In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 is set to be a year marked with shifting logistics infrastructure on a global scale and market uncertainty for shippers and their teams. This is already having an impact on hiring in the industry (not even counting potential layoffs), and more change is likely to be on the horizon.
Even after the first wave of the novel coronavirus outbreak is behind us, many shippers may be hesitant to hire more in-house staff in case a resurgence is imminent. At the same time, demand may spike after life returns to some semblance of normal, at which point companies will need to have a plan—and core capabilities—in place to handle the sudden influx in orders.
For shippers that are concerned about needing to rapidly scale up or scale down to meet fluctuations in demand, outsourced logistics solutions may be the answer, at least temporarily. By handing off the day-to-day running of your freight operations, you can free your staff up to focus on core tasks.
While we at CTSI-Global have no intention of benefiting from the pandemic, we want to do everything we can to help the companies that partner with us. We’re here to offer guidance and expertise to help companies weather this storm. With that in mind, here are some considerations to keep in mind when thinking about outsourced logistics.
Flexibility may be essential while uncertainty reigns:
Since this situation is unprecedented, it’s extremely difficult for shippers to create a robust operational plan right now. Flexibility is critical, and outsourcing some or all aspects of logistics management may be the easiest way to achieve it.
An outside partner can provide necessary hands on deck at a moment’s notice—thus reducing volatility in key areas of customer/vendor fulfillment, back-office operations, and effective decisionmaking overall. This additional support can also be scaled up or down easily, such as when demand dips or things return to normal. That means the shipper only has to pay for what they need when they need it, and they can look uncertainty in the eye directly.
Trust and communication are essential:
As a matter of course, in-house employees gain a deep understanding of your company’s unique systems, processes, and needs. This includes the kind of tribal knowledge that can really only be attained through hands-on experience in a facility.
Since outsourced providers help manage their clients’ freight operations on a daily basis, they can gain an in-depth knowledge of the business, too. In some cases, this can also include that same crucial institutional knowledge—thereby distributing it safely (like a server backup). For example, some of our employees integrate with our clients’ teams to provide on-the-ground support, allowing them to absorb and wield institutional knowledge to the benefit of the shipper.
However, this is only possible where trust and transparency are involved. If a shipper doesn’t fully trust and communicate with their provider, that provider will only ever have insight into small portions of the shipper’s operations, limiting their effectiveness and preventing them from delivering holistic support.
That doesn’t mean that the shipper has to hand over the reins completely to the provider if they only need help in certain areas, but it does mean that both parties should communicate openly to ensure mutual understanding.
As logistics infrastructure becomes dicier and the economic landscape more fraught with tension, there has to be some immovable anchor in the business. Maintaining a flexible supply chain is often that anchor.
Here to support your business and logistics infrastructure:
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer support to a market that’s shifting awkwardly under the strain of pandemic and financial volatility, so we are indeed commenting on what we see as a key strategy for accomodating unknown change and handling changing demand, infrastructure, and market pricing with positive solutions.
This isn’t new; it’s what we’ve always done, for 60 years, weathering other storms with our clients and partners. Logistics infrastructure is taking a hit, but it’s far from the first or the last one. Cool heads need to prevail, so we’ll keep our temperatures low, now, as is proper.
At CTSI-Global, we are monitoring the current situation closely and want to provide as much support as possible to companies impacted. For help and guidance, get in touch.