As customers—and the supply chain itself—evolve, solutions require innovation and responsive partners
Deep into 2021, the supply chain is new terrain in many ways. Competition has increased, along with customer demands for increased responsiveness and reduced risk.
But it’s not enough to merely implement the newest technologies and innovations to safeguard against disruption—warehouses and distribution centers must partner with the right solutions providers as well.
Meeting Rising Customer Demand
One major contributor to future disruption is that companies and organizations all along the supply chain are finding it increasingly challenging to meet rising customer demand. Customers today are asking for more, and now they want their suppliers to be responsive around the clock. And as warehouses and distribution centers forge ahead, they know that if they can’t meet this ever-increasing customer demand, then their buyers will seek satisfaction elsewhere.
This evolution of the supply chain has several key implications. The intersection of the physical and digital realms means that omni-channel sales and distribution are shaking up warehouse logistics, operations and capabilities.
What’s more, the “Amazon effect” has cemented the desire for real-time inventory access and immediate fulfillment for virtually every industry and for all steps in the manufacturing and distribution cycle. As a result, distribution centers must increase their accessibility and speed up their fulfillment time.
This translates into customers wanting greater visibility in the entire process rather than a simple “expected delivery date.” They want to know exactly where in the process their order is, and they want to be able to access this real-time info 24/7.
But how do you make this all happen for a warehouse or distribution center operation?
Key Steps to Counter the Amazon Effect and Guard Against Disruption
There are a few key steps to smoothing out product flow, improving fulfillment, and increasing a warehouse or distribution center’s overall efficiency—and ultimately guarding against disruption.
1. Implement New Technology and Digital Innovation
This first step may seem obvious, but it’s more nuanced than that. To successfully roll out new technology and the latest digital innovations, you’ll need to complete the following checklist:
- Have an omni-channel fulfillment strategy. Whereas in the past only retail consumers would order products online, today all customers are ordering through multiple channels—and checking the delivery status that way as well. Customers should feel empowered to use whatever channel works best for them, whether through a telephone call or an online ordering system. At a minimum, make sure your web experience is optimized for mobile.
- Implement material handling automation equipment and software. You can’t compete in the digital era if your employees still “hunt and pick” aisles of inventory on a rolling ladder. You need to automate inventory tracking and retrieval. There is a surprisingly wide array of ways to modernize your system, and many options provide a clear and quick return on investment.
- Track and analyze data. Going digital doesn’t just give you real-time inventory tracking. Good data and predictive analytics can track return trends, increase security, anticipate seasonal flux before it happens, and much more.
2. Strive to Reduce Risk
A huge part of being disruption-resistant is being able to reduce risk—and to do that, you must accurately identify and assess your current risk. Next, look for any and all supply and delivery alternatives. Your overall mission is to strengthen your relationships with these vendors while learning which providers could be the top alternative sources.
In doing this, you’ll have greater ownership of logistics processes and a greater ability to adapt when a quick change is needed.
3. Partner with the Right Supply Chain Solutions Provider
You need solutions that enhance your inventory control, improve your efficiency and speed, and bolster your customer service. You need real-time inventory management, and the insight and agility that come from employing predictive analytics.
To accomplish all that, you need to work with a supply chain solutions provider that has a consultative mindset. A company that will listen to you, seek to understand your unique situation, and then partner with you in finding the best long-term solutions—rather than sell you the latest trade-show equipment and software.
And as a result, you’ll be better able to overcome disruption.
IndPro Services, a leader in U.S. Federal Government and commercial systems procurement, provides efficient, innovative, and results-driven solutions. Dedicated to improving efficiency in warehouse and distribution center operations, we work on the same side of the table with you to help you procure the best possible solution for your specific application.
Be Confident Your Organization Can Handle Large-Scale Supply Chain Disruptions
To better guard against future supply chain disruptions, contact IndPro Services today. We can help you figure out the most efficient, cost-effective, and disruption-proof solutions for your organization.