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Unlock the hidden value in your business

0313_HiddenValue_Article

It's right there: untapped opportunity for your company to make more money. The key? These 7 strategies that save time, cut costs and keep customers happy.

In business operations, finding value can be an elusive thing. Even after you've addressed core challenges such as pricing, payroll and marketing, there often is still hidden value trapped inside your business. But it's locked behind untapped technology, customer attrition and little, daily inefficiencies that let productivity seep away.

You can unlock some of that value by taking a closer look at your logistics. Here are seven ways to identify savings, improve customer service and discover hidden value in your business.

1. GET A HANDLE ON STAFFING
No manager wants to have employees idle. By keeping a close eye on incoming shipments with Quantum View Manage®, customers like C.F. Martin Co., a sixth-generation, family-owned guitar maker in Nazareth, Pa., know exactly which materials will arrive when, so they can staff appropriately. "Logistics is an integral part of dovetailing the schedule and the craftsman with the raw materials," CEO Chris Martin says. Learn more.

2. CREATE AN EASY-TO-USE RETURNS PROGRAM
When your returns process is unnecessarily complicated or time-consuming, three things can happen: Your employees lose valuable time, your customers lose patience… and then you lose customers. That's why it's important to make your returns process – or any reverse logistics – as convenient as possible.

When San Diego shoe repair company NuShoe stopped requiring customers to request a special shipment bag and instead enabled them to print their own UPS shipping label online to affix to any package, it saw savings in the tens of thousands of dollars in just the first year. Learn more.

Use these seven steps to identify savings, improve customer service and discover hidden value in your business.

3. TAKE CONTROL OF INCOMING SHIPMENTS
Sure, you need timely shipments from your suppliers. But do you need each shipment sent overnight? Probably not. You can take control of how suppliers ship to you – and get the credit for the overall shipping volume – by asking your vendors to ship on your UPS account. It's a simple step that can add up to significant savings.

4. KEEP PICKUP INTERRUPTIONS TO A MINIMUM
Even if each interaction with a carrier's driver takes only a few minutes, those minutes add up over weeks and months – especially during your peak-shipping season. White Flower Farm president Lorraine Calder estimates that her Connecticut nursery saves at least $1,200 a year simply by relying on UPS to handle pickups for all shipments – whether ground, air or international.

5. STREAMLINE PACKAGING
Ideal packaging uses the least amount of material to keep products safe during transit. UPS® Packaging Solutions can help you find that perfect balance point by testing your current packaging and making suggestions for greater efficiency.

With help from the package lab, Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating – an Illinois company that prepares ready-to-eat meals to meet specific dietary restrictions – found that it could ship meals in smaller containers without compromising food quality or safety. And smaller boxes cost less to ship.

6. MAKE YOUR SYSTEMS 'TALK'
When Todd and Steven Messineo realized that an outdated order processing system was holding back Budget Golf, their online golf supply store, they called in the experts at UPS. UPS recommended a vendor partner to integrate their ordering, inventory and shipping systems, and that made all the difference.

"We now move 10 times the amount of packages with the same number of people – with no increase in labor costs," Todd Messineo says. Every little cost-saver adds up. Learn more.

7. TURN CUSTOMERS INTO REPEAT CUSTOMERS
Happy customers return to their preferred businesses again and again, and they refer new business, too. Keep your customers coming back for more by enhancing service. When you process a package, always request e-mail notifications. At no additional charge, your customer can receive a Quantum View Notify® message from UPS with the tracking number and expected delivery date. You can choose to have UPS notify up to five people when that package is shipped, if there is an unexpected delay and when it is delivered.

In addition to improving your customers' purchase experience, Quantum View notification alerts also can dramatically reduce WISMO ("Where is my order?") calls, saving your staff time – and your company valuable resources. Learn more.

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