Industry TalkRegular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.
2024 Predictions: Tackling the most complex scenarios facing shippers today
As global supply chains get increasingly complex, visibility has become even more critical. Yet, shippers are still struggling to track shipments across modes, nodes, and carriers.
2023 was another year defined by reactive supply chain management that disrupted efficiency, drove up costs and eroded customer experiences. In 2024, the key to success will be merging data streams from carriers and freight forwarders to deliver a single source of truth for goods in transit, eliminating costly blind spots and delivering visibility from door to door.
Here are some top tips on how we can tackle some of the most complex scenarios facing shippers today.
1. Eliminating costly supply chain blind spots
Currently, the shipping industry lacks multimodal visibility across pre-carriage, main leg, and on-carriage moves, especially for the 70% of shipments that include a landside move handled by forwarders. In 2024, shippers should prioritise tech investments that help them connect with every carrier and forwarder in their network. This will eliminate the blind spots at interchange points and provide a single snapshot view of a shipment’s entire journey. Such a consolidated and complete view leads to timely deliveries and satisfied customers.
2. Automating processes to reduce costly manual effort
Overreliance on manual processes to track shipments is another key issue, requiring shippers to navigate multiple systems, handle countless spreadsheets, and spend hours calling carriers and forwarders for updates. Additionally, without in-depth freight knowledge, it’s a challenge for team members managing customer orders to obtain the information they need, leading to reactive exception management and frustrated customers.
Next year, shippers should consider a solution that uses proprietary data science techniques to merge data from carriers, forwarders, and other sources to deliver a single source of truth with actionable insights and predictive ETAs. Innovative visibility solutions can also link shipments to orders, including purchase orders, sales orders, stock transfer orders, etc., streamlining a process that could have taken hours or days to mere moments and making proactive exception management a reality.
3. Using visibility to drive growth in strategic markets
While many shippers operate globally, most are still using outdated technologies that only specialise in a mode or two in one part of the world and can’t access visibility in strategic regions. This has resulted in poor inventory planning and excess safety stock in 2023. Next year, shippers should assess whether their tech providers have the necessary global coverage needed to serve priority markets. Tech investments in 2024 should provide unparalleled visibility from the factory floor to the consumer’s doorstep, no matter where in the world the factory and the consumer are located. This is a non-negotiable when the health of your business depends on an efficient supply chain.