The term "customer logistics" refers to a company’s relationship to its customers during the delivery of goods or services. This process involves shipping, information, warehousing, repackaging and any other services that are a part of the delivery process. It covers a much wider range than simply the mechanisms of shipping and receiving, however. Logistics balances the costs and services in ways that are cost effective, reflect company goals and provide good customer service.
How products are shipped is a consideration in customer logistics. Product shipment should reflect the goals of the company, whether it is controlling costs or keeping product inventories at a certain level. This process also should move smoothly while also meeting all of the goals.
For the movement to be smooth, it must take into account business fluctuations that include busy or slow times. It also must be organized so that shipments that vary in size are coordinated with the same efficiency. Each department of a business might handle a different aspect of the shipping process, but all of the departments must coordinate smoothly. Obviously, large companies can have very complex logistics.
Customer logistics also includes information on how an item is moving to customers. This is becoming increasingly technical. One example is computer tracking systems that can tell exactly when an item was shipped and where it is in the shipping process. Similar programs also are needed to track inventory.
Time is one of the most important factors in customer logistics. Customers expect their orders to be filled quickly and accurately. Businesses that fail to do this might not be able to keep place in a global economy where speed often is everything. If a company cannot deliver what it promises, the customer will go elsewhere.
Costs also are extremely important. A key objective in customer logistics is to find a system that provides acceptable service to customers while keeping costs low for the business. All of this must be done within reason. The most costly process does not necessarily equal the best service, nor does lowest cost save much if the needs and expectations of customers are not met.
The final step in customer logistics is making it all work together smoothly. Each individual or department must do its part in and understand its role. A written chart can help outline this process. This chart works as a road map for how the process works and can help pinpoint areas that are working properly, along with those that need improvement.