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‘Tis the Season for Supply Chain Optimization

by Aristides Smith  12/27/2017

The holiday season is an especially busy time for logistics experts. It can be easy to slip into survival mode and simply handle the tasks at hand without paying attention to the bigger picture. However, by refocusing your energy on the best way to handle logistics, you can not only end this season on a high note but also plan for a better 2018 and beyond. Consider the following three areas as candidates for optimization: transportation management, demand planning and forecasting, and visibility and event management.

Transportation management

Transportation consumes the bulk of most logistics budgets but, with planning and data-driven decision-making, you can optimize your transportation network. Supply chain transportation has a lot of moving parts and factors to consider, some of which include

  • the number of providers in your supply chain you’ll work with;
  • customers’ increasing expectations for on-demand deliveries; and
  • ideal transport modes for any given time, destination, and circumstance.

The goal is to optimize routes and maximize fill in the most economical manner. To meet this goal, you must effectively plan and utilize near-real-time data regarding inventories, customer demand, and routing. Outsourcing can help you manage the struggle between balancing quick, reliable delivery with the associated costs of doing so. In fact, partnering with an experienced third-party provider can help you gain insights, increase efficiency, as well as manage costs.

Demand planning and forecasting

The importance of demand planning and forecasting seems obvious, yet many company leaders still rely on generic industrywide forecasting algorithms. This can either leave you undersupplied and panicking or oversupplied and stuck paying for unneeded inventory. By failing to effectively plan for demand, you’ll likely spend your energy and budget dealing with bloated or anemic inventories, frustrated customers, and inefficient distribution networks — rather than product and business service development and ever-improving logistics operations. Customizing unique technology tools and processes for your company can help streamline inventory management. By successfully planning for and meeting demand you can not only employ better decision-making through smart data but can also make more of your customers happy, remain more agile, and gain stronger market share through increased revenue.

Supply chain visibility and event management

The need for visibility and event planning echo through transportation and forecasting optimization. The reality is savvy supply chain managers use real-time data that provides visibility into all aspects of their supply chains. With this data in hand, they can then make quantifiable cost-saving and efficiency-improving decisions in all areas of their logistics operations. And today’s technology offerings bring this visibility within reach for those in companies large and small. For example, with data showing trends and predictions about holiday demand and the exact cost of same-day delivery, some are using their physical stores as distribution centers. These types of actionable insights can enable leaders of small and medium-sized companies to compete with giants like Amazon to gain advantages.

The gift of optimization

As this holiday season winds down, give your company the gift of energy and money better spent through supply chain optimization efforts. With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced supply chain consultant and by embracing technology as a tool for optimization, you can start the new year ahead of the game.

Looking to gain more control and visibility into your supply chain? Next Generation Logistics Inc. experts can tailor inbound and outbound supply chain solutions to your specific needs. To learn more about our innovative logistics technology offerings, visit us online or give us a call at 847-963-0007.