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May 16, 2021 | Insights

Capacity Planning & Scalability: Preventing Supply Chain Issues From Restricting Growth

May 16, 2021 | Insights

COVID was a study in disruption for not just several industries, but the operational and logistical challenges within the various channels of those industries. While there’s always some predictability in retail, and while that seasonal predictability will return, we may be a long way off from anything that even looks normal. In fact, some level of unpredictability may be the new normal within the logistics and yard management space for a while. Of course, those factors lie well outside of the control of the industry, but they can, with some planning, be accounted for with increased efficiencies in the yard.

What can you do today to ensure that your staff is better prepared to deal with ongoing fluctuations and scale issues throughout the entire shipping process? Solving those logistics issues today ensures that you and your team are prepared to respond to shipping delays, container shortages, strained timelines or anything else the future might throw at you. On demand shunting can also allow you to keep your staffing levels consistent, and remove some burdens and stress from your staff’s collective shoulders.

E-Commerce Will Continue to Flourish, and So Will The Industry’s Expectations for Speed

The internet was already well on pace to become the shopping mode of choice pre-COVID. The pandemic accelerated the global migration to e-commerce, and that trend will only continue. According to data from the market research firm eMarketer, COVID accelerated online shopping trends that would have taken five years (based on previous data) to a mere nine months. In 2020, “estimates e-commerce sales will total $794.50 billion this year, up 32.4% from 2019.” 

Brick-and-mortar retailers with a strong online presence maintain that speed remains their biggest challenge in keeping fickle consumers happy and loyal. Conveniences like accelerated shipping and free exchanges or returns will only further clog the already busy and congested supply chain.

Yards will feel that pressure in direct ways. Your relationships between brands and retail outlets can get strained if delivery times aren’t met. On-demand shunting as well as dedicated yard management programs can help mitigate those pain points by shortening turnaround times within the yard. A well-resourced partner provides you more elasticity to meet shipping deadlines and ultimately provide your customers with an improved experience on the other side, increasing loyalty and ultimately the bottom line.

Absorb and Respond to Shipping Delays

The Suez incident had a domino impact on the entire industry, especially as it related to the well-publicized spike in the cost of shipping containers. It’s just another example of a consistent reality in the industry: Delays are inevitable, unavoidable, and well outside the control of the logistics and shipping industry as a whole. 

Those aspects of the business can’t be controlled, but they can be absorbed with increased efficiency at distribution centers. Tools that help employees prepare goods for shipping truncate the end-to-end shipment process, giving your facility more bandwidth and headwind to respond to the inevitable supply chain fluctuations.   

Future Proof and Automate Yard Management

The future of freight is digital and autonomous. What are the trends that you need to respond to today in order  to ensure that your yard is prepared for the realities of automation? Consider that the following tools and workflow solutions aren’t merely “nice to haves” but mandatory upgrades to keep pace with trends and business realities. For effective yard management, these solutions are necessary to drive efficiency, safety, and profitability.

Mobile Management: Even when management is away, the yard is busy. Flexing the convenience and real-time accuracy of mobile interfaces enables remote yard management. Those tools also provide increased visibility into various operations for increased efficiency and on-the-spot troubleshooting. 

Improved Planning and Predictability. Flexing the intelligence of a yard management solution will do quite a bit for your bottom line. In addition to improved staffing and equipment management, an online solution is designed to improve yard security and efficiency with:

  • Optimization data in real-time 
  • Remote access from any internet-connected device 
  • Performance rating and monitoring 
  • Better preemptive calculation and planning for safety practices, inspections, vehicle age and maintenance

Risk Management. How efficient are your systems today in flagging potential vulnerabilities to theft and fraud? Where can the organization improve from better training? Monitoring those key indicators can help you detect a potential problem before it becomes costly.

Overall Yard Transparency. How much time are you losing to misplaced trailers or rescheduling? How quickly can you assess precisely what’s going on in the yard or the warehouse? Technology can extend the integration of your systems and increase oversight and predictability.

Manage Costs Related to Staffing and Growth

Outsourcing and partnering with an industry-leading yard management provider helps you manage the cost of staffing over time. It also provides the appropriate vehicles as you need them without your having to incur greater expenses for short-term fluctuations. Lastly, a partner with a larger footprint can manage a dedicated budget for a busy yard that may not have the resources for a full in-house yard management team, allowing you to scale the business without hiring and training experienced staff.

The Right Partner Makes Expansion Accessible 

Fluctuations in demand and volume are a challenge for the entire industry, but are particularly demanding for small-to-mid sized yards. Embracing existing market solutions will enable further profitability and business expansion. Driving growth in challenging market conditions is possible when you have the right support. 

The more visibility you have into the entire operation, the better you can mitigate cost overruns and issues associated with personnel, downtime, labor shortages, and more. Efficient yard management allows you to seize these opportunities for growth while controlling those contingencies. Contact us to perform a free Virtual Yard Assessment and take the first step toward transforming your yard into a more accountable operation, mitigating your risks and capitalizing on new opportunities. 

 

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