Supply Chain Checklist for a COVID-19 World

Tags: Inventory Management, Warehousing, Last Mile Delivery

While the uptick in revenue from online sales during the pandemic has been positive, shippers still face ongoing challenges acquiring raw materials and tackling last mile delivery.

Companies are now in a position where they need to hedge against having too much inventory and working capital tied up, while seeking the necessary agility and resilience to manage multiple supply chains.

As businesses recover and re-imagine their world, leadership must ensure transparency, establish critical components, determine the origin of supply, and identify alternative sources.

Here are some key strategies for improving your supply chain in the current environment, as well as, preparing to adapt to the uncertainties ahead.

Discover opportunities with available inventory. Depending on the industry, assessing the inventory and value chain could provide additional sales opportunities for such items as spare parts or after-sale stock. Monetizing these assets could provide the necessary bridge to keep production and supply chain running efficiently.

Ensure employee and facility safety. In these uncertain times, safety is paramount. Prioritize the safety and well-being of your team to ensure a healthy workforce and foster loyalty. Continue supplying personal protective equipment (PPE), prioritize facility management, and develop health and safety contingency plans for both workforce and materials.

Assess capacity. Identify, estimate and secure your logistics capacity so your company is able to recognize and adapt to dynamic demand in real time.

Re-evaluate your technology stack. Your supply chain is only as good as the technology behind it. Whether you operate in B2C or B2B channels, supply chain technology must provide the highest level of visibility for inventory and facilities in today's environment. The goal is to ultimately provide the best velocity to market. Does your supply chain technology offer seamless integration, branded tracking and real time data?

Embrace VUCA. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity—
these are the watchwords for 2020 and the future. Embrace and adapt to these new norms to foster a mindset of preparation, readiness and planning. The new norm is an irregular puzzle that the world is solving together. With the right team and technology, your company can embrace change, move forward and turn those problems into solutions.

If there is a positive to come out of the current scenario, it is that business leaders can take this opportunity to assess and improve every aspect of their organization.

4 Ways To Manage The Last Mile

The last mile is taking on greater importance as retailing moves to a higher level of ecommerce supported by parcel and heavy goods home delivery.

Unless shippers adopt new last mile perspectives, the complexity of the fulfillment network can drive up costs and hinder efficiency, creating unhappy consumers. Here are some things to think about to combat last mile issues for 2020 and beyond.

  • Zone skipping: Reduce handling within parcel networks by combining shipments to the destination region. This allows individual shipments to be sent for delivery, rather than each package moving across several zones.
  • Balance delivery options: Today’s tech-savvy consumers want a choice. Offer standard shipping for free, but add a premium for express shipping. For many consumers, free is a better attraction than fast, but offering choices allows consumers to control their own shipment journey. You can improve margins and serve customers at the level they’re willing to pay for.
  • Precision packaging: Optimize box sizes to reduce excess dimensions and void fills for lower dimensional rates.
  • Diversify the carrier base: Add smaller regionals, 3PLs and couriers to complement existing networks.





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