As we look to 2021, the phrase “prepare for the unknown” has been stuck in my head. Many people over the past few months have used this phrase as a warning, promising that the supply chain world this year will be extremely unpredictable, even when a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available. This expression could also be a call to dig in and hold on to existing supply chain processes, waiting until the global supply chain picture gets a little less fuzzy before making any substantive investments.
Shippers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) looking to grow their businesses in a rapidly digitized supply chain can’t simply wait around for things to get better. I see “prepare for the unknown” as encouragement to take a hard look at your current transportation technology providers and work with them to develop an agile, streamlined supply chain that can quickly respond to market disruption.
This has been by far the most unstable, challenging and strange year for logistics. There have been many supply challenges across the decades, and shippers, 3PLs, carriers and others have banded together to overcome even the most daunting disruptions, but the duration of the pandemic, and the implications this temporary new normal has for supply chains in the coming years, is drastic.
The pandemic has rapidly increased digital adoption at all levels of the global logistics industry. While concepts like e-freight for air cargo and electronic waybills for trucking shipments have been discussed for years, these industry-wide changes are becoming more of a reality. Frankly, there is now a safety component to document digitization; logistics workers up and down the shipment lifecycle, no matter the mode, don’t want to handle paper documents due to the potential spread of disease. These transformations will make the global supply chain industry safer while also pushing the industry toward the efficiencies derived from innovative technology solutions.
For companies to stay ahead of the changing supply chain world, they should embrace a holistic supply chain platform that seamlessly operates across modes. The most pliant of these solutions are cloud-based and global in scope, meaning that wherever you are, you’ll have your entire supply chain at your fingertips. The best integrated transportation platforms can handle any transportation need at any time by not just providing shipment and order-level visibility but seamlessly offering actions to overcome temporary supply chain chokepoints. Why is cloud connectivity important? Companies that benefit from shared master data like locations, routes, and schedules can implement systems and integrate new partners in the transportation ecosystem quickly and with ease.
When engaging a new technology company, keep in mind the following questions: Read more here