Following a year of major disruptions spanning many industries, companies have had to take a good long look at the way they run their businesses to find ways to speed up processes, improve communication and reduce unnecessary costs. Easier said than done – and often requiring outside help to provide insight. When supply chain disruptions bring production to a halt and a health crisis brings all means of transnational and intercontinental transportation to a standstill, businesses must be innovative to survive and daring to thrive.
When Should I Turn to a Logistics Consultant?
Internal production managers bring some supply chain experience to the table, but often not the insight into what works and what does not across different industries. Logistics consultants bring experience and market research to the equation to adapt your business to the proper solution. They assist businesses that work with physical products, not services, which includes manufacturing, warehousing and retail businesses.
They may introduce your business to new software to manage different aspects of your operations from inventory software to shipping software, allowing every detail to be managed and weaknesses to be identified.
Advanced reporting tools allow your managers to forecast the result of different levels of production, updates for inclement weather or other types of disruptions. Real-time information empowers businesses to adapt on the fly, saving time and money while meeting fluctuating levels of demand. They provide the expertise to negotiate carrier contracts thereby reducing waste on shipping costs and securing better overall shipping rates.
Ultimately, the logistics consultant will help a business restructure operations to optimize operations from supply chain through production and warehousing. At time, the consultant will work with the company long-term, for instance, if the company wants to expand production, add new products, or adapt to a merger. They are trained to uncover savings opportunities across the business in the form of shipping savings, labor reduction, theft reduction, bottleneck elimination, improved workflow, optimized floor layout, etc.
Different industries have different demands and require their own unique set of solutions. Industries handling perishables face challenges others do not, spanning compliance and regulations, expiration dates, and storage and packaging demands. The shelf-life of a product dictates the entire production process and remaining profitable revolves around delivering fresh, quality product to the customer. These products include food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, etc.
Smaller companies, who may still be operating on spreadsheets, must take the leap to software to unify data. While well-intentioned, when each department works with its own spreadsheets using its own set of formulas, they have their own versions of the truth. That data may accurately reflect values at specific stages of production but vary from information produced by another department. Bringing every department’s information today in one central database will give everyone the same information to draw from and produce accurate reports no matter where the information is accessed.
Like growing pains, adapting to change is temporarily uncomfortable but the strength gained in the process will prepare businesses for other difficulties yet to come. There is always another obstacle around the corner. If you plan as though you expect it, it cannot take you by surprise.