Effective supply chain and logistics systems can make or break a business. A small challenge could unleash a wildfire of inefficiencies. For example, a store has run out of a specific product and has placed a restock order. Without a contingency plan and foresight, product availability would be highly dependent on this single vendor, causing delays and impacting the consumer experience.
More recently, the global supply chain has experienced massive delays in the movement of goods due to the pandemic. In Southeast Asia, for example, container ships may have to wait five to seven days compared to a maximum of two days to unload shipments in Singapore due to congestion at ports, depots and warehouses.
The supply chain and logistics gaps highlighted by the pandemic highlight the need to build resilient, agile and customer-centric supply chains. Soham Chokshi, CEO and co-founder of Shipsy, offers five ways to implement an effective supply chain and logistics management system, as follows:
1. Improve logistics transparency. The supply chain industry operates on low margins. Any logistical delays could impact the supply chain process. As such, having complete visibility into the movement of goods is crucial.
Innovative logistics management tools give businesses granular visibility to increase delivery productivity by eliminating downtime, unnecessary route diversions, unprecedented stoppages, and more. Predictive analytics and advanced reporting help businesses gain advanced visibility into seasonal peaks, changing shipping demands, and more, addressing delays, exceptions, and requirements.
2. Improve collaboration between supply chain stakeholders. For decades, manual processes and siled systems have strained supply chain and logistics processes by hampering fast and efficient data sharing. This lack of visibility leads to inconsistencies in data and leads to inaccurate decision-making.
An advanced logistics management platform updates delivery stakeholders with real-time shipment information. It accelerates resolution by alerting senior management to delivery requirements to help improve decision-making, reduces delivery latency and dramatically improves accountability, saving 34% in soft costs.
3. Boost the customer experience. One negative experience is enough to make customers leave a brand they love. The rise of cross-border e-commerce and increased competition are rapidly changing customer expectations for delivery. For example, 69% of Millennials in Singapore made cross-border purchases in 2020, and the country had the highest percentage of online cross-border purchases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Ensuring inventory loyalty is key to improving the customer experience. Intelligent logistics management tools allow businesses to quickly partner with the most trusted logistics partner to meet inventory replenishment needs to increase on-time deliveries by 24%. These tools also allow customers to be notified of where their order is, who will be delivering it, the exact ETA, if they expect any delays, and more at all times.
4. Optimize costs. Up to 53% of shipping costs are incurred in the last mile, making it the costliest leg of logistics operations. Inefficiencies, such as poor route selection, lack of visibility at ground level, and poor capacity planning, force companies to cut logistics costs.
AI and ML-based logistics management tools enable companies to plot the most cost-effective route to the customer site to reduce last-mile delivery costs by 12%. These tools automate delivery operations, reduce investment in manual effort, optimize fuel consumption and capacity utilization, and much more to reduce the total cost of ownership incurred while performing logistics operations.
5. Achieve sustainability goals. Environmentalism is becoming mainstream. In figures, 57% of consumers are ready to change their buying habits to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Customers are at the forefront of the need to ensure environmentally responsible supply chain and logistics operations.
Going forward, customers are likely to prefer brands that adopt solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Companies should optimize their first, mid, and last mile operations to achieve this. They should focus on reducing distance traveled, increasing first attempt success and planning multiple delivery routes, reducing fuel consumption and improving the utilization of resources and capacities. Smart logistics management tools promote sustainable logistics operations by reducing distance traveled by 5% and decreasing trip volumes by 6%.