New Shipping Strategies to Improve Peak Season Responsiveness

Cloud-based TMS provides tools needed to achieve transportation optimization
Responsiveness is crucial and forms the foundation of an effective peak season strategy. When you factor in the growing demand for faster, cost-effective shipping from both consumers and B2B companies, logistics shortfalls can amount to significant delays and unexpected costs. The problem worsens exponentially when applied to global logistics. Thus, shippers need to consider the challenges carefully, develop practical strategies for overcoming them, and understand how leveraging a TMS builds supply chain value along the way.

Problems Inherent in Older Shipping Strategies

Shippers have traditionally enjoyed strong confidence in securing available capacity for domestic shipments, explains Logistics Management. Shippers could leverage truckload, intermodal, rail, and air to move freight. Unfortunately, the rising demand for e-commerce puts new pressures on an exhausted industry, pushing the limits of capacity and leading to unforeseen problems. Consider these critical issues that arise in trying to handle the surge in demand with traditional, older shipping strategies:
  • Poor responsiveness
  • Inability to track data
  • Inability to analyze and apply data
  • Poor customer service
  • Limited visibility into inventory
  • Subpar replenishment practices

What’s the Upcoming Peak Season Demand Going to Resemble?

Even though import data is only available through the first half of 2019, many signals indicate that the second half of the year will be strong and reflect meaningful gains in peak season activity. The issue seems to be growing among ocean carriers as well. According to Logistics Management, increased demand will push ocean freight demand upward 5.3% TEU. More imports amount to reduced available capacity for domestic shippers and LSPs. Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation expects overall gains in e-commerce to the tune of 2%. Even though this is below 2018 growth rates, it still represents growth and expansion in the market. Thus, supply chain leaders must act now to prepare for increased demand and activity.

Best Practices to Create Successful Peak Season Shipping Strategies

Shippers and LSPs should follow these tactics to develop and maintain successful peak season shipping strategies:
  1. To succeed in the modern age, shippers of all tiers need to create and build digital-first shipping strategies. As explained by Supply Chain Brain, digital-first shippers enjoy a heightened level of visibility and accountability in their supply chains. Therefore, they are more poised to respond to changing supply chain demands and meet consumer expectations.
  2. Connect systems to track and manage shipments automatically. Automated management eliminates many of the concerns associated with handling routine, repetitive processes.
  3. Leverage automation to manage exceptions, indicating when things go wrong and how to address it. In a sense, exception automation is just the digitalization of a traditionally manual process that connects shippers and LSPs to move freight more efficiently.
  4. Reign in disruptive influences in your vendors and supply chain network. For example, hold vendors and suppliers to the inbound freight routing guide, and for added benefit, use a TMS that combines inbound and outbound freight management capabilities.
  5. Use data to understand consumers and demand on the industry internally and externally. Data empowers shippers to play the market and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Tier 2, Augment Your Upcoming Strategy With an Advanced TMS; Tier 1, Start Planning for Next Year

There are typically two types of shippers or LSPs. Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 shippers and LSPs are those who have vast enterprises and multi-million dollar freight spends. Tier 2 shippers and LSPs still have complex transportation management needs but may only have a few locations to onboard during peak season or have lower overall freight spends. While the timeline to implement a new TMS varies, it is not necessarily too late for Tier 2 companies to implement a system for the upcoming season. Implementation length and duration depends heavily on current demand and resource availability, so it is best to carefully consider whether an organization should begin implementation now.
Meanwhile, Tier 1 companies can have a longer timeline to implement, so it is advisable to start thinking about planning for next year. The chances are good that you already have a plan in place, but even just reading this page indicates your organization is ready to take the next step in optimizing transportation management. Maximize your transportation operations and technology by partnering with Mercury Gate.

Request a MercuryGate Demo to Get Started

Phil Melton
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *