Supply Chains are only ever as strong as their weakest link. However, in reality some of those links have a greater impact on the overall success of the supply chain than others. Perhaps the most notable is logistics, the end point of each stage, and crucially, the end point of the entire stage. You might have the most efficient supply chain processes in terms of technology and manufacturing, even storage and collaboration, but if you don’t have logistics and shipping in hand then the whole chain suffers.
Shipping efficiency is absolutely imperative for a successful supply chain. Goods and parts must be shipped on time, speedily, cost-effectively and with reliability. Worryingly, it’s this very stage of the supply chain that is possibly not keeping up with the times, and according to a PWC report, specifically failing to implement and utilise technology that could make shipping more efficient.
Furthermore, a survey undertaken by Adigital, showed 92% of respondents reported that “error-free, on time shipping, is the top way to set a company apart from its competitors”. You can understand this on a personal level, when you order a product you don’t care about the process that manufactures the product, you simply care that it will arrive in good working order, quickly – on time.
How to Ensure Shipping Efficiency in Supply Chains
Looking at supply chains where shipping efficiency has been perfected can show where improvements can be made. There are some key factors to try to emulate, or bring on board, with your supply chain:
- Look Outside Your Organisation: When it comes to shipping, it is very much an area of expertise all in itself. Therefore, it can make efficient sense to outsource it. Those specialising in logistics have a key advantage – size. They can utilise their power and experience to ensure your goods are delivered in a safe and timely manner, and benefiting from economies of scale. By outsourcing fulfilment, you are freed up to focus on key elements higher up the supply chain. However, this is where collaboration is critical – you must outsource wisely and carefully.
- Remove Silo Thinking and Processes: Logistics elements of supply chains are renowned for their silo mentality. Breaking these down is a key way to improve efficiency in logistics and therefore throughout the chain.
- Lead from the Top: Logistics must be managed to ensure that there is continual responsiveness based on analytics, capability and capacity. Therefore, it is essential to have knowledge and understanding to confidently implement technological solutions that enable them to track, analyse, change and respond. In practice this looks like logistics of the future where not just fleets are GPS tracked, but individual items and data is reported and analysed.
Shipping Efficiency Equals Successful Supply Chains
Successful supply chains are those that give credence to every single link in the chain, with no stone unturned. Sometimes inefficient areas of the chain can be absorbed by greater efficiency in other areas. This isn’t the case with logistics. Here, efficiency is paramount and needs to be ensured.