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Navigating the new supply chain

Navigating the new supply chain

Gone are the days of ordering from the Sears catalog and driving to a Sears location to pick up your purchase a week or more later. It’s been more than 25 years since the mail order catalog went out of business and since then, the art—and science—of ordering and receiving products has become an intricate, ever-changing process.

It’s no secret how consumers order and receive products is rapidly changing, seemingly every day. There is no other time in recent history when an efficient supply chain is paramount to success. Industry leaders often refer to the “new” supply chain and in many ways, it is new. The way we get items from point A to point B is nothing like has ever been done before.

We shared recently how manufacturers are working to take more control of their own supply chain. A growing number of stores of all sizes are also offering delivery services, and the Internet of Things (IOT) is making it more efficient than ever before to track packages from the manufacturer through the warehouse to the final customer.

What’s the driver for supply chain changes?

We almost don’t need to answer the question of what is driving the need to reimagine the supply chain. E-commerce has made last mile delivery a booming business. It’s also led to many companies looking for the best ways to deliver products to their consumers instead of figuring out ways to get their customers to come to their physical store.

But the driving factors are a bit more complicated than that. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, new technologies make rapid fulfillment more possible therefore demanded, and changing regulations all make the supply chain more complicated than ever before.


Ways to navigate the new supply chain

There is no one sure answer for how to navigate the supply chain but keeping a few principles in mind will help any company adjust more rapidly and be more sustainable in the changing logistics environment.

Look at the big picture-Many experts are now looking at the supply chain more as a web or network than a straight line.  It’s also important to look at the supply chain from a big picture perspective such as realizing how it operates from start to finish instead of a given company only focusing on their piece of the puzzle.

Use data to make decisions-Having EDI to make shipments more accurate and efficient isn’t enough. Using data to measure every aspect of the supply chain including manufacturing time, delivery time, costs associated with each piece of the supply chain, etc. What’s even more important is, use the data! The use of big data will make your operations more effective and profitable. No operational decisions should be made without data to back up the direction change.

Use core values to remain nimble-Does your company have core values? Even if they are not written down somewhere, hopefully you have some form of values that drive how you work with customers. Take, for example, blacksmiths in the 19th century. Some of those companies are still around more than 100 years later but they make high-tech tools, not horseshoes. They remained responsive and maintained a values-focused company that allowed them to make changes that evolved with the changing times.

Need help?

At On Time Logistics, we have learned to adapt our company to respond to changing logistics needs. Our premiere last mile delivery, white glove, and warehousing services make us the choice of many companies throughout Northwest Arkansas and Little Rock. We would love to talk with you how we can help you provide higher quality service through excellent supply chain management.

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