Learn more about the value in partnering with supply chain consultants.
While life has changed dramatically for most of this past year, the supply chain has also been stressed more than ever before. With stay-at-home orders and changed consumer behaviors, e-commerce and online shopping has stretched shipping and logistics networks to capacity.
A recent report highlights that the pandemic interrupted many global supply chains, forcing shippers and carriers to adapt as the supply chain expanded and compressed throughout the highs and lows of the pandemic.
High Shipping Costs & Capacity Constraints
In response to these shifts, major parcel carriers have not only raised rates and introduced new surcharges (See: FedEx Surcharges and UPS Peak Surcharges), they have limited volume for some shippers and even cancelled contracts for others.
Current findings report that supply chains must continue to provide goods and services to the general public while dealing with capacity constraints and volatile rising shipping rates. It’s understandable for shippers to be stressed about the additional weight levied onto their supply chains from this added pressure – shipping has changed for every package in their network.
The past year has proved that single carrier or national carrier-only strategies aren’t feasible with the record-breaking volume capacity seen. The steady increases in rates and surcharges have proven that elevated transportation expenses should be expected and the best strategy is to utilize this additional investment as a means to deliver a more positive Customer Experience (CX).
Most have recognized theses pain points in their current strategy and taken steps to improve fulfillment, whether that is through carrier diversification, omnichannel tactics or upgrading their software to a more advanced multi-carrier solution.
The key to making these strategical adaptations is working with shipping and logistics partners that can deliver innovative and custom solutions. An often-overlooked part of that strategy team is a supply chain advisory and data consultant.
What is a Supply Chain Consultant
In short, a supply chain consultant advises and optimizes supply chains. Many consultants help improve efficiencies cross-functionally and throughout multiple departments including supply chain, warehouse, material handling and distribution by analyzing data and business intelligence to identify and assist in solving omnichannel and supply chain operational problems for their clients.
Whether it is through strategic planning, new technology implementations, or improving a business processes, logistics consultants enhance and re-develop the company's supply chain performance. They possess the knowledge to advise on anything related to supply chain and omnichannel including productivity, management of materials and labor, transportation of goods, packaging, order processing, and quality control. [Source]
Benefits to Partnering with a Supply Chain Consultant
While supply chain consultants help businesses improve logistics processes and strategies overall, they are particularly effective when brought in early on during the implementation process for a new logistics initiative.
The biggest issue that clients run into when starting a new program is underestimating the sheer size of the effort required for implementation. They may not have experience with the new technology they are implementing or understand how it will integrate into their complex Enterprise Software Stack (ESS). In addition, time is always a factor. Sometimes supply chain and IT teams don’t have the time for training or research to learn the new skill set required for the program. They may not even have the time to dedicate to focusing in on the implementation strategy at all.
An external supply chain consultant has the program management expertise to focus on the deliverables and requirements of the program. They can keep teams centered on the key business values the new program will deliver and the steps to achieving them.
Another benefit comes in deciphering the business intelligence and analytics associated with the project to know if the new initiative is performing as expected. It’s likely that the new initiative has new technologies that can offer some kind of visibility into the value of the project as a whole and across multiple data sources, whether that is a Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) or otherwise.
Lastly, a consultant can highlight the key metrics that can offer insights into parcel visibility, like knowing what and how to measure and how often to be measuring. As large enterprises have software that spans the various systems within ERP, E-Commerce Suites, WMS, OMS, and POS across their ESS, a data lake or data repository facilitated by the consultant can stream and consolidate important insights into an efficient location, hopefully a singular interface.
How ProShip Can Help
With any new implementation or strategic initiative, preparation is key. Experienced retailers were prepared for the historic online shipping from the pandemic while others grappled with the now-exposed gaps in their omnichannel fulfillment capabilities.
Key preparation starts with having the right tools in your toolbox – whether that is the right partner in a supply chain consultant or a multi-carrier shipping software. While we’ve touched on the benefits to the a supply chain consultant, the right software can take the competitive advantage one step further with additional cost savings through omnichannel integrations, which are only possible with advanced capabilities like Rate Shopping and Zone Skipping. Multi-carrier shipping software helps shippers maintain the delivery promise made during the shopping cart, allowing for a fast delivery (sometimes even same-day) for inventory that could be spread across multiple locations. It’s easy to see how enhanced visibility into inventory locations and shortened shipping distance can be persuasive arguments for implementing a multi-carrier solution in combination with a supply chain consultant.
ProShip has partnerships with some of the top consultants in the industry who facilitate new technology implementations to deliver improved ROI and actionable insights into an elevated supply chain strategy. Contact a ProShip shipping expert today to get the conversation started!