Strong Partner and Supplier Networks Provide Much Needed Agility During Global Disruptions

When disruption occurs, supply chains become less predictable. Even if you do everything you can to maintain resilience within your own organization, parts of your logistics network might not be as prepared. Having a wide, deep network gives you more optionality when one area of your supply chain lags, helping you minimize disruptions and maintain service levels for your customers.

While we have ample time to prepare for some of these global disruptions (like Brexit), many of them occur suddenly (like the COVID-19 pandemic). With that in mind, it is best to gain a deep understanding of your logistics network, evaluate it, and implement strategies that provide you with enough agility and optionality to maintain operations in the face of disruption.

Network Agility and Deep Visibility Help Prioritize Valued Customers

Network breadth, depth, and performance are imperative to your agility during disruptions. In situations like Brexit and pandemics alike, borders often close and customs become more strict. Many manufacturers change suppliers to avoid unnecessary border crossings. In fact, in 2018 before Brexit even passed, 38% of UK businesses preemptively made changes to their supplier networks. As borders continue to close due to the pandemic, we’re seeing agility once again rise in importance.

One of our customers, a large industrial supply distributor, is seeing an increase in demand for certain items. They’re also experiencing significant disruption due to manufacturing shutdowns in China. With workers in China returning to manufacturing, product is finally starting to move again. This distributor is working hard to allocate orders for existing customers while things get back up to speed.

Ocean shipping from China is not running as usual, so they anticipate capacity limits that will require an upstream analysis into bookings and execution to be certain they can secure capacity and keep their customers happy. Ocean vessel tracking data from project44 shows which vessels are removed from service and know how much capacity has been taken out of the market as a result. We can give customers better potential to track and secure ocean capacity with their suppliers. They can also keep customers better informed of ETAs to help with planning and execution.

Using High-Fidelity Visibility Data to Manage Suppliers and Inventory

Collaboration with suppliers is critical to resilient supply chains. project44’s Collaborative Visibility tool provides customers’ suppliers and trading partners with the ability to easily request data from their suppliers or share data with their downstream customers. This powerful, high-fidelity data enables frictionless collaboration and ensures all stakeholders are operating from a single source of truth.

Another of our customers, a large retail chain with over 15,000 stores in the US, is using our platform to prioritize shipments of their most important items. They’ve done a good job ensuring they have a diverse supplier network, but in order to efficiently manage inventory, product flow, and service levels, they need deep visibility into their network.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, inbound shipments from suppliers and manufacturers are particularly challenging, especially clarifying fulfillment times and allocation. Our visibility data gives them a better idea of disruptions so they can work with all suppliers, carriers, products, and locations together in a networked fashion, then take the steps to fulfill their orders quickly and efficiently. Using this data in a historical context, they can also evaluate their network’s strengths and weaknesses, then strategize to build a network that’s more resilient during similarly disruptive times.

Supply chain disruptions are unavoidable and unpredictable. But the steps you need to take to remain resilient and minimize disruption don’t change. Network strength, high-fidelity data, and the ability to easily collaborate with suppliers provide supply chains with the agility needed to be resilient during uncertain times. Evaluate your network and make sure your strategy is built to minimize unexpected disruptions.

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