From congested ports to high freight costs, there’s no shortage of problems in the supply chain industry this 2022.
No—the COVID-19 outbreak isn’t entirely to blame here.
With more users shopping online, the need for fast and on-demand deliveries has skyrocketed in recent years. Add the fact that consumer expectations have soared and you have a cocktail for logistics disaster.
The good news is, businesses and innovators have found ways to alleviate supply chain problems.
If you’re struggling with endless logistics problems for your business, this article is for you.
1. Buy from local suppliers
“Reliable” isn’t a word that can describe the global supply chain right now.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
Thanks to the pandemic, freight costs have ballooned while driver shortage has bottlenecked supply chains. Logistics companies also had to contend with COVID-19 protocols that directly affect their ability to operate.
The question now is, why are you still relying on international supply chains?
In 2022, more and more businesses have solved a good chunk of their problems through supply chain localization. This means fewer disruptions, faster deliveries, and better overall supply chain reliability.
Apart from these benefits, supply chain localization also helps stimulate the local economy. It may not directly impact your company’s profits, but you should be excited about more money circulating in your region.
2. Self-service click and collect machines
One way to save money on deliveries is to use click and collect systems.
Companies like IKEA have been using the click and collect model for a while to streamline the experience of customers.
New innovators in the logistics landscape, however, have something grander in mind.
Mileberry, for example, is a self-service last-mile delivery startup based in San Francisco.
They have developed an IoT network of click and collect smart parcel lockers, but, unlike IKEA’s facilities, they will be stationed in gas stations, restaurants, malls, and various public locations across the country.
Mileberry was created to make last-mile deliveries more reliable and affordable for businesses, retailers, logistics companies, and regular users.
It will also make the last-mile delivery process as seamless as possible.
To use Mileberr’s smart lockers, you simply need the mobile app to locate your nearest Hub, schedule, track, and receive your shipments.
Mileberry Hubs are also carrier-agnostic, meaning they will support deliveries from all delivery services including USPS, FedEx, and Amazon. This makes the technology compatible with a wide range of applications, including delivering mail, food, and products ordered online.
The secure modules can only be opened via access codes that only senders and recipients have. This should solve the growing problem of package theft, with an estimated nearly 2 million packages per day being lost or stolen in the US alone.
3. Intelligent Delivery Management
For companies, an Intelligent Delivery Management or IDM platform can singlehandedly restore their logistics efficiency to pre-pandemic levels.
IDM platforms can be integrated directly with a company’s IT systems, allowing for faster deployment. This will also allow businesses to make data-driven decisions in scheduling deliveries, route planning, and tracking.
Another advantage of IDMs is delivery visibility, which can allow companies and customers alike to track shipments in real time.
This can help businesses meet the rising customer expectations when it comes to the last-mile delivery experience.
4. On-demand delivery services
On-demand delivery services may not be the most cost-effective solution to the driver shortage. However, they do make sure that shipments get delivered.
Services like Roadie give businesses a flexible delivery option when all else fails.
It basically allows businesses, entrepreneurs, and individual users to crowdsource their delivery needs. Simply post your shipment on their website and a Roadie driver will complete the delivery for you.
Here are some noteworthy alternatives to Roadie that businesses can use:
- Delivery Hero
Tip: don’t hesitate to use multiple on-demand delivery services at a time.
This will allow you to compare apps and find the one that’s best suited to your needs. More importantly, it will give you options in case no available driver can be found in a particular network.
Finally, businesses shouldn’t look at on-demand delivery services as a long-term solution.
Putting together your own delivery staff may require a vastly higher overhead. But it will save you a ton of money over time, not to mention that in-house drivers can be trained.
5. Save money on warehousing fees
During the pandemic, a lot of business entities spent around a year stuck with unmoved inventory. This ate up precious warehouse space as well as inflated the price of their contracts.
As a knee-jerk reaction, some businesses may turn to liquidating their 3PL inventory.
Smart businesses, however, decided to take a more calculated approach by selling bundles of their inventory to resellers.
This can be done through platforms like Buy My SKU, a marketplace designed specifically for Amazon merchants.
Buy My SKU lets businesses list their inventory for sale with just a one-time fee. This is a much more prudent move than simply taking the loss and rushing to a wholesale liquidator.
If you’re not on Amazon, there are other ways to downsize your inventory without losing a fortune:
- Set up prop up shops and promote on social media
- Sell stock in bundles on social media marketplaces
- Offer discounts or clearance sale offers
- Remarket to previous buyers
- Send them off as donations for a tax write-off
6. Find similar replacement products
Problems with the global supply chain also made it harder for some businesses to stock up on popular products.
As such, some businesses have decided to debut identical, alternative products.
This allowed them to temporarily fill the product demand, keep customers happy, and maintain their cash flow.
Finding replacement products is an excellent strategy to combine with supply chain localization. The key here is marketing the new product as a “better” alternative to encourage buyers who are already familiar with the old one.
Modern logistics problems require modern logistics solutions.
In terms of the global supply chain problem, we’re not out of the woods yet. But the strategies above should help boost your business’s performance logistics-wise this 2022.