Embracing Logistics: Strategies for small, medium -sized and large businesses

“A vision without a strategy remains an illusion” – Lee Bolman.

Over the past 12 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has persisted and affected businesses in so many ways. The need for ease in movement of goods is imperative for economic growth.

We highlight some of the challenges faced by businesses in the logistics space since the emergence of the pandemic, some of which are still rife even today.

  • Lack of visibility, collaboration and coordination of real demand and supply. 
  • Wrong supply chain success function shift, which focuses on just cost savings and not revenue-assurance or sustainability.
  • Some supply chain disruption not included in regular supplier performance metrics and such, unplanned for.
  • Most supply chains are still based on reactive or transactional model; and as such, once there is an unexpected thwart or drop in demand, it takes time for it to flow through the multi-tiered supply chain. Therefore, it could take several days or months to adjust supply chains. 
  • Lack of demand for many of the “non-essential” producers and manufacturers focused on production of cars, fashion, or high-tech products etc.
  • Supply chain practitioners were engrossed with unbroken global supply chain that promises “Comfort zone chain” with little or no alternative supply and demand during disruption.

Considering the above challenges, there is need to refine logistics strategies to mitigate harm, with actionable insight for business leaders to adopt into their decision-making processes. Below are some of the strategies that can be implemented:

  • Using Data to Optimize Supply and Delivery

Data-collecting tools can be used to forecast demand, plan production and help companies determine the best supply chain routes and modes of transport, before informing route planning by identifying patterns in delivery times, more efficient routes and type of delivery vehicles.

  • Reconciling Demands for Convenience and Responsibility

The speed and convenience of the delivery windows now expected by some consumers have become inherently unsustainable. Routes are increasingly residential, atomized through more stops and the multiple delivery attempts required for some orders. The intricacy and density of distribution channels has grown exponentially, as more and more delivery options and free returns schemes have been launched.

  • Rationalizing Packaging to Seek Efficiencies

Single-use plastics to send shipments to consumers or warehouses account for significant waste within the industry.

  • Adopt Multi-Modal Transportation and Set Science-Based Targets

Businesses should focus on multi-modal transportation solutions and plan to avoid air freight where possible. Instead, use combinations of transport types, such as rail, road, ocean, barge, and set targets.

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