For better or worse, when the smoke clears COVID-19 will have changed the world and your supply chain.
While COVID-19 may be a once-in-a-lifetime event, there is a 100% chance of another unpredictable event affecting your supply chain: a hurricane, a crisis, or even another pandemic. When it happens, is your last mile built to adapt as needed?
We’ve broken down where your current last mile may fall short and how you can overcome it:
You will need additional capacity.
Whether the demand for the goods you deliver surged as a result of the event or your current carrier could no longer provide service, you’ll need to find additional capacity and quickly.
In years past, having additional carriers on hand was deemed cost prohibitive. Locating reliable new carriers was time-consuming. Then, initiating and maintaining a data integration to each secondary or tertiary carrier’s system was considered too costly. When a back-up carrier was required, delivery information was significantly delayed and likely inaccurate.
Not having the integrations or relationships in place when you need to pivot can be detrimental to your supply chain. During a disruptive event, you need quick access to a carrier and the technology in place to maintain your operational standards.
Create a network of carriers, including back-up carriers, throughout your footprint. They will be ready to access them when you need additional capacity. Having their system set up to communicate with yours will provide continued insights throughout your relationship. This will allow you to react quickly, without service interruptions.
You will need additional visibility.
When your supply chain is under strain, your visibility into the last mile becomes even more important. Where are your orders? Where are the delays? Are you being alerted to important statuses in real-time?
A digital foundation for your supply chain is essential in ensuring resiliency. Data that flows seamlessly into your system, allowing you to interact with your last mile in real-time, may be the difference between a thriving and strained supply chain in an emergency.
Outside events that can affect your supply chain may cause delivery delays, damaged goods, and lost orders. Real-time communication with your final mile is the key to overcoming these potential blocks.
Set alerts for important statuses and exception codes — know everything as it happens, so you can react quickly and efficiently.
You will need new delivery requirements.
As your company learns what is needed in the new environment, having the ability to adapt what you are delivering and how it is delivered is crucial. For example:
- Digital or paper-less proof of delivery: When there is a crisis, passing back and forth a piece of paper to be signed may not be an option. Then, returning that paper to you may also cause information delays or may no longer be palatable to your customers. Empower your carriers to capture and send your POD electronically.
- Shifting service levels: Existing plans for delivering an item may need to change. Over-the-threshold deliveries may need to become covered-area deliveries, as entering homes may no longer be an option. Or, you may have to change to a store-pickup option for your customers, requiring a shift to carriers who can complete store replenishment. Having a network of carriers that allows you to adapt and change to keep your supply chain running is crucial.
- Adding new product categories: If your typical catalog of products are not in need during an event, you may add new products to your offering, with new kinds of transportation requirements. It may be shifting from alcohol to hand sanitizer or from cars to ventilators. Your supply chain should be agile enough to move to your new product without service interruptions.
As your company adapts and delivery requirements change, making sure your last mile can adapt just as quickly is crucial to your success during a crisis. Connection to a network of carriers that provides you a variety of capabilities will give you this option during any event.
A Last Mile Built to Survive
You never know when the next supply chain disrupting or even once-in-a-lifetime event is coming.
At eTrac, we help our shippers, 3PL’s and freight forwarders build and grow a last mile that will withstand these events. With one integration, a shipper connects instantly to their entire network of carriers, on their current systems. When your footprint needs to change or grow, eTrac has a comprehensive network of carrier partners to provide additional capacity where it’s needed.
Through that integration, data is communicated seamlessly between shipper and carrier, giving real-time insight, alerts, and reporting tools.
eTrac is the best way to reach the last mile. See a demo here.