Supply Chain Resilience: 10 Ways to Prepare for the Unpredictable
It’s no longer possible to predict market shifts with any reliability or accuracy, in turn creating a state of near-constant change that requires companies to continually evaluate current conditions and make adjustments as necessary. Not sure if your supply chain processes can deliver the resilience needed to weather future storms? Seeking ways to be more prepared for unpredictable supply chains? These 10 strategies can help.
Ready to digitize and modernize your supply chain operations?
See how Magaya can help.
There’s no way around it: Supply chains are still in a state of disarray.
Freight prices are all over the place, materials sourcing is hit-or-miss at best, and at some ports, delays are getting worse.
As noted by Forbes, the threat of shipping delays is now so worrisome that companies have been placing holiday season orders months earlier than usual to avoid potential problems, adding, “ordering mountains of inventory that won’t be sold for many months is a tricky proposition. It ties up working capital and carries more risk than many companies would prefer to take.” In addition, the consumer price index has risen 8.6%, and 92% of freight transportation, supply chain, and logistics companies say they’ve been affected by inflation… it’s a lot to process.
For logistics service providers like freight forwarders, the last two years have made it abundantly clear that supply chain operations have fundamentally changed. It’s no longer possible to predict market shifts with any reliability or accuracy, in turn creating a state of near-constant change that requires companies to continually evaluate current conditions and make adjustments as necessary.
Not surprisingly, this is both stressful for organizations and frustrates supply chain success. To address the issue, companies need strategies that sound rather paradoxical by taking steps to prepare for the unpredictable. Here’s how businesses can boost supply chain resilience and get ready for whatever comes their way.
- According to Bloomberg, “modest improvements are showing up in gauges maintained by forecasters ranging from Bloomberg Economics to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”
- Automated and digitized processes both reduce the risk of human error and streamline supply chain processes.
Marketing isn’t top of mind for a lot of freight forwarders, so it’s a simple place to start growing your business. Nurture campaigns can help stimulate current customer growth or recapture past customers.
State of the Supply Chain
While delays and shipping prices bounce all over the map, there’s some evidence that these aspects of the supply chain are starting to improve. According to Bloomberg, “modest improvements are showing up in gauges maintained by forecasters ranging from Bloomberg Economics to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”
But other challenges are taking their place. For example, the Bloomberg piece points to a potential slump in consumer demand after a period of steadily-increasing demand, in turn creating an environment where what’s available begins to outstrip what’s wanted by customers. These current conditions make it clear that predicting the supply chain simply isn’t possible. Instead, companies must learn to roll with the punches and make changes as required.
To understand where we are — and what businesses can do about it — it’s worth understanding what happened. Here’s a quick look back at the last three years.
2020 was all about agility. With stable supply chains suddenly straining and breaking without warning, companies needed new, agile approaches that allowed them to stay in business without breaking the bank. For many, this meant supply chain diversity. Rather than relying on single-source suppliers or shipping providers, companies created geographically disparate chains that allowed them to shift suppliers as necessary. It wasn’t an easy transition – but was a necessary one to survive the changing state of public health restrictions.
2021 saw supply chains begin to stabilize and saw the corporate focus shift to resiliency. With diverse supplies and shipping services now in place, businesses began to look for ways to ensure they weren’t caught off-guard again. For many, this meant the deployment and implementation of cloud-based freight forwarding and logistics technology that made it possible to react quickly as supply and demand shifted.
2022 added a third element to the mix: Strategy. While agility allowed businesses to react as circumstances changed and resilience made it possible to better handle in-the-moment issues, strategy offers the potential for proactive decision-making that helps limit the impact of supply chain issues. Combined with agility and resilience, strategy gives companies the ability to stay ahead of unpredictable supply and demand curves.
“2020 – all about agility
2021 – all about resilience
2022 – how do we become agile, resilient, and strategic”
– Mary McNelly,
Sr Director, Global Logistics & Supply Chain Network Design
at Crocs, speaking at TPM22
Supply Chain Resilience Checklist: 10 Strategies to Prepare for the Unpredictable
Not sure if your supply chain processes can deliver resilience? Seeking ways to be more prepared for unpredictable supply chains? These 10 strategies can help:
- Improve Visibility
First up? Companies need improved visibility into supply chain processes. Achieving this goal means collecting and analyzing data in real-time, continually monitoring cargo shipment progress, and providing on-demand data access for clients. The Mayaga Digital Freight Platform offers built-in visibility and tracking to simplify this process.
- Communicate Effectively
Businesses also need a way to communicate effectively across customers, employees, and partners so all relevant stakeholders are part of the information loop. This is often easier said than done, but with Magaya Supply Chain and the Magaya Network, companies can put all stakeholders on the same page with accurate, centralized data.
- Automate and Digitize Manual Processes
Automated and digitized processes both reduce the risk of human error and streamline supply chain processes. Quote Automation by Magaya leverages AI to retrieve quote data, gather multiple rates, and provide access to the best LTL and FTL market rates.
- Build Future Resilience
When supply chain challenges emerge, you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way – even when unexpected delays come up. With Container Tracking by Magaya, you can track your ocean shipment containers across more than 100 sealines faster and more efficiently than ever, all within Magaya Supply Chain.
- Reduce Total Risk
If shipments arrive damaged, or don’t arrive at all, companies can face significant financial losses. Magaya Insurance provides coverage for errors and omissions, cargo insurance, credit insurance, and freight forwarders’ legal liability.
- Stay Ahead of the Competition
The better your customer experience, the more you stand out from the crowd. The Magaya Digital Freight Portal provides a branded, interactive digital experience for customers and partners alike to help boost overall satisfaction.
- Prioritize Client Relationships
The stronger your client relationships, the more likely they are to remain customers over the long term. Using Magaya CRM, companies are able to eliminate redundant processes and foster collaboration across sales and marketing teams to deliver the best customer experience possible.
- Create Nurture Campaigns
Marketing isn’t top of mind for a lot of freight forwarders, so it’s a simple place to start growing your business. Nurture campaigns can help stimulate current customer growth or recapture past customers. Here, Magaya CRM makes it possible to create mass marketing campaigns, qualify leads and get your message heard.
- Put Technology on Your Side
Digital solutions are required to keep up with the pace of supply chain changes — Magaya’s solutions now help more than 2,300 logistics service providers across 104 countries worldwide.
10. Cultivate a Flexible Culture
Technology is an important enabler of agility, resilience, and strategy, but it isn’t enough on its own. Flexibility is essential for an effective response to supply chain challenges. Encourage your team to find creative solutions and use available resources to the fullest. At the end of the day, it takes people, processes, and technology to grow a strong and resilient business.
The Only Constant is Change
The only thing constant about supply chains these days is change. From agility to resilience to strategy, supply chains are rapidly evolving and show no signs of slowing down. To stay competitive under changing conditions, it’s not enough to simply react — organizations must combine historical, current, and future trends to prepare for the unpredictable.
Ready to digitize and modernize your supply chain operations?
See how Magaya can help.