Top Ways to Prepare for Disruption
Though businesses experienced the most unimaginable disruptive year, nearly half a million businesses opened in the U.S. between March 11, 2020 and March 1, 2021.1 This number is encouraging, but there were many, both small and large, that were unable to adapt quickly enough to stay in the game during the pandemic.
When it came to logistics and supply chain management, the biggest challenges were balancing e-commerce demand with store instability, planning and forecasting limitations, and improving efficiencies. The sudden change to life as we knew it accelerated the need for businesses to integrate new technologies, new procedures, and methods of communication with customers never needed before.
The crippling year has taught us lessons that will serve us well as we move into the coming years and face continuing changes. The pandemic certainly emphasized the key role and importance of logistics; so, how do ecommerce businesses use what they’ve learned to plan for unprecedented circumstances?
Managing Digital Transformation
To continue fulfilling customer needs while creating compliant workplace solutions, savvy organizations quickly pivoted to e-commerce and digital models. Processes that may have taken years to implement were accomplished in weeks. Operations shifted to rely on technology and last-mile delivery strategies. Because consumer behavior post-pandemic may not change, digital strategies need to encompass core business operations and processes, thus investments in digital tools need to be made in order to prevail.
Planning for the Continuance of Remote Workforces
Companies had to transform immediately when they were mandated to close their doors. Ad hoc plans were quickly adopted to keep business moving. New work-from-home digital and technological solutions were implemented that resulted in continuity. Given the success, research by PwC found that 78% of CEOs believe that remote work and collaboration will remain after the pandemic.2 As a success differentiator, these CEOs recognize that they need to strengthen their supply chain and logistics operations in virtual environments. The ability to create a safe workplace can also be a differentiator, in terms of both the employee and customer experience. Moving forward, it will be necessary to establish a flexible business and workforce plan.
Production and Distribution Models
With logistics as an essential process of supply chain management, it becomes a deciding factor of where to manufacture and source goods and services. According to a Foley survey, 43% of companies currently operating in China either already have or are planning to move operations to another country, such as the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Vietnam, Brazil or India, to source goods.3 Companies whose logistics process affects profitability will need to optimize routes, anticipate delays, and facilitate tracking and tracing, mode substitutions and inventory rebalancing.
Analysis for Insight
The pandemic has given a new meaning to “hindsight is 2020.” What we’ve learned will provide the greatest insight to better prepare for future crises. Take the time to review your response, best practices, partners, and suppliers. Determining how to improve and then implementing new strategies will better position you for unexpected challenges and opportunities.
Few will downplay the risk of a major economic disruption taking place again. And while we can’t control or predict, we can absolutely be prepared. LJM Group reviews the big picture of your logistics spend. Our experts analyze your operations and overall efficiency, and provide solutions to help offset inevitable increases in shipping costs.