The U.S. supply chain control program hasn’t been more important than right now.
Before we delve in, my name is Chris Cashin, and I decided to begin writing in Forbes to discuss a number of the vital pieces of information vital to the present situation I’ve learned over the past decade as a transport and logistics industry insider.
This gave me a foundational understanding of the way the authorities and the public might respond to a global pandemic, as well as the fundamentals of working in a supply chain environment. My joint experience in both of these areas and my current experience as CEO of a logistics and shipping company makes this pandemic much more personal to me.
The easy truth is that U.S. supply chains are running, but they are sluggish because they have lost staff whilst viewing rapid and significant increases in demand and desire.
Most supply chains operate reactively, meaning if everything is functioning, there is no reason to fix it. That is until nationwide essential supply needs have taken hold, and then the responsive process gets underway.
The slowdown is not because we’re from essential goods, food or another type of product you would order online or purchase at your regional grocery store. We’re seeing a reactive supply chain sluggishly browse its circumspect in an unprecedented avalanche of need. This results in supply lines being stretched thin, higher demand and trucks running on the street.
What can you do to keep your company’s supply chain and shipping/logistics network chugging along?
1. Rethink Your Supply Chain
As of mid-March, more than 94% of distribution chains had undergone some disruption. So, there is a good chance yours has been affected too — but only to a certain extent. By exploring options with other new carriers, delivery solutions and fulfillment centers, you need to have the ability to discover a speedy remedy or backup capability, even if it’s just a short-term Band-Aid.
2. Expand Supplier And Vendor Options
By obeying the methods you are using for provides, your vendors and their geo-proximity to your warehouses and fulfillment facilities, you can stay on top of this curve. As foreign suppliers ramp up inbound shipments, there are likely several choices you can explore which are cost-effective and workable. In the meantime, this may require some negotiating and digging on your part to procure new supply chain options.
3. Consider Using New Technology
There is a possibility your technology is restricting your ability to manage key elements of your transport, supply chain and infrastructure. Dated shipping software, for instance, may not be as flexible with multiple carrier options and could restrict your ability to ship locally, regionally or via connected warehouse/fulfillment hubs which can enhance your efficiency and precision and lower transport costs at precisely the same moment. Rethink the technology you’re using, and incorporate an approach that will help you deliver to more people on time.
4. Audit Your Shipping Rates
Having been engaged in transport, logistics, supply chain management and e-commerce for the greater part of the past 15 years, I will tell you flat out: You should audit your shipping rates a couple of times per year. This is especially true when funds are constrained, a distribution chain is finicky and on-time satisfaction ratios are harder to attain. By doing a little research and reaching out to various shipping partners, you may drastically reduce your overhead cost. Doing this will let you bring another unique value proposition for your customers.
5. Be Honest With Your Clients
It’s a hard world out there for everybody at this time. If you want to retain the faithful customer base you’ve spent years earning, honesty is the first step. Make sure that delivery times are accurate and that you just post out-of-stocks immediately, particularly on essential items. Ensure that your customers know that you just run a clean, safe facility and consider publishing a live blog or article on your website that keeps them informed of the extra precautions you’re taking.
During unprecedented times like these, most of us must step up. Unity is what brings us together as a society and as human beings. This also means that the e-commerce industry is the mainstay for the vast majority of people while we adjust to new ways of doing business and living our own lives. The right strategy in these tough times can have a positive effect that helps your customers, partners and employees — and your bottom line.