With the ongoing world crisis brought on by war, inflation, rising fuel prices, and the threat of the 4th wave looming on the horizon, global logistics and supply chains are once again facing several challenges. But taking these in its stride, the sector has been evolving, leveraging technology and the lessons from the pandemic, that have now become the foundations for the new normal – optimization and agility.
One of the key learnings of the pandemic has been that of preparedness and resilience in the face of challenges and agile supply chains have been an answer to that. Through tech adoption and effective use of resources, the sector can now, more than ever before, rise up higher to meet the current demands of the new business ecosystem, right from e-retail, no contact deliveries, reverse logistics, dark stores, and the surge in temperature-controlled storage and transport. However, these efforts would not be complete unless optimization, as a key disruptor, is practiced at the group level.
Listed here 5 key factors that can help logistics and supply chain service providers to streamline operations and drive efficiency:
Optimization of Resources: By effectively leveraging emerging tech like AI and Big Data, it is possible to ensure resources – both human and capital, are adequately optimized. From mapping the shortest routes, enabling efficient last-mile deliveries, and real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments, to ensure better inventory management, staffing, and scheduling of warehouse and transport staff as well as, tech adoption can help enhance productivity and efficiency, at lower costs.
Consolidation of Shipment: In the case of interstate and international shipments, leveraging route optimization and real-time tracking along with the consolidation of shipments can go a long way in reducing overheads and ensuring timely and efficient movement of goods. This is especially true in the case of cargo that needs specialized transport conditions like controlled temperatures, as this can help tremendously optimize time, costs, and operations.
Regional Hubs: One of the key aspects of an agile and optimized supply chain network is the regionalization of national/ state level logistics hubs. The wider the regional network, the more robust the supply chain. The current government directive of building Logistic Parks near ports and airports is a great step in this direction. But this also needs to be supplemented with individual efforts where businesses and logistics service providers can create wider access to localized storage and supply chain hubs so as to enhance reach and supply.
Localized and Flexible Workforce: Employing a local workforce, with flexible shifts, including work from home or remote working options for office staff, can be vital to ensure business continuity and operational efficiency as it cuts down risks of attrition while ensuring trained staff continues to work and grow with the company, helping build agility while building a skilled and stable workforce.
Effective Supply Planning: One of the key aspects of a supply chain is effective demand and supply planning. When building effective agile supply chains, one needs to take into account the changing consumer demands, reassess the possible supply burdens and constraints and prepare a contingency by leveraging effective warehousing infrastructure. By ensuring the well-planned and strategic movement of goods and ensuring localized warehouses are equipped to offer easy access to the market, one can help mitigate the possible demand-supply crisis, thus supporting a strong and agile network.
Even as the world is coming to terms with the ongoing challenges, logistics, and supply chains are evolving rapidly to not only address the current scenarios but to rise up to and be prepared for future crises. Needless to say, tech adoption is at the center of these fast-paced developments and while AI, ML, blockchain, and big data innovations are all transforming the sector, it is a key ground-level shift in operations that will ultimately help to create robust agile supply chain networks in the future.