We’re hearing more and more how COVID-19 continues to disrupt economies around the world, even as companies begin to get their business up and running again. With ongoing uncertainties in the minds of governments, businesses, and the public, there seems to be no clear vision as to what the “new normal” will look like.
Supply chains continue to be hit particularly hard. No single event in our recent history, including severe weather or political or social disruption can compare to the way COVID-19 exposed supply chains weak spots and posed challenges we’ve never had to face before. With no recent precedent, many companies were left not knowing how to effectively respond to the crisis.
This is especially true for companies that had not optimized their supply chains, or kept up with current supply chain trends, opting instead to rely on “the way things have always been done”.
If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that we can no longer do things the way they have always been done.
As companies continue to pivot to update their supply chains, here are 5 challenges they need to consider to truly move into the future with success:
- Rising Operational Costs In Supply Chains: Every year, companies see an increase in their supply chain costs. Like most businesses, they are striving to reverse the trend, but lack the resources to determine which costs are rising. Without complete visibility into what needs to be changed, companies aren’t sure how to get started, and wind up spending more resources than necessary trying to identify the problem.
- Shortage of Transportation and/or Warehouse Capacity: When capacity begins to diminish, manufacturers aren’t sure where to turn for additional capacity, especially when they don’t have a partnership in place dedicated to supplier and carrier relations and sourcing new capacity and vendors on their behalf. This becomes especially pressing for shippers of temperature-controlled freight, as these in-demand services are generally the first to fill up. Right now, in the Greater Toronto Area, there is a need to secure more temperature-controlled storage, a situation that is leaving manufacturers scrambling for a solution.
- Lack of Visibility and Reporting in Supply Chains: Manufacturers are continually looking for ways to improve efficiency while ensuring that their products get to their customers in good condition. However, the multi-faceted nature of modern supply chains makes identifying where improvements are needed quite difficult. Companies need complete, end-to-end visibility of their supply chains to determine where they need to make improvements. This can be done through reporting tools such as live track and trace, shipment notifications, claims management, monthly costing reports, service reports, and more. Without this information at their disposal, companies are facing an uphill battle when it comes to supply chain optimization.
- Need for More Operational Expertise: Niche expertise in supply chains has been drying up in recent years, which is frustrating some companies when recruiting for these specialized skills. Hiring someone without the needed capabilities to help you manage your supply chain, such as engineering, information technology, finance, and more, can cause a negative impact on your operations.
- Using Outdated Technology: In 2020, we experienced how quickly supply chains can evolve when needed. This taught many companies that in order to adapt quickly, they need to keep their technology updated. Whether it is your ERP, TMS, WMS, or other system, it’s impossible to operate an efficient, cost-effective supply chain without properly managed and up-to-date technology.
The good news for business is that a 4PL supply chain solution specializes in benchmarking each of these areas to inform companies of their supply chain’s current state, as well as potential areas for improvement. A 4PL provider can then collaborate with the manufacturer to develop an operational plan that achieves supply chain efficiency, keeping in mind the company’s overall business goals and objectives.
Cedric Millar utilizes the best combination of people, technology, business intelligence, and process to meet any supply chain requirement, and can easily pivot to fulfill your changing needs, especially during uncertain times or through a crisis such as COVID-19.
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for companies to heed the lessons of COVID-19 and optimize their supply chain with a comprehensive network solution so they can face the next crisis with a degree of confidence. This will make your company a winner when any disruption occurs, knowing you have a 4PL supplier ready to offer a steady hand through unmapped territory.
If you’re interested in learning how Cedric Millar can significantly transform your current supply chain into a more sustainable, flexible model, we’d love to chat with you. Just contact us at 1-888-998-1009 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime for a no-obligation discussion.