The calendar has flipped from 2020 to 2021. Many people are bidding 2020 a hearty ‘raspberry’ farewell and are assuming 2021 has GOT to be better. Perhaps. But two things come to mind.
One is that just because the number has changed that does not mean life will automatically improve as if by some Gregorian magic. Secondly, if you want change for the good you have to take action to make it so. Like so many things in life, hoping is not a plan.
So in the context of our favorite topic, what actions are you going to take in improving your supply chain?
Depending on your industry and business, 2020 could have been a boom or a bust. So given that as a starting point, think about what definitive steps do you need to take to make this a continuation of the boom or a reversal of the bust? If your adjustments to the pandemic worked and have become ‘SOP by default’, then perhaps some fine-tuning is needed to fully burn-in new behaviors.
If you got caught in a “Holy Smokes! What Do We Do?” situation then you likely need a robust and honest evaluation of your operations, processes, technology, and perhaps people to get back in the game better than before. Finally, there are those that tell themselves they were able to pretty much hold steady, though I would argue that is unlikely and just a way to sleep at night.
The ability to perform nimbly in such an environment is a competitive advantage.
Regardless of which group you fall, this is a great time to resolve to take action.
I will submit to you that one excellent area to focus energy to improve is in your transportation operations and technology platform. We know that transportation is a very dynamic market right now, even more so than usual, and potentially chock full of opportunities to support the business. The ability to perform nimbly in such an environment is a competitive advantage.
At JBF Consulting, we live in this space every day. Yes we are expert at TMS implementations. However, once your system is up and running, we function like a traditional management consultant to ensure you’re getting the most out of it. We can help you identify inefficiencies and streamline business processes such as:.
- Route optimization
- Business rules analysis, e.g., time windows and service times
- Shipment consolidation and continuous moves identification
- Mode and carrier optimization
- Private and dedicated fleet sizing
- Hub/Pool Point usage
- Identification of inbound and outbound combination routes
- Multi-shipper co-load analysis
We also use technology solutions to assess the physical distribution or transportation network to help you save money, increase supply chain velocity or improve customer service through:
- Optimizing the number, location and capacities of DCs
- Optimizing the number, location and capacities of plants and production lines
- Determining the cost and service impact of changes on the network, e.g., new DCs, closed plants or new ports-of-entry
- Determining the impact of changes in demand, operating cost and commodity pricing on the network, e.g., risk assessment
- Territory planning (for fleets)
- Product flow optimization in a multi-tier network
Our action plan for 2021 is to provide services as the trusted advisor to our clients. We do this by providing high value-added analytics like operations diagnostics, modeling, advanced reporting, post-implementation continuous improvement, network design, and more. Let us help you navigate new frontiers in your supply chain.
Dennis Heppner is a Principal at JBF Consulting. Dennis’ expertise in transportation, logistics and supply chain operations, and third-party providers spans 25+ years. His experience is broad-based, spanning entire supply chains, including business process redesign, sourcing, distribution network design, transportation management, distribution operations, outsourcing selection, and business strategy for major manufacturers, distributors, retailers including eCommerce, and service organizations.
About JBF Consulting
Founded in 2003, JBF Consulting is a supply chain execution strategy and systems integrator to logistics-intensive companies of every size and any industry. Our background and deep experience in the field of commercial logistics technology implementation positions us as industry leaders whose craftsmanship exceeds our client expectations. We expedite the transformation of supply chains through logistics & technology strategy, commercial & bespoke software implementation, and analytics & optimization.