Festive Visibility: Getting your Supply Chain Christmas Ready

Dec 5, 2022
Supply Chain
Innovation

Table of content:

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But for retailers, the festive period is a turbulent time, as volatility continues to persist across global supply chains in the form of production disruption, shortages, delays and low levels of stock inventory. With only a few weeks until Christmas, the panic is mounting, and many brands are anticipating that their goods might not make it to Santa’s sleigh this year.

According to Bloomberg’s Supply Chain Lines, ports on the US West Coast could permanently lose as much as 10% of the seaborne cargo that has been diverted to the Atlantic coast amid logistics bottlenecks, regulatory headwinds and labour uncertainty. Across the pond, driver shortages continue to plague European mobility and supply chains as the International Road Transport Union reports that up to 14% of truck drivers will be missing by the end of this year. These events have massively destabilized the global supply chain and will continue to cause ongoing supply shortages throughout the Christmas season and long into 2023.

For retailers, the key success factor for avoiding bottlenecks while alleviating investor and consumer pressure will be the ability to supply goods on time. Looking at the current state of the market, there is no doubt that it’s going to be a tough period for retailers. But imagine if there were ways to bring some normality back, now and into 2023, well in advance of next year’s festivities?

In the build up to peak season, supply chains are configured to both make their consumers happy while improving operational efficiency and optimizing processes. Christmas is undoubtedly the busiest season of the year. It's predicted that 57% of consumers finish their Christmas shopping during Black Friday, leaving just 43% remaining to shop before the big day due to large discounts.

In order to anticipate demand changes, make more accurate predictions and increase supply chain resilience in the build-up to the festive period and beyond, here are some important things to remember:

Download the eBook | 
Gartner® Report - Build the Business Case for Investment in a Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platform
DOWNLOAD
Télécharger l'ebook | 
Gartner® Report - Build the Business Case for Investment in a Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platform
DOWNLOAD
Ebook herunterladen | 
Gartner® Report - Build the Business Case for Investment in a Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platform
DOWNLOAD
Ebook İndir |
Gartner® Report - Build the Business Case for Investment in a Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platform
DOWNLOAD
Descargar e-book |
Gartner® Report - Build the Business Case for Investment in a Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platform
DOWNLOAD

Communication between business partners and supply chains is essential

To avoid product shortages and late deliveries over the holiday season, all inventory should arrive at its destination on time if sufficient supplies are allotted, and optimal, operational inventory stocks can be made by analysing supplier compliance against shipping tolerances.

Standardizing operating procedures for missing items

This can frequently increase the cost of ordering, fulfilling orders, and transportation, while also having a negative impact on profit and requiring extra time and money for monitoring, distribution centres and warehouses. Retailers can collect structured and unstructured data, such as past sales figures, using in-depth and sophisticated data analysis. Once the data has been analysed, it can be used to identify potential correlations, which in-turn can then help companies predict the major trends for Christmas as well as the near to midterm future, allowing for timely inventory planning. According to the Financial Times, retailers and manufacturers who belong to the Consumer Goods Forum are exploring ways they could collaborate to build resilience, mainly by investing in shared back-up facilities that would be needed in an emergency situation, especially around the Christmas period when supply chain snags are leaving major retailers short on Christmas stock.

Finding alternative sources of supply

The pandemic has brought to light the vulnerability of the global supply chain and, in particular, the dangers associated with a single sourcing strategy. Hence, it is crucial to find alternative sources of supply. Therefore, many businesses are negotiating with suppliers and contract manufacturers across numerous areas in an effort to reduce risks.

Real-time preparing and adjusting

Supply chain leaders should utilize technology that unifies disparate processes, apps, and data, forecasts as soon as disruptions occur at the "first mile", producing actionable insights in one single data platform. If possible, a control tower should be put in place, enabling continuous data integration that feeds data into and out of the several applications and ERP systems within an organization and its ecosystem, allowing for a smooth, real-time communication and data integration between shippers, carriers, logistics service providers, and the variety of various and fragmented systems currently in use. 

By having a unified system in place, continuous risk insights are able to identify limitations within digitally integrated supply chains that may have an adverse effect on sourcing, customer order management, and capacity management. This is also applicable to a wide spectrum of scenarios - be it supply disruptions, port congestion, strikes, adverse weather, or late shipments.

Ultimately, these constraints trigger the necessary actions to be taken for processes including inventory balancing, forecast and demand adjustments, transportation, and replenishment adjustments to name just a few. Moreover, retailers are able to foresee issues before consumers can feel its impacts and optimize product allocation in real time, so products can be allocated or redistributed to locations in demand, for instance.

Enhance supply chain transparency

Consider increasing visibility into the supply chain with real-time tracking to monitor and optimize at every stage. By implementing these measures, retailers obtain a clear, comprehensive perspective of their complete business in order to address supply chain concerns. In addition, this end-to-end supply chain visibility helps develop resilience and agility, while enabling quicker, more accurate decision-making. End-to-end supply chain visibility can assist retailers in better preparing and adapting in real time to challenges before they are able to have a negative impact on in-store product availability.

The disruptions in global supply chains are ongoing, so it’s vital that organizations regain control. Retailers, suppliers, and supply chain organizations must therefore take all necessary measures to minimize the effects on their operations and customers. Adopting technology that can integrate, normalize, and harmonize data from across the full ecosystem of partners, business systems, and applications will be paramount, particularly data platforms and solutions that incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

By taking these strategies into consideration, organizations will be able to obtain a single source of truth, enabling them to develop actionable insights and analytics to plan for disruption, react, and respond to it, while minimizing its effects on customers throughout the holiday season.


What does it come down to? 

The secret to a “competitive” supply chain is balance. Balance between methodical, logical and strategic decision-making aligned with assessment and utilization of the most suitable technological solutions for one's use case. Not every supply chain issue can be solved by technology.

However, increasingly, many can, and with production cuts and general economic uncertainty expected to continue throughout 2023, investment in the right tools and solutions will continue to be a top priority for supply chain organizations. Leading companies have already started to raise their game, with many ramping up their use of real-time visibility technologies.

At Shippeo we help our clients unlock their supply chain’s full potential using powerful automation and artificial intelligence to provide real-time insights and enable better collaboration. Talk to one of our experts and discover why leading brands are working with Shippeo to revolutionise their supply chain’s with visibility to boost productivity and deliver greater customer value.

Start the conversation with one of our visibility experts today.

Festive Visibility: Getting your Supply Chain Christmas Ready
 - 
Festive Visibility: Getting your Supply Chain Christmas Ready
 - 
Festive Visibility: Getting your Supply Chain Christmas Ready
 - 

Unlock expert content

Discover authentic advice and insights from experienced supply chain and logistic leaders for FREE!

✔️ 60+ articles covering essential topics
✔️ In-depth views on what matters most
✔️ Stay up to date with innovations in the industry
✔️ Learn how global brands unlock a supply chain’s full potential