Many disruptions can strike a supply chain that will dramatically affect its workflow. With the current state of the world, many companies are just now starting to acknowledge the need for flexible supply chain operations. Making changes now will allow businesses to run more efficiently during the current pandemic. Those changes also allow the supply chain to always remain prepared for disruptions in the future.
Steps To Building a More Flexible Supply Chain
Recognizing the need for change in supply chain management is the first step. After that, putting those changes into effect is the next step. One way to get the ball rolling is to start adding more suppliers into your regular supply chain. Other steps including sourcing aspects of your supply chain locally and automating tasks when possible. Let’s take a more thorough look at what steps are needed to create and support a flexible supply chain going forward.
Nurture Alternative Shipping Routes
During a crisis, it makes sense that one of the first things affected will be the shipping routes. You can avoid drastic disruptions by creating alternative and sustainable routes. It is critical to building a strong relationship with 3PL’s shipping companies and freight forwarders. These partnerships will keep your supply chain operating like a well-oiled machine. Depending on who your shipping partners are, many of them may already have alternative route options in place. By cultivating your business relationship, you will be able to keep your supply chain in operations with minimal disruptions or delays.
Joint Business Planning
Depending on the size of your business, you may or may not have end-to-end supply chain visibility and planning tools. For those that don’t, now is an excellent time to invest. Partnering with a 3PL with access or expertise in this tech can help integrate S&OP into your business planning model. Pair these processes and information to develop a process with your main suppliers will help you remove critical issues when there is a fluctuation in the supply or demand of your products. A partnership can also help when looking for early signs of fluctuations along your supply chain. Not only will this help your business, but it will ensure the health of each of the key business along your supply chain.
Diversifying Your Suppliers
Investing in a supply chain is already a hefty proposition. As a result, it makes sense to build one that can withstand abrupt local and global changes in customer demand. A strong supply chain infrastructure starts with a diverse base of suppliers. Many companies have become complacent or even dependent upon overseas lower-cost suppliers. While this may have increased the bottom line, disruptions in shipping and international cargo among other problems can have a profound negative effect on a supply chain. Working with a healthy mix of local and overseas suppliers will ensure that you have access to lower-cost options, but also that your supply chain won’t fail in the event of non-delivery.
Flexible Distribution Solutions
Distribution centers are a critical but often overlooked part of the supply chain. Many centers are currently in freefall due to the lack of actual manpower and compliance with health imperatives. Instead of leaving all of your supply in the hands of one packing and shipping source, it is important to work with several distributors or even consider automating the process. 3PL partners can take a more active role in this by offering better warehouse space contracts that can flex with demand and the ability to distribute. Many warehouses run by 3PL’s use automation tools that reduce the need for human workers which can help bridge the game when there is a disruption to the distribution part of your supply chain.
Depending on your specific business, you can consider switching some tasks over to full automation. With many companies still operating on a skeleton crew, if they are open at all, the need for automation is becoming more prevalent. Manufacturing with automation can reduce environmental and health hazards dramatically while also increasing production speeds. This will also cut down other expenses such as costly insurance, frequent sanitation, and more. The labor force is important, but automating simple repetitive tasks can help keep your business open and able to employ workers later down the line.
Cannonball Express Transportation
Cannonball Express Shipping Company has been providing top-of-the-line service at a reasonable rate. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, we provide nationwide refrigerated LTL services, as well as, local delivery services. Contact us today!
Nationwide Shipping Company Services:
- Refrigerated LTL deliveries in the lower 48 states
- Refrigerated Cross dock
Local Shipping Company Services:
- Redelivery Services
- Truckload & LTL Capabilities
- Cross dock
- Warehouse and Distribution capabilities from multiple Omaha Locations