Developing Supply Chain Resiliency
A single fault line in the supply chain can disrupt events farther down, including the all-important last mile. Here’s how to develop and maintain a supply chain that is resilient, and easy to scale and optimize.
1. Digitize your supply chain. Logistics is full of estimations that make it challenging to offer a consistent customer experience or to allocate resources effectively. Use delivery orchestration technology to leverage your business logic and operational data for better, more efficient processes. Digitize and unite your data points across a single source of truth for actionable insights and the knowledge to make better business and operational decisions—from assigning the optimal fleet or vehicle for a specific delivery to choosing where to expand operations. Better decision-making results in greater efficiency and reduces the chance of unexpected events disrupting the flow of the supply chain.
2. Integrate your first-, middle-, and last-mile systems. If the flow to a warehouse or from a warehouse to a distribution center is affected, it can disrupt operations farther down the supply chain. Investing in open and integrated systems makes it easier to track and manage exceptions quickly.
3. Enable real-time visibility. End-to-end visibility into product inventory, tracking, and delivery prevents shippers and providers from accepting orders that they don’t have, or service-level agreements (SLAs) that they can’t fulfill. It also makes it easier to pinpoint and isolate any issues as they arise and quickly find alternatives to get orders out on time.
4. Embrace automation. Streamlined supply chains have fewer weak links to break. Once your operations are digital, apply automation software to speed and optimize manual processes such as delivery and service scheduling and routing.
5. Invest in technology to manage returns. Few supply chains are equipped to handle returns at the level that e-commerce throws at them. Invest in technology that turns returns into a channel of your last-mile operations that you can optimize for efficient processes alongside delivery.
6. Focus on safety. Have warehouse workers, drivers, and other staff work in capsules. This way, even if someone in a capsule shift tests positive for COVID-19, another capsule can take over. Products continue passing smoothly into and across the last mile without impacting capacity. Provide drivers with tools for contactless delivery and hands-free applications to keep them safe and prevent service disruptions.
7. Stay adaptable. Engineer adaptability into service plans and the types of products you can deliver. Businesses with an array of services and customers—B2B and B2C delivery, next-day and scheduled delivery, or service plans with multiple tiers—are well placed to capture larger market share and weather changes.
8. Get agile. Agile supply chains don’t break; they bend. Engage multiple contractors, regional carriers, or crowdsourced fleets to inject agility into your operations and decrease the liabilities of working with a single provider.
9. Localize the supply chain. Build multiple hyperlocal options for fulfillment, as well as regional fulfillment centers, to keep delivery from grinding to a halt when something strikes one location.
10. Invest infuture resilience. Get technology that enables you to change, enhance, or add services to existing operations and lets you maintain resiliency based on current operational size and projected growth.
SOURCE: Guy Bloch, CEO, Bringg