Things change. In fact, it’s basically the only constant you can rely upon. If you think you have the perfect recipe for your supply chain and lock it in place, it could all come crumbling down the moment something changes unexpectedly. But flexibility can help reduce these risks and even create new opportunities for your business. Here’s how:
When plans go awry (and they will), you want to have flexibility built into your supply chain to bounce back without disrupting more of your service. One great way to make this possible is by having a rework services provider as part of your team. Rework teams can make simple repairs, repackage for better branding, provide third-party quality control, create kits for customizable products and more without needing to ship back to the manufacturer. This can save valuable time and new opportunities to revitalize existing product lines.
Allow for Adjusted Timescales
Most supply chains begin at the manufacturer with a stopover at a warehouse to wait until the products have been ordered or perhaps to serve as safety stock to avoid a lengthy backorder in the case of an unexpected surge in demand. Other supply chains employ just in time manufacturing and rely upon cross-docking services to immediately send their product out upon arrival. But each of these supply chain strategies have their downfall: increased warehouse costs and increased risk of delays, respectively. But utilizing a balanced approach with some warehousing and the ability to add on cross-docking quickly in the case of a tight turnaround will cover your business on both sides.
Diversify Modes of Transit
When building a comprehensive logistics strategy, it’s important to work with partners that have the experience and capability to utilize roads, railways, skyways and the sea alike. You don’t want your freight caught short the next time there’s a dock strike or an emergency like when the Suez Canal was blocked earlier this year. Keeping your supply chain running on time means keeping flexible opportunities open so you can change gears quickly in the face of the unexpected.
Expand Worker Capabilities
Even a great worker doing their best can’t provide 100% of their abilities all of the time. They’re human. They need rest, and bodies change day to day. This is even more apparent with the aging truck driver workforce across the United States. A lot of safe and competent drivers can’t load and unload like they used to, but working with a lumping service partner on days when the load is too great can protect these workers’ careers. Not only can it speed up your supply chain on hard days, it can delay the search for a new truck driver to replace them by giving them flexibility as well.
Basically the point each of these paragraphs are making and the primary reason to create flexibility in your supply chain is to reduce the risks your business is taking at each checkpoint of your product’s journey to your customer. You don’t want to be stuck holding unnecessary expenses. You don’t want your supply chain immobile in the case of an emergency, and you don’t want to risk your customer relationships by providing less than optimal service. Creating flexibility can help you do that.
In logistics, just like in life, plans change suddenly and without warning. You want to work with a supply chain partner committed to flexibility to help you overcome new obstacles quickly and efficiently.