Communication in Supply Chain

Opening the Lines of Communication Across the Supply Chain

The supply chain is one of the most vital functions of any company, and it affects every aspect of the business, directly or indirectly. Because it is so complex, however, it can be a challenge to keep the supply chain running as smoothly as desired. There are a countless number of things that can go wrong, from a truck breaking down and missing a production line delivery to a warehouse suffering a power outage. Since so many of these things are out of our control, it is important to keep open lines of communication across every part of the supply chain.

The moment something goes wrong, it should be communicated to everybody directly involved. From there, notification should be sent to all others who’re going to be affected, whether it’s the next manufacturing warehouse or the customer’s final distribution center. Many catastrophes could be avoided if communication was focused on from the ground level. Many soured business relationships could have been salvaged if both sides were simply open and honest with each other. It is better for both sides to be able to address the problem at the beginning rather than waiting for it to get worse.

As you develop stronger lines of communication with customers and vendors, you will notice that your supply chain will run more smoothly and efficiently. You’ll be able to catch unfavorable situations before they cause major problems, allowing you to focus on getting your shipments delivered safely and on time. If you establish trust throughout your supply chain, there will be fewer arguments and greater understanding when something does go wrong. As part of the supply chain, we are all in this together. We can reduce our stress levels and increase our productivity if we simply communicate in a clear and honest way.

To see how we’ll communicate with you and your supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Supply chain as a growth function

Supply Chain as a Growth Function

A recent study in the consumer packaged goods industry found that nearly 70% of executives see the supply chain as a support function rather than a tool for growth. While that is only one industry, it isn’t hard to imagine that key players in a wide range of industries might feel the same way. The problem with this line of thinking is that it seemingly ignores all of the advances that have been made in the supply chain sector. These advances have been integral in growing multiple industries and contributing to the success of some of the biggest companies currently in existence.

Consider how much e-commerce has evolved over the years. The obvious name here is Amazon – what they’ve accomplished by focusing on revamping their supply chain has been nothing short of remarkable. The lesson here is that Amazon made the supply chain seamless for many consumer companies. The next logical step in supply chain evolution is getting product to arrive on time and damage free. Manufacturers need to take a long, hard look at their supply chain and evaluate how their carriers handle their products.

In today’s world, many customers want their product to arrive damage free. They don’t want to see office furniture coming out of the truck dented, scratched or crushed. They don’t want to see dents in their medical machinery or bends in the industrial robotic arms. Low prices and fast transits go out the window if your unique freight arrives damaged. Customer trust erodes every time freight arrives damaged and the costs to replace this sensitive equipment will soar. This will put a strain on sales and revenue, further hurting the company. On the other hand, if you are consistently outperforming expectations and keeping your customers happy, you have a great chance of gaining more business and driving profits up. To see how we can increase growth for your company through the supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Importance of Planning

In the history of business, there have been very few companies that have succeeded with proper planning. Those that have succeeded have generally experienced a great stroke of luck, and that is not something that an organization should rely on if they want to remain profitable. Planning is highly important and is a process that should be taken seriously. However, your plan doesn’t always have to be followed exactly, and you should allow room to adapt in case something unexpected takes place. In the supply chain industry, we know that you can never predict what challenges you may face in a given day. This is why you should have an adaptable and malleable plan of action for every situation.

Supply chain operations would not be successful if there was no planning involved. The supply chain itself is based on planning – companies must outline every step of production, manufacturing, and transportation throughout the life of the product, from securing raw materials to delivering the final goods. It is a good idea to have a standard course of action for every step in the supply chain, but room should be left for alterations in case an error is made, or any sort of difficulty is encountered. When we have actionable plans for a wide variety of scenarios, we give ourselves the flexibility to be creative while maintaining efficiency in our operations.

Every shipping company should make planning an integral part of their operations. Many even hire people specifically for this purpose – whether they are planning shipping routes or warehouse storage solutions, their expertise can be of immense value to any organization. One small kink in the supply chain can have a domino effect throughout a company’s operations, but if proper planning has been done, the negative outcomes can be minimized.

To see how we can help with your company’s plan, start today with Zip Xpress!

Managing the Unexpected

In the freight world, delays are inevitable. Everything could be running smoothly for the first leg of a shipment when all of the sudden inclement weather shuts a driver down. While we may do everything in our power to get our shipments delivered on time, there are many things that we can’t control that can contribute to late shipments. The key to minimizing these problems is not to try to control the uncontrollable, but rather to plan ahead and manage every situation effectively when something undesirable occurs.

The first step in managing the unexpected is to pay attention to the details involved with every shipment. Know where the shipment is delivering and when it is needed by. Warehouse requirements should always be known ahead of time to limit the chance that the freight will be rejected when it arrives. Dispatchers can even check the weather forecasts along the route to try to minimize the risk of running into weather delays. They can’t control the weather, but they can try to find the path of least resistance. With every shipment, we must expect that there will be potential delays somewhere during transit. Instead of becoming frustrated that the delays occurred, it is important to have a plan of action in place for when they happen.

Much like in every industry, problems are going to occur if you are shipping multiple truckloads or multiple LTL shipments every day. It is important to keep a positive mindset, hoping for the best for every shipment, but to be realistic and do everything that you can to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. A shipment isn’t complete just because you booked the load – it is vital to have a plan B, plan C, and even plan D in place for the possibility of a casualty occurring.  When you learn to plan ahead, you won’t be blindsided by a casualty. You’ll be able to take action and fix the problem, keeping your customer happy and your company profitable. To see how we can help you with managing the unexpected, start today with Zip Xpress!