Last year, nearly every carrier experienced significant operational disruptions. Fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic was to blame for backlogged supply chains that snowballed into unprecedented delays and shortages of goods throughout the globe.
Other threats are taking center stage as we enter what promises to be a less acute phase of the pandemic. For example, battered supply chains have become increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters. And cyber-attacks are now commonplace.
While eliminating carrier disruptions is impossible, firms can take steps to minimize the impact. Leveraging supply chain visibility, partnering with trustworthy carriers, and diversifying carrier bases can handle carrier disruptions successfully and lessen the blows to their bottom lines.
Choose well from the start
When firms enter into a contract with a carrier, they assume many of their risks—owning any vulnerability in the carriers’ systems. That means the carrier’s ability to respond effectively will affect their partner’s response capabilities.
Choosing well from the start is vital. But making the right choice in carrier partnerships is not always straightforward—especially if the carrier is in another country or operates under different regulations. Involving a third party helps. A logistics manager with insider local knowledge and longstanding relationships with carriers can add a layer of security and provide firms with assurances of their reliability.
Build a diverse carrier base
Another benefit of using a third-party logistics provider is access to a larger selection of vetted carriers. A more extensive network means more backup options should something go wrong. Plus, integrating smaller and more agile carriers can improve response capabilities and, in some cases, yield better results than using larger providers.
While expanding carrier networks can seem like adding unnecessary complexity during already trying times, third-party logistics managers can help take care of all the details. Acting as intermediaries, they centralize all processes and eliminate the need to establish and keep track of multiple partnerships, providing expert support for handling claims should exceptions arise.
Develop flexible contingency plans
In a climate where disruption reigns, firms must adapt contingency planning to fit the new normal. But technology alone cannot solve the problem. Initiatives into digital transformation and data-centeredness should be utilized along with effective crisis response strategies. That includes stepping away from just-in-time approaches and building buffers and safety nets that create room to maneuver when disruptions arise.
Effective contingency plans will play a significant role in determining how helpful technology and support from third parties proves for responding to exceptions. Combined with automation, a larger carrier network and improved supply chain visibility can translate into faster and more effective responses to carrier disruptions.
Make Smart Trade-Offs
Carrier disruptions allow firms to re-think processes, supply routes, and priorities. Old systems and procedures are likely to prove obsolete after a period marked by profound shifts and instability.
In the short term, considering tradeoffs that would have previously been overlooked or deemed too expensive or inconvenient could help. For instance, alternative carriers or reshuffling routes can reveal more affordable or convenient options in light of current events. And after running numbers and reassessing priorities, it may turn out that the smartest response to a particular disruption is not to do anything at all and instead cancel or defer shipments.
Minimize the impact of carrier disruptions with expert support
While carrier disruptions look set to continue at record highs for the foreseeable future, there’s a lot that enterprises can do to strengthen their supply chains and operations against them.
Involving a third-party logistics manager with the expertise and resources to navigate a volatile landscape can help enterprises gain better control of their supply chains. CTSI-Global’s Logistics Management takes care of every aspect of freight operations—from choosing the right carrier to ensuring no exception goes unclaimed.
Digitization can help too. Firms seeking to gain better control of their supply chain processes can gain improved visibility and optimized response times from transportation management systems. CTSI-Global’s HoneyBee TMS™ reduces manual tasks, optimizes supply chain processes, and offers shippers access to a vast network of carriers.
Contact us today and get the tools and support you need to handle any challenge.