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Supply Chain Trends

A Supply Chain Management Planning Guide to Navigate the Approaching Holiday Season

The holiday season might seem far off at the moment but it is only a few months away! Throughout the holidays, shipping activity of consumer goods increases, which results in an increased demand for tools, materials, and services.

A major spike in supply chain activity can lead to problems, and if an organization hasn’t prepared ahead of time, it could possibly experience a loss in sales, as the economy churns along. Therefore, planning for the holiday season is essential for every supply chain company, and that planning should start during the early fall.

Year after year, supply chain companies face the same issues: delays, increased miscommunication, low inventory and high costs. Because these issues are predictable, it makes planning for them somewhat straightforward.

A Supply Chain Management Guide for the Upcoming Holiday Season

Battling Delays and Miscommunication with Transparency

Supply chain businesses typically deal with weather-related delays, and congested transportation networks. There are also delays related to heightened security issues, particularly for consumer goods around the holidays, when theft tends to be more common. The delays can easily result in revenue losses.

By using the latest logistics software platforms, supply chain managers and other stakeholders can easily track product shipments. Through this transparency, reactions within the chain can be quick. Transparency also helps to streamline operations, resulting in more satisfied customers.

A substantial percentage of transparency in the modern supply chain is enabled by technology. A good supply chain solution provides essential data that optimizes communication and helps to avoid plenty of common supply chain issues. Without this now-standard transparency, your business can easily experience delays that other companies are not.

Using Forecasting to Resolve Inventory and Cost Issues

It’s almost impossible to satisfy customer demands if you don’t understand what those demands will be. Hence, strong analysis is essential to success during the holiday period,

Many companies rely on inventory buffers to guard against unexpected demand surges. In order to keep costs down, buffers should be within a margin of error that is determined by thorough analysis and good forecasting.

Expanding Shipping Options

During busy times, businesses looking to ship will often check one or two carriers prior to a booking. This is because going to multiple carrier websites for each shipment is too laborious.

However, a standard transportation management system (TMS) can display all negotiated carrier rates in a way that allows logistics managers to easily see their options. Comparing an array of rates makes it easy to pick the best carrier with the most suitable service for the load, resulting in considerable savings and superior service.

In the pressure-packed holiday season, companies must often resign themselves to using spot rates. Unfortunately, the labor costs associated with contacting brokers and carriers for spot rates are high. Furthermore, spot rates are even more unpredictable during the holidays.

Given the increased interest in sport quotes, companies should become familiar with spot markets that are built into TMS platforms in order to get familiar with finding low-cost spot quotes on all types of lanes.

Plan Ahead for Your Talent Needs

Having the right people on your team helps make the holiday season easier! At ZDA, we help our clients prepare for the weeks and months ahead by providing essential talent acquisition solutions. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company.

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