How To Develop, Execute, and Monitor Your Shipping Strategy

How To Develop, Execute, and Monitor Your Shipping Strategy

Stratego was one of my favorite games when I was a kid. Do you remember it? It was basically capture-the-flag in Napoleonic War Era fancy dress. You would create a strategy to place your flag and defend it with a mix of terrain, obstacles (bombs), and soldiers, then use the rest of your forces to seek out and capture your opponent’s flag.

Most games were decided in the setup phase. There were usually a number of ways to win the game tactically, but if you lost it was almost always because you were using the wrong initial setup strategy.

This observation resonates with shipping, too. While execution is critical, not even world-class execution will save you from the ill effects of the wrong shipping strategy. Even if you’re doing the wrong thing really, really well, you’re still doing the wrong thing.

Fear not, we’re here to help you: we’ve got a new white paper available, Shipping Best Practices: Developing, Executing, and Monitoring Your Shipping Strategy. In this paper, we discuss best practices for creating a shipping strategy, carrying it out, and keeping it on track.

Starting with the all-important steps to set up an optimal shipping strategy, we discuss the three most critical things you need to know: your market and customer base, your limitations, and who you are – strengths and weaknesses, both.

From this base of understanding, you can ask the questions that will help determine where better is possible, identify what leverage you have with your carrier partners, and bring it back to your customers to determine what service levels they demand to meet their unique needs. Set your targets based on what your customers require, then work backward to figure out how best to hit those targets.

Once you have the right strategy in place, it is time for that world-class execution to kick in. And, along with it, monitoring to assure that you are executing to strategy and to alert you when conditions have changed and a new strategy is called for. In the paper, we discuss the two different time lenses you need for effective feedback and control: real-time and historical. Real-time monitoring lets you identify problems as they are happening and manage by exception, while the historical lens shows you whether or not you are hitting the targets set by the strategy.

And let’s not (ever) forget the customer: with this combination of lenses, you can understand the individual customer experience as it happens and look at the aggregate customer experience you are providing over time as well.

By developing, executing, and monitoring the shipping strategy that is right for your company and your customers, you will increase customer satisfaction, optimally balance the cost and performance of shipping, and identify and respond to key customer and market trends as they develop.

Shipping and delivery have become a critical part of the overall customer satisfaction picture. The right shipping strategy will ensure that the experience you are providing to your customers is the best one you can profitably give them.