Shockproof: Strengthening Supply Chains Through Digital Transformation

The list of unpredictable shocks to supply chains—a global pandemic, work shortages, cyberattacks, and more— just keeps growing. What seems like the perfect storm is compounded by the global knock-on effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Rising oil prices, continued delays, constrained capacity, and risk premiums have added to shippers’ headaches and increased operational costs.

But, while the war in Ukraine is currently dominating headlines, geopolitics is far from the only threat to supply chains. Port closures are still happening in China, backlogs at ports on the US West Coast continue at record highs, and shipping containers and truck drivers remain in short supply.

As disruption continues to dominate supply chains, shippers are under growing pressure to bolster operations to become more agile and data-centric enterprises. Firms are increasingly turning to digital supply chain transformation and data-centric approaches that provide global visibility and enable swift action to shockproof their operations.

Jumpstart your digital supply chain transformation with BI tools

Decisions are only as good as the data that informs them. A powerful BI tool that feeds high-quality, real-time data into enterprise systems is the cornerstone of any digital supply chain transformation. BI tools help decision-makers make the most out of data and leverage it into actionable insights by converting raw data into usable formats.

In the face of never-ending disruptions, shippers will find predictive analytics to be one of the most valuable features in BI tools. Predictive analytics drawn from real-time data support risk mitigation, planning, and forecasting capabilities. Decision-makers—especially those in finance departments—will benefit from real-time intelligence to inform forecasting efforts, such as determining what percentage of costs transportation will consume in light of fluctuating rates.

Leverage end-to-end visibility with a supply chain control tower

Access to real-time data and end-to-end visibility is key in a landscape dominated by disruptions. Supply chain towers help enterprises build agility into their operations by shortening response times and bolstering preparedness. They break down information silos and centralize data into practical outputs such as dashboards and data visualizations. Decision-makers can use these insights to handle exceptions, monitor operations, spot trends, and prevent disruptions.

What makes control towers more valuable than ever before is their effectiveness at exception management. A control tower solution that allows supply chain managers to have a global view of their operations—plus the ability to take quick action on exceptions—can help reduce error rates and enhance shippers’ risk mitigation capabilities.

Minimize the impact of rate increases through benchmarking

For the past three years, carriers have been eating into shippers’ bottom lines with rate increases and a long list of surcharges. And, given everything going on, those increases are set to continue. The constant barrage of changes on freight rates has made the task of figuring out whether they are competitive even more difficult than it was before.

Benchmarking can help shippers field volatile prices, negotiate better rates, and find carriers that meet their time and budget constraints. A BI tool that provides reliable benchmarking data can help firms determine whether a rate increase aligns with market rates and give them the tools they need to negotiate better ones more effectively.

Benchmarking insights combined with a transportation management system offering carrier selection can help shippers make optimal choices. For example, if a carrier’s rates become too steep or they’re unwilling to negotiate fees, they can help shippers find a partner that suits their needs and budgets.

Safeguard against disruptions with a transportation management system

From port closures and worker strikes to politics and cyberattacks, carriers are more vulnerable to disruptions than ever before. Considering the current state of supply chains and shippers’ shrinking bottom lines, any disruption in a carrier’s operations has the potential to inflict severe consequences for those who depend on them.

Agility is critical when handling these types of events—especially when they’re unexpected. A transportation management system that automates routine tasks provides shippers with multiple carrier options and speeds up teams’ response times is a key component of any digital supply chain transformation. With carrier selection features, shippers can act fast to minimize the effect of carrier disruptions and easily make the transition into alternatives.

Ready to replace uncertainty with hard data? Contact CTSI-Global and learn how our suite of tools can help drive digital supply chain transformation.