The upcoming holiday shipping season is rapidly approaching. And carriers from all modes, including parcel, are working across all resources to handle the unprecedented demand. As reported by Chris Isidore of CNN.com, “‘There’s no way the parcel carriers are equipped to handle it,’ said Hannah Testani, Chief Operating Officer of Intelligent Audit. She said that people buying gifts online might want to order as early as December 1 to ensure that their packages arrive by Christmas.” However, companies must tackle the issue from the ground up, applying technology and freight analytics to optimize operations wherever possible. Supply chain leaders should think about these peak season shipping tips and further maximize optimization despite uncertainty.
1. Track the Activities Across the Forward and Reverse Supply Chain
Successful supply chain management depends on looking across all activities, aggregating data from disparate systems, and analyzing that data autonomously. That includes working with both forward and reverse logistics data. Remember that the peak season is not merely the peak for forward logistics; it consists of the peak reverse logistics season in the immediate weeks afterward and days shortly before the end of the year. For that reason, companies are using data-driven analytics to understand minimum ship-by and return-by dates and consider peak rate projections.
2. Connect With Suppliers and Carriers Via Portals and Unified Systems
Another valuable way shippers can deploy advanced business intelligence lies in creating scorecards to manage all trading partners. Of course, that further depends on a system’s ability to connect the full supply chain via a single pane of glass. Now, to be honest, the supply chain is still full of disparities. However, advanced analytics can use those connections via carrier and supplier portals to collect data and derive meaningful insights. That includes creating carrier scorecards for inbound routing guide adherence, dynamic rulesets to accommodate changes within the dock schedule, and more. By providing that information in an easy-to-digest or -apply format, companies can further promote self-management among freight management parties.
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3. Measure Performance of Frontline Workers
Every company also needs to measure and track the performance of frontline workers throughout peak season shipping periods. That includes assessing temporary hires for permanent positions, promoting policy- and profitability-driven freight bookings and management, and much more. The insights powered by business intelligence further help avoid micromanaging back-office staff, ensuring your team is responsive and meeting customers’ demands and business-to-business partners.
4. Consolidate and Deconsolidate Freight When It Makes Sense, Based on Data-Driven Insights
Using data to plan remains a critical capability in freight management. And as the industry approaches the peak season parcel apocalypse—at least as it appears right now—the need to convert parcel into larger shipments, including truckload, will increase. However, improper procedures or failure to use data in consolidation/deconsolidation will inevitably lead to higher freight spend and added delays. And if history teaches any important supply chain lessons, customer expectations for on-time delivery are highest around the holidays.
5. Automate Freight Analytics Reporting
And lastly, business intelligence and advanced analytics can automate reporting functions. That ability is of the utmost importance for maintaining collaboration and keeping shareholders in the loop—making it the most important of all holiday shipping tips.
Enable Success With These Analytics-Driven Holiday Shipping Tips
E-commerce is pushing the global supply chain forward at a faster pace than any other in history. And companies of all types are scrambling to find ways to optimize resource use and allocation. Start by following the holiday shipping tips above. And finish strong by choosing an analytics and freight intelligence partner with a proven reputation—Intelligent Audit. Visit Intelligent Audit online to get started today.