Inflation is high. Prices are rising. Markets are volatile. In today’s world, the balance between supply and demand changes quickly, and businesses need to be able to adapt.
As a result, 93% of senior executives worldwide intend to make their supply chains far more flexible, agile and resilient, according to McKinsey.
In this article, we’ll explore how businesses and logistics professionals, like you, can prepare for market unpredictability by integrating flexible technology solutions into your warehousing and distribution.
Gaining end-to-end visibility
In a fast-changing market, where the supply/demand situation can change in the blink of an eye, it’s essential to know where your products are all the time. If you don’t have visibility to see the problem in the first place, it’s impossible to then flex to market fluctuations. But the only way to get this visibility is through an integrated system.
The problem is, plenty of businesses still rely on legacy systems for their warehousing and distribution, which means valuable data is siloed away.
Of course, given their importance to day-to-day operations, it’s natural to have apprehensions about replacing legacy technologies. But it might also be necessary.
One potential solution is to look for technologies that can connect onto their legacy systems. Those built with application programming interface (API) or electronic data interchange (EDI) capabilities can provide this visibility and efficiency without risking disruption.
Intrinsically linked to end-to-end visibility is inventory management, which is another critical factor that significantly impacts the efficiency of warehousing operations. It’s an area that supply chain leaders recognise they need to do something about.
In fact, 58% of global supply chain leaders are prioritising inventory optimisation as part of their digitisation efforts, according to McKinsey. In times of economic instability, such as now, maintaining optimal stock is key to reducing the excess inventory that depletes cash reserves.
Therefore, it’s important to have the right inventory management systems in place.
With visibility of your stock at all stages of the supply chain, from manufacturing to warehousing to your end consumer, you can control and streamline the flow of goods. That means you can operate a lean and efficient supply chain, ensuring you get the right products in the right place at the right time.
Technology puts you in total control
At present, the market is testing businesses of all shapes and sizes. Fail to get products in the right place to meet demand and you’ll miss vital sales opportunities; overcompensate with too many products and you’ll tie up cash in stock that might be difficult to shift.
To get the balance right, it’s important to move beyond old methods and take a more modern approach, seeing the supply chain as a whole. Technology can help provide this holistic view, giving you the end-to-end visibility to make better decisions and flex your supply chain to market demands as necessary.
But if you don’t have the capability to develop these technologies in-house, or know which the best options are, it may be worth seeking the support of an integrated logistics provider like Maersk. Alongside working in partnership with you to understand your logistical needs and priorities, you can use our suite of digital tools to gain visibility, improve control and increase warehousing and distribution efficiency.
To find out more about Maersk's warehousing and distribution capabilities, visit our European Warehouse and Distribution page or for more information on warehousing strategy, download our latest eBook on efficient warehousing.
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