Over the last few years, supply chain challenges have disrupted almost every level of business. These obstacles include backups at ports, delays in producing and delivering raw materials, and truck driver and other labor shortages. Many of these issues have been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic, so as companies strive to grapple with these disruptions, optimization is key. One way to make supply chains more streamlined and efficient is a greater focus on supply chain convergence.
Supply chain convergence is not a new concept, but as consumer demand escalates, it is more important than ever.
Rather than relying on individual activities, this holistic, end-to-end approach depends on an integrated operation focused on efficiency and improved customer satisfaction. With supply chain convergence, all systems across an organization or supply chain must converge — fully integrated, rather than operating in silos.
This enables all facets of the business to benefit from shared data and collaboration.
Sellers are expected to provide superior service and a faster, more convenient customer experience from beginning to end. This includes seamless ordering, a wide variety of products, speedy delivery, hassle-free returns, and a host of other factors. Companies such as Amazon now provide same-day delivery, sometimes within hours. Without convergence, such speed is not possible.
In addition, transportation logjams have complicated distribution logistics in recent years. We have all experienced hassles related to port holdups, container box shortages, and price increases in key areas. Inflation has complicated matters, with clogged supply chains and outsized demand for goods over services.
Many players across the supply chain still are not operating on interconnected systems. This limits the opportunities to provide timely and efficient service, which ultimately affects the bottom line. Without supply chain convergence, the opportunities for operational inefficiencies or disappointed customers are numerous:
- Customers successfully placing orders for products that do not exist in inventory
- Customers incorrectly told that certain colors, sizes, and other varieties of products are not in stock
- Trucks arriving to pick up orders that have not yet been prepared for shipment
- Products being sent to customers in multiple packages, instead of being consolidated
- Too much or too little inventory being stocked because sales forecasts are not available
With supply chain convergence, seamless connections exist throughout the process, from sales platforms, to order management systems, to warehouses, to transportation, to labor and staffing.This is even more vital as we attempt to emerge into a post-pandemic world because budgets are tighter and supply chains are straining under increased demand.
Companies can also enhance their supply chain visibility by using smart technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID), which enables tracking and tracing of assets as they move through the supply chain. iGPS plastic pallets, for example, are equipped with integrated RFID technology that enables enhanced visibility throughout the fulfillment process.
These disruptions will persist as the supply chain continues to iron itself out. The ripple effects from the pandemic will be felt for years to come, but companies that put a better focus on supply chain convergence will ultimately be set up for success. Stronger incorporation helps to better support supply chain functions in a proactive manner and can prevent disruptions before they even happen.
Companies committed to streamlined warehouse operations use iGPS plastic pallets for all their shipping needs. Our lightweight, recyclable plastic pallets can help reduce harmful emissions and your Total Cost of Business. For more information, contact us at 1-866-557-0047, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.