
Inland freight and handling (Load off) from your main intrastate, interstate or overseas freight provider to the local freight service provider in the destination city or port. For example a major inland freight company picks up the product at a major city or port and delivers it to the nominated destination.
If you are exporting to geographically large countries like the United States think in terms of your product spending hours and covering thousands of kilometers on the back of trucks and road trains.
This is where investing in higher internal shipper carton dividers for glass products with labels can help avoid scuffed labels due to vibration from all of the time spent on the road.
3. Local Pick up and Delivery to the Nominated Destination
Delivery and handling as the local freight service provider unloads your product at the nominated destination. For example, a small freight company picks up the stock from the major depot and delivers it to your end customer.
Products that go ‘clink’ (i.e. glass bottles) seem to be at most risk of disappearing during this stage.
Large, bold, clear and even multilingual instructions on outer packs or shippers can help to communicate exactly where your product needs to get to. This will avoid it getting lost in an overseas market. Hiding the fact that it contains wines, spirits or other gourmet produce may help it avoid going missing altogether!
4. Transport and Handling Within Your Customer or Destination
Any freight, deliveries or handling within the parameters of your destination customer going about their business. For example, a head office retailer splitting quantities and dispatching them to numerous outlets.
This is where your product runs the risk of not being stored correctly or handled by adequately trained staff.
Again, large, bold, clear and even multilingual instructions on outer packs or shippers can help to communicate exactly how your product needs to be handled and stored.
5. Warehousing and Handling within Your Customer or Destination
This includes storage and handling within a customer, merchant, retailer, distributor etc. which might span many months and various climatic conditions. For example, a retailer purchasing quantities of stock which it needs to store and merchandise over long period of time.
This is where your local supermarket runs the risk of leaving your short shelf life, chilled product out in the nappy section…just like the milk in my previous article!
So as you can see there are plenty of opportunities for your pristine brand and product to be tarnished prior to it getting to the hands of the final end user and final enjoyment and pleasure of the customer.
They are not all within your control. However, by drilling down and analyzing the key pressure points and each stage of their journey to the end user you will be able to better prepare and protect your product and brand reputation.