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Realise your facility’s full potential in 2021 and beyond

2021 has been undeniably turbulent so far, and there have been many steep learning curves that businesses have been forced to address to overcome adversity and the risk of falling further behind. By reviewing profits, implementing improvements, and analysing opportunities, many businesses have already found they can achieve their facility's full potential, all the while delivering in-line with 2021’s proposed sustainability goals. With the future of successful business inextricably linked to more active collaboration between organisations and suppliers alike, the Supply Chain Network team of expert warehouse consultants examines exactly what plans need to be introduced to fast-track your facility reaching its full potential in 2021, onwards.

Improve Supply Chain Resilience

Business continuity and resilience are two things which if businesses did not understand before the pandemic, then they definitely should now. As many organisations globally continue to recover from their afflictions, others have had to fully assess and re-align their previously approved business plans and operations models to build long-term supply chain resilience into their processes.

Collaboration is key in this effort, and businesses will need to ensure that they are both harnessing the available technology (innovation), alongside maximising upon increasing collaboration relationships with their suppliers. Termed SC&I (supplier collaboration and innovation), this is especially important for supply chains that deal with pharmaceutical products and refrigerated goods. Supplies that cannot afford to fall victim to supply chain frictions, or delivery delays.

Equally important will be to ensure to have alternate suppliers on your books. In these uncertain times, diversification may seem a scary prospect to many, however, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and Net-Zero are currently important industry trends to embrace. Buying from suppliers which portray greater diversity, protect against conditions including modern slavery, and actively work to reduce their carbon footprint, is a smart business decision. Additionally, having access to multiple suppliers reinforces your ability to continue delivering products in high demand.

Participate in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Initiatives

Climate change, reduced carbon, and electric vehicles are all buzz words that equate to protecting the planet from climate change and making changes now for a better future. Those cautious of global warming may be aware that the logistics industry contributes 7% to the overall global emission of CO₂.

Initiatives such as the UK Government’s Net-Zero plan proposes that by 2050 the UK will reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. An example of progress made so far includes Amazon collaborating with U.S. electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian to provide a fleet of electric delivery vehicles. Also, from 2020 onwards, logistics providers Kuehne and Nagel similarly pledged to provide CO2 neutral methods of transport to both provide their customers and stakeholders with an environmentally sustainable supply chain solution.

2021 is the year for organisations to become transparent about their processes, make their efforts visible to their consumers and stakeholders, and for businesses to be consciously choosing to work with those companies who provide environmentally friendly products, show responsibility for working towards providing a carbon-neutral future for all, and those who are invested in supporting human rights alongside future sustainability needs.

Strengthen Omnichannel and contactless delivery methods

Within the warehouse, social distancing sparked a boom in the eCommerce market. With lockdown underway, eCommerce and buy online pick up in-store (or in the parking lot) quickly became the preferred retail methods.

Accommodating this new capacity, warehouses (also adhering to social distancing rules) were unable to employ additional staff to support the increased fulfilment rates of many facilities. In turn, robotics, automation systems, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies were implemented instead.

With contactless delivery now the ‘norm’ for many, packages are left by human couriers on the doorstep, and phone notifications are sent when a product has been delivered to its final destination. Robotic last-mile deliveries have also seen a sharp increase during the pandemic and its lockdown periods to reduce human contact to a minimum and avoid contracting the virus.

Originally shown to be a solution for B2C retail, many organisations are also now planning to implement similar contactless solutions throughout B2B operations to prevent contamination and minimise the risk of spreading infection between manufacturers, suppliers, and logistics operators.

Invest in new technology

It is no secret that as a society, we are now more dependent upon technology than ever before. Whether we use our phones, laptops, or tablets, we can conveniently order take-away meals, clothing, and electronics from our home, normally with a next day delivery option available. While this is useful for us, it also provides the retailers and suppliers with data about our past purchase habits to try to predict our future behaviour.

Similarly, via digital transformation supply chain and logistics operations collect data that can be converted into actionable insights by AI systems. This technology is then used to better help companies accurately forecast demand and improve capacity planning. This ensures that consumer needs are continuously met.

Supporting technology used for data collection can include Big Data, RFID barcodes, and IoT. All of which could not be possible without the advancement of 5G. Facility managers, procurement operatives, and others overseeing supply chains processes know that now more so than ever is an important time to be able to keep simultaneous communication open between multiple vendors, to keep ahead of potential future peaks and disruptions.

Reach your facility’s full potential

While we continue to find ourselves in a tentative economic climate, amidst an uncertain future, The Supply Chain Network team understands all aspects of warehouse and network design to get you one step closer to reaching your facility's full potential in 2021.

Ensure you are ready and future-proof your business plans and warehouse design. Email or call: 01423 815 941

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