When you look at these factors in more detail, however, you can narrow them down to just three things: trust, time and transparency.
Clearly, the first is a massive driver in supply chain success. It depends on a number of elements that make up and encourage trust between supply chain partners. A starting point for building this trust is in creating a robust partnership with your logistics provider. If you are receiving an efficient, flexible and reliable service, an open and collaborative relationship is a natural step.
Supporting this is the competence to meet the client’s commitments. This can also be broken down into three areas: specific competence, which is trust in your logistics partner’s experience or niche area; interpersonal competence, which is their ability to work with your business and its requirements; and business sense, which is about their comprehension, wisdom and common sense.
Simply put, you have to have the confidence that the logistics solution required can be provided effectively. This might mean your procurement manager visiting your provider to evaluate them and ensure they have the facilities, people and knowledge to carry out the contract.
Finally, 24/7 monitoring also plays a part here. Making sure you know the status and timescales, in real time and from origin to destination, builds trust further. Choosing a logistics partner that can provide transparent monitoring around the clock will help build a sense of security and knowledge, leading to a trusting relationship.
The time factorSupply chain success also depends on agility and speed in dealing with complex, urgent logistical challenges. You could say the magic formula is time versus speed versus distance.
To speed up your supply chain, a 3PL needs to reduce the time taken for individual things. The ability to change these elements of your supply chain helps to make your company more agile and your supply chain successful.
A time-critical logistics specialist can help you to meet complex and urgent international transport challenges, assisting you at every level of the supply chain. Such a partner will provide you with the vital support necessary to speed up your supply chain and keep your production line moving.
Transparency issuesAs a recent white paper on transparency from the University of Tennessee Global Supply Chain Institute suggested, global supply chain executives understand that sustainability brings its own set of challenges.
These include the need to make rapid changes to the supply system to make it more sustainable in response to stakeholder, regulatory, and business leader requirements, as well as the need to provide more information on products, materials, manufacturing processes, supply practices, and warehousing/distribution processes in response to the need to be more transparent with consumers.
It’s also important to change supply systems to create safer and more sustainable products in response to new government regulations; and to share progress on the supply chain sustainability journey in a way that positively resonates with key stakeholders. It becomes readily apparent that information transparency and communication are key to overcoming these challenges.
Taking these three things – trust, time and transparency – into account and having the ability to change any of these elements in the supply chain makes a company truly agile and responsive.
All three of these elements are needed to make a real success of the supply chain for all those involved.
Paul Williams is logistics director at Priority Freight.