Overcoming Communication Challenges for Logistic Companies
Speed, agility, and next-day delivery are the new terms consumers are fast aware of now in recent years. A consumer may not know about the details or jargon about logistics, warehousing, shipping, and inventory, but they do know how to place an order and when to track it online in real-time.
Logistic companies rely not only on good word of mouth, but their work depends on the supply chain to the great extent. Emerging courier services like Leopard or FedEx etc. have proven their worth over time, emphasizing faster delivery. During a pandemic, Amazon became a primary contributor, keeping the show on! But it was not without its defaults either.
A lot of technicalities are involved in the logistic networks. The vendors, warehouses, service operations, distribution centers, importers or exporters, etc., all play a key role to make the company well known among its consumers.
So, the major goal of any logistic company is to overcome any communication challenges that might head their way. In this article, we will focus on specific details about the types of challenges logistics companies face and their possible solutions.
Understanding the Importance of Communication for Logistics Companies
IT is the heart of any logistic company, as it helps to make the entire process more cost-effective and agile. The latest technological upgrades help ensure that the logistics management process remains in its best working capacity without any delays.
Let’s say that the sales department needs to analyze the orders that need to be shipped. The logistics data given will contain all the necessary information, shipment status, and accounts details. It will also contain the invoice.
In the next stage, the procurement team will need to find the desired vendors (can be old or new) to help communicate and collaborate with the logistics team to get the work done.
Most effort is put into finding the right personnel for the job. The major logistics team is usually diverse in terms of language and culture.
Communicating verbally will work for short-term purposes. For effective communication, you need a written document in the local language and other languages as per the company’s policy. Therefore, translating technical documents like commands and instructions is crucial to avoid any linguistic gap among the workers.
Establishing Effective Communication Procedures in Logistics Companies
For an industry to prosper, you need communication. In logistics, effective communication means flawless information (updated to date), seamless collaboration between the departments, and reaching individual and organizational goals all at the same time.
“Communication may vary in all departments, but its execution affects the organization’s strategies and plans”
So keeping this point of view in mind, we have listed the top features for an effective communication process.
1. Written Communication
If it is in writing, you are safe. Written communication is part of the technological aspect too. It helps to eliminate any misinterpretations or forgetfulness. Also, it is one of the most common forms of communication in logistics, too. Emails (about updates, tracking, etc.) are a clear example of effective written communication.
Customers feel valued and taken care of when they receive updates. Better so, a customized form of email in the local language is the most effective of all.
2. The 3Cs
Clear, concise, and consistent – these are the three hallmarks of effective written communication.
A clear message is loud only when there is no ambiguity. Consciousness shows a brief message that includes all the specific information. Consistency in language, translation, and format, etc., guarantees that the receiver will understand the message without any delay.
Given the fact that logistics companies are time-bound, following the 3Cs is of utmost importance for effective communication.
3. Right Recipient
Who is the message for? Is it the employee or the customer? So that information is not lost in the organizational hierarchy, address the written message to the right recipient.
Sending scheduled emails is the fastest way to save time and effort to deliver the message, either to customers or to employees.
4. Nature of Urgency
Emails often have the subject line “urgent” when executives want a task done quickly. This highlights the urgency of the email, and the recipient’s response is almost immediate.
Critical information is missed in case deadlines are mentioned that need to be taken care of. However, all means of communication are considered urgent. So it can become difficult to prioritize tasks.
So it dilutes the meaning of any urgent message. In such cases, clear timelines must be given to avoid any miscommunication.
4 Common Communication Hurdles to Face in Logistics Companies
Even when the logistics industry is evolving towards innovative processes, some challenges still exist. If not taken care of, these challenges can create gaps in supply chains, thus delaying the orders.
The most common communication challenges that occur can create any of the following problems;
Communication gap is the major reason behind delays in the delivery or any task being done. If a factory shuts down due to a strike or pandemic response, or because of a protest, the delivery of goods and services is most affected of all.
If delivery delays occur at the international supply chain, it means a bigger gap among the shipping and slowed processing. The port will struggle with the shipment a great deal. So it is imperative to plan ahead based on the forecast cycles. Using effective CRM software is a handy tool to avoid delays.
Warehouse Management Errors
To run warehouse management smoothly, you need updated software. The software can be multilingual as well to avoid any trouble with the assigned tasks. Whether you need to take care of a misplaced product, or packaging, you need to ensure that all steps in the logistics are streamlined and integrated with one another.
Automated systems can reduce errors through any stage of the process. For this purpose, make sure that warehouse staff is properly trained and guided. You can even take the help of interpreters to convey the instruction verbally in the local language.
Do you think cutting transportation costs is a solution to miscommunication? One of the key challenges for logistics companies is handling supply chain management. Whether it’s the fuel cost or subscribing to the upgraded version of software to keep check and balance on the mileage, the transportation expense is prominent.
The simplest solution to avoid any conflict is to rely on third-party logistics. They handle the transportation costs on your behalf. But creating a strong relationship with the local third party can be difficult if the language gap is prominent.
Because the logistics supply chain is a long-tail process from manufacturing to transport to production and so on, at any stage, a broken link is likely to cause errors.
It can be difficult to find the root cause for a delay in shipment or packaging etc. it can be elevated with the effective communication procedure (like sending the scheduled emails as discussed above). The right use of technology is helpful to eliminate fragmented communication.
4 Effective Ways to Overcome Logistic Communication Challenges
1. Create Transparency
Communication delays are critical for the entire process of the supply chain. It reduces the worker’s productivity and also affects the company’s bottom line. So to avoid it, do not withhold any piece of information that proves beneficial for the front line employees.
Now, even more so, the global business needs all information to speed up the communication process. A truly global supply chain management has an efficient execution.
2. Enable Collaboration
In the past, logistics companies used to focus on the geographic (local) markets only. Now the decision-making is more interdependent and has a clearly defined network.
To enforce collaboration and cooperation, the companies must focus on the competition. Integrated systems offer effective communication. Therefore, the team can collaborate more effectively, especially when the language barrier is removed. It allows employees to communicate with one another easily.
3. Secure Communication Transmission
Logistics is involved with sensitive information (like credit cards and billings). To move the data securely through the well-trafficked network is risky. Communication between the cargos and across borders about product shipment is crucial.
For this very reason, regular checkups, advanced firewalls, and data encryption are taken care of to improve data security. Online software helps to create a highly secure platform to exchange information.
4. Routine Procedures
Since the logistics process consists of a series of steps, it can be a complex procedure for an untrained eye. It can lead to miscommunication like a snowball for the entire shipment.
So why not set an automated routine of procedures? It is applicable for fleet management, scheduling, supply ordering, and customer relationship management. The complex coordination can be taken care of with various methods.
To understand the complexities involved in logistics, the use of a subject matter expert can help avoid any problems in the near possible future. This is why logistics companies need to invest in a translation company to avoid any language communication.
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