Although it’s a fresh, new year, many global companies and their supply chains in the US have been suffering alongside individuals this winter. Icy, wintry winds and driving snow jammed air traffic and roads in the east, while fires swept across the west, then rains turned major highways into muddy messes with flash floods. All throughout 2017, Mother Nature didn’t pause to worry about the delays and problems she created for shippers all over the globe.
These disasters seem to be more frequent and increasingly ferocious, which is bad news for local and global businesses alike that rely on keeping freight moving in their supply chains. So how do these global companies and supply chains weather Mother Nature’s fury? With better visibility, automation tools, and digital technology, shippers can ensure their operations are efficient, effective, and ahead of the storm clouds of disruption.
Weathering the Storms
Troublesome weather puts a strain on supply chain professionals to ensure inventory availability across a broad network of distribution points, along with the capabilities to get product to the consumer in days (the new norm for some retailers). This puts pressure on each step in the shipment process to ensure reliability and accuracy. Smart logisticians are properly orchestrating the fastest and cheapest means of moving goods from factory to consumer. But it isn’t simple.
Managing each phase of the shipment — from production visibility, to shipment prep and booking, movement of the goods, and tracking last mile delivery — can be extremely complex. Even some large companies struggle with these challenges and the excessive costs that are incurred. This makes visibility and accuracy of rates a critical component of cost management that is often missing.
By centrally managing each milestone in the product lifecycle, shippers have a consolidated view across their supply chain. This can then be shared with globally distributed business units and trading partners. The results include greater cost control, agility to move goods expeditiously, and control tower visibility to mediate risks that occur along the way.
Staying Afloat with Visibility
One of the keys to surviving weather disasters is having better supply chain visibility — so the supply chain can adapt, adjust, and respond when required. Companies can better position themselves by making their supply chains more visible to the infinite number of risks that may become realities.
By identifying the risk immediately and flagging solutions and alternatives, a digitized supply chain leveraging a savvy Global Trade Management system can get companies quickly back on their feet to resume operations. Organizations can bolster their transportation operations and proactively mitigate risk by making targeted investments in areas that:
- Connect all business partners in a single, integrated, cloud-based platform
- Enhance visibility of their supply chains, including second, third, and even fourth-tier suppliers
- Collaborate in real-time via cloud-based platforms
- Improve control of key operational and quality processes
- Enhance agility to improve responses to adverse changes in external environments
As global trade shifts with the changing times, risk management is becoming more important, more time consuming, and more expensive for companies. Digital automation tools will equip companies with the necessary level of visibility and the means to proactively control disruptions before they happen.
While there is no way to avoid what can seem like world-wide disasters, companies that employ the best tools are situated to bounce back quickly and prevent lasting damage to the bottom line.
Gary Barraco, Director of Global Product Marketing, is responsible for developing strategic product marketing direction and presenting the Amber Road brand and solutions worldwide. As the platform evangelist, Gary develops and launches customer insights, go-to-market plans, product messaging and content, and field marketing tactics which establish Amber Road’s solutions as a standard in the Global Trade Management space. Previously, Gary was VP, Industry Development for ecVision for 9 years prior to its acquisition by Amber Road. He has 20 years of active military service where his primary specialty was providing marketing support to Army National Guard recruiting and retention operations in New Jersey. Gary received a BS from the State University of New York and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Moravian College.