Lately, when the topic of supply chain challenges comes up, the terms Amazon-effect, last mile delivery and blockchain are often tossed around. Those things certainly have the potential to cause disruption in the supply chain.
However, the supply chain faces other challenges that, while less disruptive, still will have a significant impact.
- People: Every area of the trucking industry is suffering from a “people problem” related to recruiting and retaining qualified employees. Without the right people, freight can’t move. Whether it’s drivers, technicians, dispatchers, managers, etc., the entire supply chain needs to look beyond its typical recruiting efforts to get more people involved in the transportation of goods.
- Experience: This is the sister challenge to the overall people problem. As new people come into the industry, they lack the experience of those with longer tenures. Although it can take them some time to get up-to-speed, young people bring new ideas that can help transform your operation and make you more competitive.
- Technology: New technology is being introduced at a faster and faster pace. Determining which of the most current technology will support your growth and service efforts and help you meet your customers’ demands can be daunting. Yet it is vital that you do the analysis in order to remain competitive.
- Speed and urgency: This goes hand-in-hand with the technology challenge. Things are changing so quickly, new products and solutions are coming to the market at a dizzying pace. Yet not all new products or solutions make sense for every operation. Don't get caught up in the “gotta have it now mentality.” Rather, carefully analyze each opportunity to see if it will make you more efficient or effective. Invest in only those technologies that offer a benefit for you. You don’t always have to be on the leading edge.
- Reverse logistics: The growth of e-commerce has put additional pressure on the supply chain. Consumers have moved from being satisfied with getting their purchases in a week to expecting it in a matter of days if not overnight. This immediacy has lead to the need to immediately be able to return a product if it does not meet customer expectations.
While not every challenge to the supply chain will be disruptive, it’s important to be aware of all the forces that have the potential to impact they way goods get delivered so you can best meet your customers’ needs.