FUTURE-PROOF YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN
At the start of a New Year it’s nice to sit back and think about what the future might hold. It’s a great opportunity for a fresh new outlook on the way you work and the strategic direction of your business. The old cliche, New Year, New Me, is a great way to look at it. With the economic outlook seeming as bleak as it has ever done, now is the perfect time to seize that moment and focus on innovation.
You name it, the logistics industry and supply chains have felt it. Lingering effects of the pandemic, extreme weather, the war in Ukraine, stock shortages, employment uncertainty. The need to acclimatise and evolve to help mitigate disruptions should be at the forefront of any business.
These challenges can present an opportunity for you to look at the way you run your supply chain and how you can future proof it going forward. We’ve highlighted some steps you can take to help you overcome any challenges 2023 might throw at you.
FAILURE TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL
Future-proofing your supply chain refers to the process of preparing and adapting operations to anticipate and respond to future disruptions and changes in the business environment. One of the key strategies for future-proofing your supply chain is to increase flexibility and agility. In doing so can help you adapt to a climate that is becoming more and more unpredictable.
This can firstly be achieved by implementing just-in-time (JIT) inventory management systems, which allow for the rapid adjustment of inventory levels based on changes in demand.
“A JIT system helps businesses optimise the production process by making sure that materials & supplies are delivered at the exact moment they are needed. This approach is particularly popular in the automotive industries, as it helps reduce inventory & reduces waste. It’s also handy for construction to minimise the amount of materials stored on site & decrease the labour required to manage inventory – something we do regularly. Using JIT, Baxter Freight have built supply chain and logistics systems to ensure consistency & an advantage for many of our customers in a range of industries across the world.”
– Dan Myers, Associate Director, Account Management
Additionally, companies can use digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor and optimise supply chain operations in real-time.
Artificial intelligence makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks whereas the Internet of Things describes anything from your smart home set up and the Fitbit on your wrist all the way to a fully automated warehouse. In a nutshell, it is objects with sensors, processing ability and other similar technologies that exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
Utilising these tools can help you stay on top of your competition.
Another important aspect of future-proofing the supply chain is to diversify and reduce dependence on a single supplier or region. This can be achieved by building a diverse and resilient supplier base, as well as by establishing multiple sourcing and manufacturing locations. This can help to ease the risks of supply chain disruptions caused by natural disasters, political instability, or other unforeseen events.
Sustainability is also becoming increasingly important for future-proofing the supply chain. Companies can reduce their environmental impact by implementing green supply chain management practices, such as using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable sourcing.
Remaining diligent and compliant on a global scale and keeping up to date on trade compliance is just another way to keep your supply chain future proof. Using an effective global trade management system means businesses can circumvent complications that can harm brand reputation and incur costly fines. Complying with domestic and international trade laws like import compliance and export compliance is something that our in house 24/7 Customs experts and Customs partner Gerlach specialise in. Having an AEO accreditation alongside the partnership with Gerlach means we can benefit from a lower risk score which may reduce the number of checks and delays and give us priority status for customs controls.
In conclusion, the current climate we are in presents a massive learning opportunity. Future-proofing your supply chain requires a combination of strategies that increase flexibility, agility, diversification, sustainability, and security. Companies that take a proactive approach to future-proofing their supply chain will be better equipped to anticipate and respond to disruptions and changes in the business environment.
So in this fast paced digital environment, the question you need to ask yourself is how can I make all of this work for me?