17 November 2023
The role of technology in delivering
logistics success for SMBs
Why supply chains matter
Small to medium-sized businesses
(SMBs) are the backbone of the economy.
You are the specialised suppliers,
niche product manufacturers, or service providers, injecting innovation,
flexibility, and a personalised service into the market. These are qualities
that often harder for larger companies to offer. Your ability to understand and
adapt to your customer’s needs, coupled with your innovative approach,
positions you uniquely in the industry.
However, creating excellent products
or services is only half the battle. The reality is, no matter how good your
product or service is, the success of your business hinges on your ability to
deliver it to your customers swiftly and efficiently. In today's fast-paced
world, delivery speed and efficiency are non-negotiable. Failing to meet these
standards can lead to dissatisfied customers, giving your competitors an
opportunity to swoop in.
Inefficient delivery systems can eat
into your profitability, diluting the hard work and quality you put into your
offerings. Sustaining success is not only about what you produce but also about
how you deliver it to your customers.
For SMBs the choice of logistics
strategy, selection of partners, and the technology they adopt play a vital
role in their success. As an SMB you need to be smart with your approach to
logistics as it can provide you with a unique differentiator and competitive
edge. However, for many SMB businesses, managing logistics can be challenging
due to limited resources compared to larger competitors.
Recent global events have exposed how
vulnerable the global
supply chain is and made heroes of the people who keep products moving, despite
the challenges and constant changes they face. It has revealed the importance
for all companies, regardless of size, of having an effective logistics
Gaining the competitive edge
As an SMB, you are probably constantly
looking for ways to improve your logistics and are regularly seeing multiple
different IT systems on the market. There are several possible solutions available
that can improve the logistics function of a business. Here are some of the
most commonly used IT systems that assist with logistics optimisation:
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Systems: A software platform that combines various business
functions such as finance, inventory management, procurement, and more into a
single, unified system for managing and coordinating logistics activities.
Transportation Management Systems
(TMS): Designed to help plan, execute, and optimise the transportation
and distribution of goods. They offer route optimisation, shipment planning and
execution, and real-time tracking capabilities.
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS): Optimises
warehouse operations by managing inventory, order picking, packing, and
shipping. It helps reduce errors, improve space utilisation, and enhance
overall warehouse efficiency.
Inventory Management Systems: Provide
real-time visibility into inventory levels, helping businesses to maintain
optimal stock levels and avoid overstocking and understocking. It is crucial
for managing inventory, improving order fulfilment and ensuring effective
management of stock.
Fleet Management Systems: For
businesses with their own delivery fleets, a Fleet Management System helps with
managing, tracking, and maintaining vehicles. It optimises vehicle routes for
greater efficiency, manages maintenance schedules and ensure compliance with
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): These systems
enable the electronic exchange of business documents such as purchase orders,
invoices, and shipping notifications between different trading partners,
streamlining the order-to-cash process and reducing manual errors.
Selecting the right IT systems for
your business should be based on your unique requirements, size, and budget.
While many of these solutions offer considerable value, they often come with a
substantial cost. Integrating these systems promises enhanced efficiency, but
it's important to weigh the financial implications. Will the added complexity
be manageable for your business, or is it overly complex? Do you truly need all
the advanced features, considering the associated costs? Fortunately, there's
an alternative approach to consider.
One size can fit all
TouchStar’s PODStar is a comprehensive
system that boasts features commonly found in state-of-the-art Transport
Management Systems but without the associated price tag. At its core, PODStar
offers capabilities such as:
- Job Planning & Scheduling: Streamlines workflow by
efficiently organising and prioritising delivery tasks, ensuring timely and
- Route Mapping: Enhances delivery efficiency and reduces
fuel costs by calculating the most optimal routes for drivers.
- Real-time Driver & Vehicle Tracking: Provides
up-to-the-minute location data, enhancing operational transparency and enabling
quick response to any on-road issues.
- Timely Vehicle Service Alerts: Proactively maintains
fleet health and minimises downtime through regular, automated reminders for
vehicle servicing and maintenance.
- Vehicle Inspection Modules: Ensures regulatory
compliance and vehicle safety by facilitating regular vehicle inspections.
- Holistic Driver Administration Suite (including
timesheets, expenses, holiday tracking, etc.): Simplifies management of
driver-related tasks and records, improving administrative efficiency and
TouchStar has been working with SMBs
for many years and we understand that flexibility is key. We always start by
conducting a thorough analysis of your overall system requirements to ensure our
solution is always the right fit for your business needs.
Improving service quality
A robust logistics solution can turn
the tide in an SMB’s favour, delivering many benefits.
One of the most immediate benefits of
a logistics strategy is cost reduction. By optimising routes, consolidating
shipments, and managing inventory effectively, you can significantly lower
expenses. These savings can be passed on to your customers or reinvested in the
business to fuel growth and innovation.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Today’s business to business customer
has high expectations, particularly in last mile delivery. They demand
quick and reliable delivery options, alongside transparent communications. If
you can meet these expectations through a reliable logistics framework you are
more likely to retain customers and attract new ones through positive
Scalability and Flexibility
As an SMB, if you are expanding, then
you will need a logistics strategy that
grows with you. Scalability ensures that an increase in demand doesn't
overwhelm existing processes, leading to potential service failures. Having a
robust logistics strategy provides the flexibility to adapt to market changes,
such as unexpected disruptions or seasonal fluctuations.
In a crowded and competitive market,
you already beat the big guys in your field with your superior product, but you
can also beat them by offering superior logistics services. This might include
faster delivery options, real-time tracking, or hassle-free returns. This level
of differentiation is critical in attracting customers and establishing your
business as a reliable provider in the marketplace.
More than ever, businesses are being
judged by their environmental impact. A logistics strategy that emphasises
sustainability can reduce waste and emissions. It also enhances your brand
image as an environmentally conscious business, which is increasingly important
to your consumers and partners in the supply chain.
Pave your path to success
In today’s competitive market, SMBs
must grasp every possible advantage. The right delivery management solution can
be a powerful driver for business efficiency, productivity and customer
satisfaction. By prioritising logistics, your business can keep up with larger
competitors and pave your own road to success.
SMBs that are ready to propel their
business forward can begin by evaluating their current logistics operations and
identifying areas for improvement. A journey of a thousand miles needs to be
planned and managed effectively, but it also begins with a single step - take
the first step and contact TouchStar
Our team of experts deliver exceptional support to our customers based on
decades of experience. Speak with the team and we will help you take your
business where it needs to go.