Effectively managing a supply chain is one of the most important things a business can do. Making sure to still provide on-time delivery of products under volatile market conditions helps ensure customer loyalty. It also means being able to bounce back quickly from unexpected events or disruptions in the market.
What we’re describing is supply chain agility, and it’s a key quality of any successful organization. With supply chain stress at its highest level in recent history, organizations must prepare their internal operations to be more flexible. To help, we’ve compiled five strategies to increase supply chain agility.
Invest in Technology
The logistics industry is constantly innovating and inventing more efficient ways of completing daily tasks. This includes improving technology and automation. Technology like Transport Management Systems can ensure inventory is received, stored, packed, shipped and replenished in the most efficient way possible. Plus, the extra transparency makes it easier to analyze data trends and identify opportunities for improvement within the supply chain.
Diversify Inventory Locations
If an organization sources all of its products from one warehouse, a blizzard or natural disaster could easily disrupt their supply chain for weeks, if not longer. Instead, ensure your organization’s inventory and materials are spread out among several distribution centers and suppliers. This will help your supply chain quickly respond to changes in the market and customer demand. Of course, these new partners and locations should be thoroughly vetted so they’re certain to fit well into the existing process.
Knowing the industry means knowing the risk. Supply chains face their fair share of challenges and uncertainties, which means it’s key for everyone involved to help prepare for the unexpected. That starts with doing a risk assessment, securing comprehensive insurance, and implementing robust security measures.
Be Decisive and Act Quickly
This advice seems simple, but it’s absolutely key. The longer a supply manager takes to respond to a disruption in the market, the longer it will take for that supply chain to rebound. Organizations need to have plans in place to utilize diverse locations, resources, and technology quickly. Creating a crisis plan can help take the guesswork out of the process when time is of the essence. After all, the faster the decision is made, the faster your organization’s supply chain can get back on track.
Work with a 3PL
Partnering with a 3PL, like TOC Logistics, can help organizations manage every part of their supply chain. 3PLs handle a lot more than just transportation—they also help with inventory management, fulfillment, efficiency, and even complete supply chain management. This can help by not only optimizing an organization’s supply chain, but also saving time and money. Learn more about the advantages of partnering with a 3PL here.
As 2023 comes to a close, it’s essential to reflect on this year and identify ways that each supply chain can improve in the year to come. If your organization is having trouble identifying those next steps, get in touch with our team. We’d love to help ensure your supply chain is even more agile in 2024.