What Is Outbound Logistics?
Outbound logistics refers to the processes involved with moving goods to a customer. In other words, outbound logistics covers activities involved with processing, fulfilling, and delivering customer orders. To give you a sense of exactly what activities fall under the umbrella of outbound logistics, take a look at the list below:
- Order receipt, processing, and fulfillment, including:
- Picking and packing
- Warehouse management, as it relates to order fulfillment
- Managing any outsourcing partners who assist with order fulfillment, such as 3PLs
- Shipping items to customers, including activities like:
- Transportation management of outbound shipments
- Last-mile delivery
- Customer service, including order tracking and troubleshooting
What Is the Main Objective of Outbound Logistics?
The main objective of outbound logistics centers on getting items in customers’ hands.
A supply chain manager focused on a business’s outbound logistics would look for ways to create new efficiencies in these processes which, in turn, reduces waste and associated costs. Supply chain managers working on outbound logistics would also investigate ways to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction while controlling expenses.
What Is an Example of Outbound Logistics?
Every time you order an item from an online retailer, the processes they go through to fulfill your order constitute outbound logistics.
For example, let’s say you order a classic Dutch oven from the Le Creuset online store. Everything that happens between the point that you push the “purchase” button and your Dutch oven arrives at your doorstep falls into the category of outbound logistics.
That includes receiving the order, picking the product from its shelf in the warehouse, packing it into its shipping box, handing it off to the carrier (UPS, in this case), transportation of your Dutch oven via the carrier, tracking the shipment, and, finally, the last-mile delivery that gets it to your doorstep. All of those are outbound logistics activities.