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Email communication within the supply chain

3 August, 2022

Customers today expect to be able to communicate with businesses at times convenient for them and often expect an instant reply. Excellent customer service is expected as standard, and their business will promptly be taken elsewhere if that isn't delivered. Understanding and managing your data and communications to maximise speedy responses and follow-ups can be the thing that sets you apart from other logistics firms.

It is not only keeping your customers happy that is important, but also ensuring that you are managing your relationship with your suppliers so that you can be sure that you get the best out of them and don’t end up out of pocket. Logistics firms rely heavily on other suppliers to efficiently carry out their business activities, so ending up in a dispute with a partner the firm is heavily dependent upon could spell disaster for your supply chain.

Whereas a CRM system can be great for managing inventory, warehouse and financial processes, a large important part of the business communication is still left unmanaged. Email is still the primary method of communication for firms and where a large majority of agreements and discussions are held. Therefore, these communications are stored in an organised and secure way should they need to be recalled later.

A CRM system cannot effectively store and manage email conversations in the right way to protect against disputes. It will often only hold fragments of information mentioned in emails. To provide a complete picture of the history of a conversation, the entire chain of correspondence would need to be produced on demand, or the logistics firm could end up with unnecessary costs, as seen with Westbound Logistics. Speed and accuracy are where logistics firms compete, so protecting the business against anything that may slow this down should be paramount.

What can an email management solution provide that a CRM cannot?

    1. A clear audit trail of all conversations, acceptances and what has happened to date. It is often difficult to know which exchanges will be meaningful in the future, so by ensuring that everything is safely filed, the business can be reassured that any correspondence that has taken place can be reproduced when needed.

    2. Easy retrieval of legacy agreements or critical information may be required months or even years later. An email management solution gives peace of mind that older emails and attachments won’t ever disappear and can always be located within seconds with just a few keywords.

    3. Transparency throughout the supply chain is crucial for smooth operations and ensuring delays are well managed and minimised. With an email management system, everyone involved in the process can see what is happening without information being siloed off. As everyone has access to relevant updates as they happen, you can be sure that no member of the team is acting on outdated information.

    4. An email management system allows firms to collaborate easily on tasks regardless of who manages jobs. Progress is not held up as nothing depends on a single person's presence; anyone with relevant permissions can take over in a key person's absence. This is a handy function for managing customer service operations and a straightforward way to stand out above the competition.

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