Welcome to our RaceFit™ Focus series, a programme of content exploring the seven key building blocks that underpin a successful brand. The Red Tree’s innovative RaceFit™ programme launched earlier this year to help brands evaluate their fitness level. Easily completed in 25 minutes via an online platform, in an industry first, feedback is instant via a detailed, bespoke report full of expert advice, precisely engineered to get a brand RACEFIT™.
This month we are delving into Logistics. It may not be the most glamorous side of the Beauty Industry, but without a great logistics partner your business can grind to a halt. With so many routes to market, each with their own fulfilment requirements, brands need a versatile and experienced provider to help them maximize opportunities. We invited James Keable, Business Development Manager at Westex to share with us his thoughts on what to look for in your logistics partner.
Westex Group offers core competencies of warehousing, logistics and order fulfilment, established over 35 years ago. The group has developed a significant customer base of household and growing health and beauty brands operating from several sites throughout London and South East England.
When assessing the workings of a successful brand, logistics is often forgotten or understated. Logistics is the driving force behind the scenes, ensuring your product arrives with your customers in a timely, efficient and professional manner. Choosing the correct logistics partner is therefore vital.
Partnering a logistics supplier with a high level of IT integration will free up your time to focus on other key areas of your business. You also want a logistics partner who is flexible in their approach as customer service and agility are often neglected. As a brand you will have last minute orders that need to be amended. You will need a point of contact who will answer the phone. You will need fast decisive reactions from your logistics partner, but most importantly on a personable flexible level.
It is paramount that price does not outweigh the level of service, or level of relevant industry experience. Your logistics partner should have knowledge and experience in delivering to all of your customers. They should be able to meet growing demands, they should have a high level of stock control and they should act professionally when handling your stock. More so, your brand shouldn’t feel “lost” in a vast warehouse. Lost sales, late deliveries, and damaged stock will adversely affect your margins and more importantly, the image that your brand portrays.
All logistics partners rely almost entirely on the communication of information. When is the stock arriving? What are your fast moving SKUs? When is the order due for delivery? The information that you provide needs to be accurate to ensure that turnaround times are fast and efficient. Communication goes both ways and listening to the advice of your logistics partner, and having faith in their expertise will help your brand exponentially.
Planning demand accurately is arguably the most important aspect of success. Do you follow the Just in Time method of placing orders for stock as they are needed? And save money on storage and avoid wastage, but run the risk of not meeting the demands of your customers. Or do you order stock in vast quantities in advance? And pay less for the manufacture of your goods? Either way, your forecasts need to be accurate. If it puts avoidable strain on your logistics partner, the level of service can be affected.
Ultimately, you should choose a logistics partner that has a fine balancing act between automation and customer service, can handle fluctuating demands, is experienced in the industry, and has a high level of service. In return, the brand must provide concise information, take on board any expertise, and ensure that demand is planned accurately. Success will follow.