Inbound Logistics | January 2022

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3 Increase inventory levels and add storage space in multiple markets . The pandemic accelerated a shift from just-in-time to just-in- case—highlighting how important it is to build extra inventory into your plans. Ensure you have contingency goods available to meet unexpected demand spikes or unexpected delays. Additionally, there is an e-commerce-fueled shift to position inventory closer to major population centers. Having product in multiple locations brings agility and exibility, helping you get those goods to your end customers faster. This is essentially a requirement when customers expect next-day delivery. 4 Revisit your strategy and regularly review it. Now is a great time to review your supply chain strategy. Consider alternatives like cross-docking and transloading in port-adjacent warehouses. Use forecasts to help guide decision-making and develop plans to mitigate disruptions and delays. Make sure all stakeholders, including your vendors, understand your strategy and the steps needed to implement it—this is a team effort! Also stay informed. Sit down on a regular cadence with the team. Look at trends in capacity, congestion, and blank sailings, and adjust as needed. 5 Consider working with asset- based partners. Many larger retailers bought their own equipment and chartered their own ships to get around delays. Partnering with an asset-based 3PL provider can be advantageous for shippers who don’t have the resources to manage their own space and equipment. Knowing your partner has chassis, trucks, and warehouses gives you extra security when demand for capacity is high. –Michael Van Hagen, Sr. Vice President, Supply Chain World Distribution Services

TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT RELIES ON BUILDING A STRONG TEAM These are the best of times; these are the worst of times. If you are involved in any way in today’s global supply chain, it’s indeed easy to feel both emotions simultaneously. Regardless of whether you are in extraordinary or ordinary times, one thing remains constant—managing a transportation network is reliant on having a strong foundation at all times. In football, poor performance on the eld often results in the coach calling for a basic skills practice the next day. Today, as an industry, we often need to go back to block and tackle exercises to address operational snags, looking deeply into our operations—right down to the fundamental level—in order to ensure our assets, our relationships, and our team are fully optimized. MAXIMIZE YOURASSETS During difcult times, fully optimizing managed assets remains the key to success. To do this, various fundamental questions need to be answered: What is the status of the assets? Are they in ready condition? Are the assets located where they need to be? Do we have enough assets to meet the projections, or do we need more? Business uncertainty is often connected to a lack of properly monitoring operational fundamentals. As such, it is important to review these business basics as part of your regular team meetings. The goal is to reinforce the signicance of a strong foundation, which serves as the building blocks for a successful operation. COLLABORATEWITHBUSINESS PARTNERS Strong business partnerships are essential for any successful business and this is especially true during tumultuous times. When a business challenge arises, you need to be able to rely on the strength of your relationships, including vendors, suppliers, technicians, and distributors. In effect, your business partners are an extension of your team, so treat key relationships like true partners during your regular business practice so they are there for you during difcult times. How to attain this type of close partnership? Create a communicative, collaborative relationship that includes regular meetings to learn about their products and services, providing honest feedback and outlining your needs. In fact, this ongoing dialogue not only builds relationships, it also helps improve quality and performance. By keeping the lines of communication open with business partners, you will be able to call upon their assistance during unforeseen challenges. Leveraging these vital connections can be the difference between making your deadlines and losing a customer. BUILDKNOWLEDGEABLE, PREPARED TEAMS When reviewing the fundamentals of any successful operation, you cannot overlook the importance of investing in your team to ensure they are prepared, agile, and knowledgeable enough to weather the storms that will come their way. Providing hands-on training and career growth during traditional workdays not only prepares your team for unexpected volatility, but also builds loyalty and commitment to your business. Members of a strong, loyal team feel compelled to stick it out during tough times for the good of the business. In logistics, like football, we only win if we are willing to work together and push past obstacles—as a team. –Gene Bambach, Director, Business Partner Relations, Consolidated Chassis Management

178 Inbound Logistics • January 2022

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