How to Make Your Supply Chain More Agile
Every company that transports goods appreciates the need for agility within their supply chain. For those who don’t know, supply chain agility is the ability for a supply chain to respond effectively to unforeseen circumstances, whether it be environmental, economic, customer, competition, governmental, or a combination of all five.
While most companies understand the need for supply chain agility, not everyone knows how to implement it successfully. Here at LTX, we have the knowledge and expertise needed to apply supply chain agility, through working with our large portfolio of customers. When looking to make your supply chain agiler there are four factors to keep in mind that we are going to delve into, which are awareness, user-friendliness, reaction speed, and adaptability.
Awareness refers to the ability to identify both internal and external opportunities and threats for a company’s supply chain. Awareness is massively important for recognizing problems and potential areas of competitive advantage. If a company never identifies these factors than creating an agile supply chain becomes next to impossible. Think of it like attempting to hit a target that you can’t even see. You first must know where to apply resources before you see any benefits.
There are a few ways companies can boost their supply chain awareness. One way is to improve data capture through a strong TMS. This allows companies to drill down into the details of their supply chains and identify areas of improvement.
A second way is to perform regular SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analyses. This type of analysis provides a formulaic structure for identifying areas of interest within a supply chain.
A final method to improve supply chain awareness is to pool resources and expertise from every level and department of your organization. Everyone from the CEO to the lowest guy on the totem pole. Doing this will provide a full picture of the company’s supply chain from every angle. Information or viewpoints that normally would never have been considered can now be analyzed and applied.
This category may seem a little self-explanatory but it is incredibly important to create a user-friendly supply chain. By this, we mean creating easy to access methods of acquiring and viewing supply chain data.
Creating an easy to use interface can improve both efficiency and time utilization. Ease of use can be the determining factor in responding to a problem or opportunity with a limited time window.
Companies can create a more user-friendly system by building their own proprietary software, tailor-made to their specific needs. However, this process can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. It may be easier to simply outsource software from a reputable 3PL. Redwood Logistics, for example, possesses a variety of customizable software solutions that can create a much more streamlined user experience.
The ability to quickly respond to opportunities and threats is oftentimes the only difference between a failed business and a Fortune 500 juggernaut. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the speed of reaction for an organization’s supply chain. First, you must have the awareness to identify the opportunity or threat (as discussed above). Only after can you respond in a quick fashion.
Supply chain speed is dependent on a company’s leadership being open to new and inventive solutions to problems. If a company’s leadership is stagnant and stuck in past methods than reaction time will be slow. Just like how the human body follows the head, a company will respond swiftly if the leadership is able to quickly react.
Adaptability is the ability of a company to modify its solutions to meet a variety of unique problems and opportunities. The ability to adapt is oftentimes dependent on many of the factors we discussed above, such as leadership flexibility and supply chain awareness. This could be thought of as the end goal for a supply chain agility implementation.
Companies that can adapt faster to a variety of internal and external factors will have a significant competitive advantage over their industry peers. Adaptability can be further improved by outsourcing to a reputable 3PL. For example, Redwood possesses the technology and expertise to provide a wide variety of custom solutions for our clients.
Supply chain agility is a crucial factor for a company’s continued success. Four important factors to consider when attempting to improve supply chain agility are awareness, user-friendliness, reaction speed, and adaptability. Companies that perform well in all four metrics are poised to drastically improve supply chain agility and gain competitive advantages within the marketplace.
If you have any further questions regarding supply chain agility or any other transportation topic, Redwood Logistics would be more than happy to answer them. Redwood Logistics has over 100 years of combined industry experience and knowledge. If you would like to take the next step and revolutionize your supply chain, contact us today!