Multiple supply chain disruptions across the last two years have created challenges for logistics professionals. The ongoing pandemic, military conflicts, material shortages, driver shortages, trade wars, and numerous other issues mean the globalized supply chain is unlikely to stabilize anytime soon. As a result, many businesses are using new strategies to get ahead of these disruptions. Let’s take a look at strategies to speed up your supply chain in 2022 and beyond.
How to Speed Up Your Supply Chain In 2022
Data offers greater visibility, which can help to predict busy times and delays, as well as optimize operations overall. Data can also help you choose the best option(s) to react to in unexpected situations. Harnessing supply chain data may involve software or specialized data analysts or both. With the right analysis, you can speed up your supply chain using data by utilizing inventory projections, scenario planning, cost modeling, optimal delivery planning, employee scheduling, and more.
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In order to reduce risk, many businesses are reducing the scope of their supply chain via reshoring. By moving production, manufacturing, assembly, or raw materials operations closer to central operations, you may increase some costs; however, you are also able to speed up movement throughout your supply chain. Businesses who move operations back to a home country or original location can understand and react to destabilizing events more easily and precisely. By reducing the overall area your supply chain covers, you reduce transit costs, as well as the chance of disruptions from localized instability elsewhere in the world.
Some transit modes are more susceptible to risk and instability than others. By assessing alternative shipping routes, you may be able to speed up your supply chains in 2022 and avoid risk. For instance, when it comes to land transit, rail shipping is generally more reliable and less prone to destabilizing events than trucking. Since rail cars travel on a fixed route with fewer supply and demand swings, they are generally less susceptible to break-downs or labor shifts.
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In some cases, moving parts of the supply chain closer to home or finding alternative routes is not an option. If this is the situation you discover yourself in, you might find yourself captive to a small group of suppliers or manufacturers and as a result have started to look for alternative resources. In other cases, spikes in demand or drops in supply have caused sharp increases in price, encouraging businesses like yourself to look for alternatives. Many businesses have experimented with alternatives to lumber, plastics, concrete, and even computer chip materials. Since many traditional materials are also costly for the environment, exploring alternative resources can also present marketable sales points to reach new audiences.
Work with Carriers
To ensure shipment orders are met, consider taking the time to collaborate with truck carriers to develop a plan that works around the carrier’s driver capacity. Shippers that provide quicker loading and unloading times, more flexibility, and driver amenities tend to win the favor of carriers. Furthermore, shippers utilizing rail may be able to improve service with their rail carriers via the transitioning shipments from truck to rail. For example, an increase in rail activity may increase the frequency that a shipper’s plant site is serviced.
Supply Chain as a Service
Increasingly, businesses are handing off important functions to other experts to leverage their expertise and connections. One example of this which is becoming increasingly popular is supply chain as a service. Aided by tools and cloud computing software, supply chain experts can optimize procurement, production, manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, or daily operations according to your business’s needs. Utilizing these services can help to reduce your costs while also improving supply chain speed in 2022.
Supply Chain Software
However, working with supply chain experts is not an option for all businesses. If this is true for your business and situation, consider utilizing supply chain software. Supply chain software can help many businesses speed up supply chain operations and reduce costs by offering detailed data analysis tools. The right supply chain software can help you and other supply chain professionals assess vulnerabilities, predict problems, navigate optimal routes, track, and resolve delays, and more.
Experts predict supply chain issues will continue through 2022 and are unlikely to improve any time soon. Exploring alternative routes, materials, software, and management strategies can help you improve your supply chain stability long-term and give you the ability to react to problems with more flexibility. If parts of your supply chain have become increasingly expensive, delayed, or difficult to manage, reassess and consider what changes might be possible.