At Corsair Logistics, we understand that auditing internal systems is something all businesses should do regularly. This allows you to see where things can be improved.

10 Things to Keep in Mind When Auditing Your Logistics Processes

An audit needs to be fair, independent, objective, and able to define and organise the systems in place. If you need to audit your distribution chain, keep reading the blog for 10 expert tips to help you.

Tip #1: Make a Plan

As with any task, what might seem like an impossible job will become easier if you have a plan. Take time to think about what your outcome should be at the end of a distribution chain audit and work backwards, ensuring your plan will get you there. When it comes to tips for auditing your supply chain, starting with a plan is always a good idea.

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Tip #2: Review Before You Start

Assuming you have carried out an audit of your distribution chain before, review this previous audit before you start. Then you will know where the problem areas were before, and you can start your audit at what might be the most time-consuming area. Then you can work through the rest.

Tip #3: Use the Digital Footprint

Part of your audit will be checking on the reliability, sustainability, and costs of your suppliers within the distribution chain. Everyone from the supplier of your goods to the logistics company that you use to distribute the finished product will need to be reviewed. The best way to do this — and the easiest — is to follow their digital footprints. What are their websites saying? What are they talking about on social media?

Tip #4: Don’t Ignore Customer Complaints

Customer complaints are another area of the distribution chain that, although uncomfortable, are useful to look at. Customer complaints offer a good source of information about which parts of the distribution chain need to be addressed.

Tip #5: Watch Out for Outsourcing

Outsourcing by itself is not a bad thing; you probably use it a lot in your own business because it ensures the job is done to a high standard. However, it is important to know if any of your suppliers and distributors are outsourcing because there must be complete transparency throughout the supply chain. How can you ensure all is well without it?

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Tip #6: Ask Questions

Although auditing tends to be more of a paper trail, it is useful to add the human element and ask questions of suppliers. Getting answers about how well they treat their staff, what their environmental policy is, and what else they can do might yield interesting information that allows you to audit more effectively.

Tip #7: What Are the Guidelines?

Guidelines change on a regular basis, and as a business owner, it’s down to you to ensure your company is up to date. For your distribution chain, the same is true: everyone in that chain needs to be up to date on their own guidance too. Make sure you know what the guidelines are, and you’ll know who is doing a good job and who is falling behind.

Tip #8: Look Internally

Although you might first look externally when it comes to carrying out your distribution audit (possibly because the chain is largely external to your business), you must also look internally. There will certainly be aspects of the chain that need to be carried out within your own business, and these are just as important as the rest, so ensure they are in your audit.

Tip #9: Speak to Your Staff

Just because you think something is working well, that doesn’t mean it is. From the outside everything could appear smooth and efficient, but what if there is a problem? If you don’t handle the job personally, you must take time to speak to the person who does and ensure things are going well. Speaking to them will uncover any issues and enable you to fix them within the distribution chain.

Tip #10: Follow Up

It’s good to carry out an audit on a regular basis, but if you find something needs to be dealt with, it’s also important to follow up and ensure changes are made. Otherwise, everything will continue as before, and next year’s audit will be no different. Set a timetable for the tasks to be completed and carry out an interim audit to check they have been done.

Corsair Logistics are the Warehousing & Distribution Experts in Durban

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