Every year comes with its ups and downs, but 2020 has been marked by uncertainty. Supply chain management has been a nightmare, but there are ways to overcome those challenges. As we go into the holiday season, there are strategies to keep in mind if you want to keep your process in working order.
Supply Chain Management Challenges in 2020
Ecommerce ramped up way before Black Friday this year, and transportation services have been taxed all year long. You’ve probably had your share of challenges this year, but are you prepared for continued supply chain disruption, fuel costs, and other challenges yet to come for the holiday season?
Rising Shipping Prices Stress the Supply Chain
Combined with rising fuel costs, in part from clean air regulations, shipping prices are on the rise. Getting your supplies where they need to go at an affordable rate is the single biggest challenge you’ll face through 2020. Carriers have fallen behind due to the combination of increased eCommerce and interruptions in routes through some areas. You can expect shipping prices to be higher this holiday season. That means you’ll need some careful planning to find the most affordable shipping prices.
Supply Chain Data Lacking
There are other challenges you’re likely to face this year too. Data is the backbone of the supply chain, but granular data has been lacking lately. Supply chain disruption usually isn’t included in supplier performance metrics, so if you haven’t collected your own metrics you won’t have much to go on.
You may have thought you understood your supply chain, but when tier 1 suppliers went down, you probably had to rely on tier 2 and 3 suppliers. Unless you’ve done network mapping, you’ve probably never created workarounds to deal with crises like the ones we’ve experienced lately. Without this data, it’s difficult to pivot as needed to keep the supply flow moving. In the latter half of Q4, this data will be vital to getting the products you need to keep your business going.
Lack of Change in Inventory Strategy
Staying the course and using the inventory you always have won’t cut it this holiday season. Traditional strategies and past performance data aren’t going to help you this year. The strategies you’ve been using don’t take into account unexpected events like transportation shortages, soaring prices, or travel bans. You’ll need more than knowledge to manage your supply chain this season. You’ll need what-if analyses and advanced inventory optimization techniques to keep everything running smoothly.
What are Supply Chain Managed Services?
Supply chain managed services are independent companies or software providers that assist in managing your supply chain. They provide analytics and insights to help you optimize your supply chain. They can track and give you notifications about shipments and help you get transportation prices when you need them. Managing your carrier network and providing additional capacity as needed are usually standard.
How Third-Party Providers Can Help with Supply Chain Management
Third-party providers can assist you in a variety of ways. They can give you more accurate forecasts and inventory management. Since they’re more involved in the big picture, they can protect you from inventory shortages when tier 1 suppliers go down. They’re also proactive about finding and resolving supply chain risks.
Third-party providers don’t just mitigate risk. They also help you run more efficiently and save money. They analyze your costs and find ways to reduce what you spend. They have access to more freight management services and can often garner lower prices. They can streamline your ordering process and monitor customer demand to make sure you’re ordering at the right time. Think about a supply chain management provider as the assistant you always wanted.
FMI Can Solve Your Supply Chain Woes
At Freight Management Inc, we can help with your supply chain management. We offer our proprietary My Freight Manager® software. It solves common challenges with order management, carriers, 3PL & vendor management, and billing & invoicing. You’ll also enjoy multimodal shipment support and rating. Our cloud-based TMS package has both online and in-person training, so you can get up to speed quickly. You’ll be able to leverage our technical insight, carrier relationships, and benchmarking data to end Q4 on a high note.
If you import or export containers, you can benchmark drayage rates with Draydex®. Our Draydex system lets you manage rates without endless emailing for rates, writing carrier pricing on paper, doing calculations by hand, or using poorly maintained unstructured spreadsheets. Our “Book Now” feature will save you time while giving you competitive rates. We also have the best spot market index tool. It’s a first of its kind tool built to help you understand what the current spot market commands at each port and ramp.
Let us provide a FREE analysis to benchmark your Truckload, LTL, or Drayage shipments and provide saving estimates.