Transportation network scenario managers need to shift from a reactive, operational approach to a more predictive method of shipping management.
The old and outdated process weakens the network and exposes the supply chain to external and internal risks. Instead, transportation and shipping managers must pursue assessments more strategically and proactively.
An operational approach is acceptable for the short-term needs of the supply chain. However, a strategic approach to transportation network risk management ensures the network is better prepared for the future.
Let’s take a closer look at the steps to assess those networking challenges.
1. Start With Network Data Aggregation, Cleansing, and Analyses
The starting point for any robust risk management process is accurate, relatable data. Collecting, processing, analyzing, and responding to freight data are essential for today’s transportation network.
This foundational process allows companies to quickly and easily assess and react to disruptions and problems within the supply chain. Even the best transportation network can benefit from a renewed focus on data aggregation and application. That must also include data standardization, also known as cleansing, to ensure its practical application.
2. Think Outside of Standard Distribution Channels, Focusing on Omnichannel
Every aspect of the transportation network and the supply chain must adapt to the evolving marketplace. Adjusting to consumer needs and the shifting landscape of the shipping industry remains critical for future success. Omnichannel and other specialized shipping collaborations are becoming the norm. But this presents unique challenges to shippers as they must react and respond to even more potential disruptions in blended shipping chains, which is why reliance on real-time data processing is so critical for future growth.
3. Determine Whether Your TMS Enables Full Transparency and End-to-End Traceability
Having the right transportation management system (TMS) in place with a strong focus on transparency and traceability can significantly impact the supply chain.
As published in the International Journal of Applied Logistics, “Traceability in [shippers] supply chain operations has become an increasingly important issue in recent years with calls for greater scrutiny and transparency. [Shippers] have responded by increasing and improving product traceability throughout their global supply. Traceability is a significant benefit.”
Ultimately, transportation network management will continue to struggle without end-to-end visibility and traceability.
4. Create Defined Workflows to Manage Risk and Overcome Transportation Network Challenges
A serious step in risk management is to review supply chain risks while defining the critical disruptions and their contributing challenges.
Having a plan in place before issues arise makes it easier for the entire network to respond. It helps reduce downtime and disruptions and isolate delays and expenses more easily. Having defined workflows and designated processes allow transportation network risk management to be more efficient, making things easier for stakeholders, managers, and employees.
5. Track the Right Transportation Network Metrics
When management wants to review supply chain performance data, they use countless metrics to understand data.
The issue is that many companies use transportation network performance metrics that lack insight and characterize raw data; they derive from systems that generate a mountain of data quickly. This, however, does not mean that data in its natural form adds value. Mountains of data do not necessarily give an accurate indication of supply chain health and performance.
Having the right data insights for the right areas is vital, and an enterprise TMS vendor can help maintain the proper focus.
6. Look at How Technology Can Solve Problems
The advances in automation, digital processes, innovative technology, and real-time communications make risk management within transportation networks easier.
Old and outdated methods of data collection, communication, and supply chain management are no longer efficient. Errors occur, profits shrink, expenses increase, management workload grows, and customer satisfaction suffers without a strong emphasis on modern innovations.
Embracing modern technology and taking the step to use data-driving platforms are vital to surviving the ever-changing market.
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Strong transportation network management must focus on reducing risks and improving performance across the supply chain. Hasty disruption responses limit effective risk management and mitigation.
This approach does not consider the long-term impact either. Focused TMS platforms and strong partnerships help strengthen the supply chain and prepare management for disruptions. And it begins with understanding the chain’s current state with the steps mentioned earlier.