‘Agility’ is the word that every business is focussing on right now. For many, it was the key to pandemic economic survival. And for most, it’s what keeps a business both vital and profitable. But while we all know that our businesses should be more agile, knowing how to achieve agility can be tricky. Especially in areas where you have a strong reliance on external organisations, such as supply chain, when your business involves sending freight between the UK and Europe.
How to Achieve Supply Chain Agility
What is supply chain agility?
Having agility within your supply chain means that you’re positioned to be able to easily respond to market changes. Be that product availability, customer demand, or broader economic factors – such as Brexit, recession, or a global pandemic! And that means building progressive relationships with vendors, having the ability to change internal processes, and adopting technology that has the potential to help.
Five steps for achieving supply chain agility when sending freight to Europe
1 Review your current supply chain model
For a lot of businesses, supply chain difficulties arise due to complacency. They find a model that works when they’re starting out, then stick to it. Failing to anticipate the potential changes that their business will undergo. Reviewing supply chain procedures and partners on a regular basis is the simplest way to ensure that your needs are being met as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
2. Make use of your data
More than ever before, we’re living in a data-driven world. And that’s partly because we’re in a position to effectively capture and analyse a whole wealth of data that wouldn’t have previously been available. With the right technology, you have the power to fully leverage real-time data to power production, procurement, and accuracy within your inventory. Combined with the employment of historical data to predict sales cycles, this provides the ability to become truly and rapidly responsive to emerging market conditions.
3. Consider automation
There is still some wariness when it comes to automation. But with the Internet of Things bringing new technology across sectors on an almost daily basis, the potential of automation is enormous. And it’s not necessarily about reducing your workforce. But rather, augmenting it. With automated inventory alerts, for example, you have better control of both forecasting and procurement. And this can bring massive benefits to your business.
4. Work with a flexible freight forwarder
One of the most limiting factors when it comes to supply chain can be your freight forwarding partner. If you’re tied into a specific contract, or work with a logistics supplier who hasn’t the range of services to accommodate your changing needs – part-loads, groupage, cross-trade, multi-modal, express, sea, as well as full load road haulage – you can find yourself severely restricted. Spending money where you can’t afford it, or unable to scale to meet demand.
5. Work with your team
When you’re running a business, it’s easy to forget the value that your employees bring. Investing in your team, providing the right – ongoing – training, and talking to the boots on the ground, can bring significant gains. Even old hands – perhaps especially old hands – need refresher training from time to time. Especially when it comes to the integration of new technology. Ensuring that your team not only have all the equipment they need, but the training and understanding, to develop and adapt within the evolving marketplace is essential for the agility of your business.
Agility within your supply chain is integral if you want to stay ahead in a competitive market. It not only enhances your productivity and revenue, but can reduce waste, improve customer service, and deliver a real competitive advantage.
Get in touch to find out how Plexus Freight answer your business’ logistics requirements.