Disruption is the new normal in supply chain management. According to JOC.com, “As the peak pre-holiday shipping season looms over US shippers, businesses are scrambling to secure needed capacity while trying to determine transportation budgets for 2021. That is an increasingly tall order in an uncertain economy and transportation market.” To maintain efficiency, supply chain leaders need to understand a few things about how peak freight preparedness always goes back to leveraging shipping data and creating new value through performance management.
The Challenges of Steep Uncertainty at the Height of Peak Season
The 2020 peak season is groundbreaking and represents a massive shift in typical supply chain operations. As the industry ramps up to throughput, the peak season will further be complicated by the uncertainty created with a COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Furthermore, steep uncertainty challenges derive from political uncertainty and a general lack of clear direction for supply chain improvements. Meanwhile, the industry is in the midst of a 75-day peak season, created by Amazon’s recent Prime Day, and e-commerce is at an all-time high. And now, the big three carriers are ramping up their operations to handle the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer is planning to continue reviewing data for several more weeks prior to beginning mass manufacturing. While those factors remain absolute, it is possible to leverage business intelligence solutions, including big data analytics, to unlock added value within the supply chain.
Peak Freight Preparedness Hinges on Efficient Management
Take a moment to think about peak freight preparedness. Peak season shipping preparedness is really about ensuring all systems work smoothly and maximizing throughput. Remember that throughput is the total volume of products picked from warehouse shelves, packaged, and sent out into the logistics web. Integrated systems, real-time visibility, and efficient management by exception are essential processes to enabling the needed level of readiness. And supply chain leaders are actively engaged within supply chain circles to capture revenue wherever possible. It’s time to face the facts. The 2020 peak season is a record-shattering event, as described above. With a vaccine distribution coming, it’s going to make it more challenging for shippers to increase throughput. Major carriers and retailers have already been operating at peak season levels since March. That is the reality created by COVID-19. The only way to manage by exception lies within leveraging automation and data-driven decision-making. Of course, modern supply chain management is anything but simple.
How Supply Chain Leaders Add Value Through Performance Management
Supply chain leaders need a way to unlock peak freight preparedness without necessarily dramatically increasing overhead expenses. That may have been a lofty goal in the past. However, the advancement of software-as-a-service (SaaS) based platforms has allowed all businesses, incredibly small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), to take advantage of advanced resources at a fraction of the cost. Think about it; developing an in-house solution requires resources that a company may simply lack in the age of disruption. Instead, off-the-shelf solutions, such as business intelligence capabilities powered by Intelligent Audit, provide a way to see past the noise of the supply chain and truthfully measure the health of the business. To that end, it helps to have a few tips for adding value through performance management and data-driven decision-making:
- Connect all supply chain systems with advanced capabilities, including APIs and EDI as examples.
- Streamlined data aggregation and cleansing with a proven business intelligence solution.
- Leverage dashboards and industry-leading metrics to make management by exception a priority by looking at what data indicates is happening, will happen, and should happen.
- Data normalization to ensure data-driven insights are based on standards that can be scaled and used to increase supply chain performance and throughput.
- Ensure all chosen metrics are actionable, providing direction for how to improve operations continuously.
- Validate the results of performance management changes with data again.
- Repeat steps one through five.
Leverage the Right Analytics Solution to Capture and Act on Data.
The right analytics solution for your business is not necessarily the most expensive, nor should a business devote unavailable resources to building performance measurement metrics and capabilities. That is especially true during disruption and throughout all peak seasons. This year, supply chain leaders can implement a significant business intelligence solution to enable peak season preparedness, leverage the full power of the SaaS resources, and work with Intelligent Audit. Connect with Intelligent Audit online to get started.