The “now economy” raises customer expectations. Products are ready to be ordered with one click, purchases authorized by voice command, and a buy button available directly in your social media feed. Impulse buying is now easier than ever for tech-savvy buyers, but supply chains can be the weak link in getting products to customers quickly. As it is, tech giants like Amazon Prime and Alibaba are getting fast and efficient delivery. But can small businesses hope to keep pace?

Many companies are struggling to keep up. Burdened by the challenges of logistics and physical infrastructure, they are unable to compete in terms of scale, network, capacity and innovation. Additionally, geopolitical disruptions such as Brexit and trade tensions between the United States and China are wreaking havoc on weaker supply chains and smaller teams. However, there is hope. All organizations can foster adaptability and flexibility with an “elastic” approach to logistics, a scalable, consumption-based and always-on approach.

What drives supply chain innovation

For decades, innovation in the supply chain has been driven by a drive to cut costs. However, new research commissioned by BluJay Solutions has found that supply chain professionals expect customer experience to exceed price and product as the number one brand differentiator over the next five years. years.

A change in market behavior means that companies, whether delivering packages, experiences, or any other product or service, may want to start seeing customer satisfaction as a crucial part of delivering value. In the supply chain, this means focusing on all-important last mile logistics, as well as real-time, evidence-based visibility that customer satisfaction is increased through digital communication between supplier and consumer.

Delivering value in this way requires systems that provide seamless partner connectivity and data quality. The technology exists to help businesses adapt to this changing market; it’s just a matter of which companies are ready and willing to rework their priorities.

A good example of this is Danone, a leading global food company that has partnered with BluJay to meet growing customer demands and the complexity of today’s rapidly changing marketplace. As customer demand increased, Danone needed a way to deliver products to supermarkets as quickly and efficiently as possible. This meant tracking hundreds of loads daily at three manufacturing plants, six distribution centers, and liaising with numerous trucks from third-party carriers.

The challenge was to coordinate the above while meeting customer requests for better scheduling options and increasing on-time delivery windows. With guidance from BluJay, Danone moved from outdated processes and systems like fax and phone communication between siled departments to BluJay’s Transportation Management Solution (TMS) which allowed real-time visibility between moving parts.

Danone leveraged the power of data captured in its TMS to support scheduling, execution, claims and appointment scheduling, enabling end-to-end control and visibility across the entire process. supply chain.

As the Danone case study illustrates, having an optimized supply chain enables tracking systems to update both businesses and customers, while data-driven collaboration between partners logistics helps ensure that the goods can be moved efficiently. Instead of focusing on ‘lean’ practices, logistics providers should look to flexible systems to scale up and downsize, adapting to changes in demand within the supply chain.

How to reduce geopolitical uncertainties?

As it stands, global customs and compliance can be a challenge for businesses. Add to that political disruption, like U.S.-China trade tensions or post-Brexit chaos, and there is prolonged uncertainty for the supply chain community. Supply chains can overcome such barriers with end-to-end supply chain visibility to help mitigate disruption.

A good example of this is the current trade tension between China and the United States, which has spurred a surplus of soybeans and other high-volume exports previously consumed by China for the United States. The ripple effect of this reduced the price that U.S. producers will be able to get for their produce, creating a spiraling effect where farmers were unable to meet their financial obligations, reducing related industry purchases such as equipment and probably leading to more government grants to keep them afloat. Here, the ripple effect has resulted in increased manufacturing costs and steel tariffs, encouraging companies to implement changes in their supply chain.

With rising tariffs and instability, many US multinationals are turning to alternative sourcing in countries like India. Here, navigating India’s complex tariffs, which vary by product, user, and specific export promotion program open at administrative discretion, makes supply chain predictability a task. difficult.

Why are elastic logistics solutions the answer?

Disruptions, whether political, environmental or technological, have a direct negative effect on modern supply chains. However, logisticians may also see it as an opportunity to expand or diversify their footprint. For example, with the Sino-American trade tensions, we see companies turning to Vietnam or Indonesia. But how can companies build their supply chains to withstand disruption and take advantage of growth opportunities that may arise?

The answer: to become “elastic”. Modern supply chains require flexibility to manage fluctuations in consumer demand and disruptions, like the aforementioned scenarios. There is no doubt that operating in a static, closed on-site transportation solution limits what an organization can achieve. The use of elastic logistics practices comes with efficiency, visibility, the ability to scale and optimize quickly and increase overall customer satisfaction.

An important step in achieving an elastic supply chain is to be part of a network, where logistics software applications are connected to a global trading network. The power of the network lies in its ability to bring clarity and visibility to everything that is happening in the supply chain, while providing on-demand connections to potential operators who have execution capabilities when needed.

For example, when partnering with BluJay, customers benefit from a portfolio of cloud-based application services, hands-free functions, real-time data analytics, as well as visibility and speed. to adapt quickly. This includes access to a network that spans over 40,000 members worldwide, including shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, suppliers and 3PLs, which can be easily leveraged following increased consumer demand. or unexpected disruption.

Global transportation management platforms designed for this type of network connectivity can scale with your business, helping experts create frictionless, high-performance supply chains where goods cross borders quickly, information is shared easily, users operate efficiently and operating costs are reduced.

Every business should consider an elastic approach

Many organizations will think that because they don’t have a modern website or use the latest social sales channels, elastic logistics is not for them. They will assume that having a supply chain optimized for the “current economy” is only for those at the forefront of modern e-commerce. But business is changing and the customer experience is more important than ever. Those who do not wish to modernize their processes and systems could become the Kodaks and Topshops of this world: unfit to operate in a rapidly changing and rapidly changing business landscape. The winners of the “now economy” may well be those who put customer experience first and use elastic logistics to easily adapt to fluctuating consumer attitudes.

Jan-Paul Boos is SVP Sales, BluJay Solutions

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