By Tompkins Solutions
Over the last two years, every link of the supply chain has been impacted by disruptions. Factory shutdowns, parts and labor shortages, port congestion, capacity and space constraints, extreme weather events, trade conflicts and tariffs, and increasing delivery delays and costs have caused unprecedented challenges for supply chains.
With experts predicting many of these challenges persisting well into 2022 and beyond, here are five areas companies can optimize to create more agile supply chains and prevail over disruptions in the new year:
Manufacturing & Supply Networks
While reshoring is a massive undertaking and may not be suitable for all companies, it is important to expand your manufacturing and supply network beyond a single country. Unlike many other apparel makers, Levi Strauss & Co. fared well through disruptions, thanks to a diversified network that spans more than 20 countries. This extensive network not only allows the denim brand to shift production as necessary, but also optimize its supply chain to minimize costs and increase production and delivery speeds.
Distribution & Fulfillment Networks
In today’s unpredictable world, it is no longer sufficient to operate out of a single facility. One bad storm, labor strike or other localized disruption can bring your entire distribution operations to a halt. In addition to manufacturing and supply networks, companies should explore additional ways to expand their distribution and fulfillment networks, such as micro-fulfillment centers, dark stores, ship-from-store fulfillment or even outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider.
Delivery & Pickup Strategies
While Amazon set the two-day shipping standard prior to the pandemic, consumers have now grown accustomed to next- and even same-day delivery. Despite current supply chain challenges, 99% of retailers plan to offer same-day delivery by 2025, up from the 35% that do so today, according to a recent report by Bringg. To achieve this goal, many companies are exploring alternative delivery providers and strategies, including on-demand delivery services like DoorDash and Instacart and in-store pickup options such as curbside pickup and buy online pick up in store (BOPIS).
Technology & Software Solutions
Achieving successful omnichannel fulfillment requires the use of a sophisticated software solution with end-to-end visibility across your entire network of suppliers, warehouses, stores and transportation providers. Access to real-time data enables companies to identify any potential bottlenecks or delays and take proactive measures to minimize disruptions. A comprehensive inventory management system can also provide a full view into your available inventory to determine the best source of fulfillment to reduce delivery times and costs and ensure customer satisfaction.
Warehouse Automation & Robotics
While the right type of warehouse automation will depend on your unique requirements and objectives, mobile robotics are emerging as a popular solution to help companies overcome many of the obstacles facing fulfillment and distribution operations today. In addition to having shorter lead times and lower upfront investments, autonomous mobile robot (AMR) solutions are also flexible and scalable. This enables companies to utilize them in a variety of applications and environments and expand or relocate them as volumes and requirements change.
Check out our other resources to learn more about how to optimize your supply chain operations.
Contact Tompkins Solutions:
Director of Business Development