Due to a combination of uncertain worldwide tensions and domestic issues, like the possibility of a strike by port workers on the west coast, many supply chain experts are conscious of the likelihood of disruptions and their effects if they fail to be adequately prepared. For this reason, many are turning to technology for predicting and preventing supply chain disruptions. The right technology can mean the difference between poorly anticipated reactions and proactive responses.
A Volatile Industry Leads to Supply Chain Disruption
Volatility equates to sudden changes in either supply or demand. This might be an increase or decrease in the available supply of materials or an increase or decrease in the consumer demand for a product. But what can also play a role in volatility is the transportation segment of the supply chain, whether the market is leaning in the shippers’ favor or the carriers’. In either type of market, supply chains are entirely dependent on transportation and logistics, and companies must look to transportation visibility and analytics to help mitigate the effects of volatility. This means understanding their current state of operations, detecting and managing issues, and preparing for future unpredictability by building agility and resilience. To be successful, the best approach covers the following:
- Risk assessment and mitigation – Companies can identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in their supply chain through risk assessments and develop mitigation plans to reduce the likelihood or impact of disruptions. This can involve developing contingency plans, diversifying suppliers, and maintaining safety stock.
- Collaboration and communication – Collaborating with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders can help companies better understand the challenges within the supply chain and work together to mitigate them. Clear and effective communication can also help to identify potential issues and respond quickly to disruptions.
- Flexibility and agility – Companies can build flexibility and agility into their supply chain operations, allowing them to quickly respond to changes in demand or supply. They might focus on modular or flexible manufacturing processes, maintaining a responsive and adaptive supply chain network, or adopting advanced technologies like automation and digitalization.
- Continuous improvement – Companies can strive to continuously improve their supply chain processes and operations. To minimize the risk of disruptions and improve performance, they might invest in leveraging data and analytics to identify improvement opportunities and adopt best practices.
Supply Chain Professionals Turn to Technology
To mitigate the negative impact of supply chain volatility, transportation relies on visibility and analytics—essentially, better access to in-depth data. Companies are implementing three types of solutions to strengthen their supply chains.
1. Intermodal Container Tracking
Intermodal shipping container tracking enables companies to track the movement of their goods across multiple modes of transportation, from ships to trains and trucks, using a single tracking system. This technology can help companies mitigate supply chain volatility by providing real-time visibility into the location and status of their goods. With this information, companies can anticipate potential disruptions and take proactive measures to mitigate them. They can identify supply chain bottlenecks and optimize logistics operations to reduce costs and improve efficiency. This provides greater visibility and control and minimizes the impact of external factors that can cause disruptions.
2. Integrated Application Programming Interface
Beyond simply enabling container tracking as an external system, companies that use application programming interface (API) technology gain added benefits and capabilities. By integrating visibility into another system, companies have better access to real-time data that is needed to inform their decisions, enabling a more complete view of the supply chain. They can more quickly respond to new information and continue to share the data with the parties that need it. This helps agility and responsiveness to market changes, which helps mitigate risk, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
3. Advanced Analytics
Analytics solutions transform raw data into valuable information that can help increase efficiency and reduce costs. Analytics helps supply chain professionals identify patterns and gain insights into past and present performance. They gain an understanding of cause-and-effect relationships between different decisions and processes and how these relate to certain outcomes and performance metrics. With advanced reporting capabilities, companies can make data-informed decisions and identify how to improve their agility in preparation for the unexpected.
Give Your Supply Chain the Advantage of In-Depth Visibility and Analytics
With the right technology approach, companies can help protect their supply chains from disruptions and volatility and ensure they can continue providing services and effectively meet customer demands. As an easy and accessible API, VIZION provides the container tracking visibility supply chains need to continuously stay informed, from the details of each shipment to the big picture of analytics.
To learn more about visibility through VIZION API, contact us today to book a demo.