Back on Track: How Manufacturers Can Prevent Shipping Delays in 2023
Manufacturers are still reeling from pandemic-related disruptions. A recent Deloitte report found that shipping delays have had the biggest impact on manufacturers’ supply chains during the last 12-18 months.
Delays of raw materials, skills and labor shortages, ongoing factory closures, and other challenges are ratcheting up pressure on manufacturing supply chains. Whether shipping small components, large parts or fully-assembled equipment, disruptions at any stage will ultimately impact the end customer by delaying deliveries.
Manufacturers need to know of any changes upstream or downstream in their supply chains as early as possible to adjust production plans and delivery schedules. Additionally, they need technology that can provide greater efficiencies, control, and visibility to coordinate and communicate all aspects necessary to keep manufacturing and shipping processes on track.
The alternative – when changes or updates aren’t effectively known and communicated – puts manufacturing shippers in a reactionary environment. This quickly leads to increased costs, frustrated staff, and decreases customer satisfaction.
Take Control with a Modern Shipper TMS
Manufacturers are making operational changes to overcome today’s supply chain challenges. Some are nearshoring or reshoring (i.e., moving production closer to home or closer to demand) to reduce the length of the supply chain. Some are diversifying suppliers and/or focusing on improving existing relationships within the supply chain. Most are leaning into modern technology that improves visibility to be more aware of what occurs at each step and the impacts.
The Deloitte survey found that 78% of respondents agreed that using digital solutions and/or monitoring tools enhance visibility and transparency throughout the supply network. Manufacturers need improved visibility into each step of their shipping operation so they can manage everything with more ease and confidence.
Rather than use outdated transportation management systems (TMS), it’s time to embrace a digital future and implement a solution that’s intuitive, efficient, and affordable — and one that can support shippers in navigating today’s dynamic market.
A cloud-based, AI-supported TMS platform is a good place to start. With the platform, manufacturing shippers can automate and optimize inbound and outbound freight across all modes, including automated rating, routing, tendering, carrier management, and scheduling. They also gain improved visibility to manage carrier relationships from planning through execution and settlement.
A solution like this creates leaner operations. Shippers can reduce the cost of held inventory, for example, while allowing production lines and distribution operations to continue uninterrupted based on timely and accurate delivery of materials, components, and products. They also have better, more robust communications between supply chain partners to identify exceptions or delays they can address in a timely manner to avert disruptions that otherwise will impact their ability to meet tight delivery and production deadlines.
Supply chain challenges will persist in 2023. Although many will be out of shippers’ control, technology solutions like a cloud-based, AI-supported TMS platform can prevent errors and miscommunications by using better planning and visibility tools to achieve key operational and financial goals in the year ahead, and for years to come.