11 Best Practices & Tips for Logistics Planning


Logistics is a multi-step process with high amounts of variables. If, at any time, there is an issue or delay, your logistics can fail. This is all the more reason to ensure your logistics planning is efficient and streamlined to meet every one of your goals.

While you cannot avoid problems arising, you can take preventive measures. If you are actively managing logistics or have assigned a third party logistics company to do so, you can catch issues and resolve them quickly. Here are the best tips for logistics planning.

Tip #1: Understand Why Logistics Planning Is Important

A key tip to logistics planning is to do it. Logistics planning will allow your business to grow and strategically navigate shipping/delivery processes. A company that relies on improvisation to support its operations will likely fail or stagnate. Through an intelligently-developed logistics plan, you prepare for the future.

Tip #2: Define Long-Term Goals and Short-Term Strategies

Your long-term goals should include the markets or territories you hope to serve, the service concepts you want associated with your brand, the customer experience you want to provide, and the competitive edge, if any, you want.

Comparatively, your short-term strategies will be the specific steps you’re taking to build foundations and bring you closer to achieving your goals for the future.

Tip #3: Be Realistic in Your Planning

An effective logistics plan is precise and realistic. Do not make it overly complicated or propose unrealistic timelines that cannot be achieved. Be prepared to deal with obstacles because they will come up.

Search for the most direct, readily executable strategies to handle logistics and meet customer demands. Avoid complexity at every turn. You may even want to outsource logistics, as so many businesses do if this helps.

Tip #4: Develop Contingency Plans for When Things Go Wrong

No company can predict and prevent every possibility of what can go wrong. When things inevitably do, contingency planning and pre-planned responses are required to get on the offence. Define how you intend to mitigate harm. Ensure customers are aware of what’s happening and begin solutions-oriented thinking immediately.

Tip #5: Use Logistics Automation Software to Collect Data and Conduct Analyses

Logistics automation can make actively managing your supply chain a lot easier. Automation can collect and analyze data, produce reports, monitor fleets, and manage inventory. If there is a breakdown or if inefficiencies exist somewhere, logistics automation apps and software can identify where and what.

Tip #6: Data Collection and Analytics Can Improve Your Logistics Planning

No logistics plan is perfect. There are always areas one can improve on. Data collection and analytics allow you to monitor, measure, analyze, and produce insights on your logistics plan. Take the opportunity to do so.

You may find ways to shave costs down or improve delivery times. You will be fully informed on how efficient your logistics plan is and whether you are fulfilling standards of expectation or not.

Tip #7: Communicate with Your Customers Regularly and Keep Them Informed

Customers are a business’s most valuable asset. How they perceive your brand will influence what they tell their peers about you and how they review your business. Be transparent about logistics, shipping, and supply chain delays. Let your customer know the status of their delivery. This will ease their curiosity and demonstrate that your company follows the order.

Tip #8: Look at How the Competition Is Doing Their Logistics Planning

Especially if you’re starting from scratch, take advice from others already doing logistics and supply chain management. See what the competition is doing. Adapt their ideas to your company. Take note of where you may be able to improve on their processes or what may apply to what you want to offer customers.

Tip #9: Consider Hiring Third-Party Logistics Services to Take On This Responsibility

If you are truly out of your depth on logistics planning, are struggling to improve logistics planning, or simply don’t have the time or passion for it to figure it out, the best thing to do is hire a third-party logistics service.

Third-party logistics will assign someone else the responsibility of managing your logistics. This way, you don’t have to worry about shipping, supply chains, or anything else. It’s all handled for you and at a reasonable cost.

Tip #10: Hire a Logistics Manager to Oversee All Aspects Of Logistics

If you opt not to hire third-party logistics, at the very least, hire a logistics manager. A stakeholder will need to be put in place to coordinate logistics, especially as your business grows and the demands on your supply chain increase. You won’t want to be distracted by what’s happening in logistics. You will want to know issues are handled, details are properly reviewed, and your supply chain is efficiently run.

Tip #11: Structure Your Logistics Planning to Facilitate Collaboration

Ensure that it is easy and simple for different departments to collaborate or communicate. Many communication tools exist that can make collaboration in real-time possible.

If there is ever a need to coordinate between internal departments, identify issues in another area of business, such as quality control that could be impacting logistics, or if it is beneficial for partnerships to be formed with third-party providers, these tasks can all be performed with communication and collaboration tools.