How E-Commerce Companies Can Overcome Supply Chain Disruptions

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By Punit Sindhwani, CEO, Paxcom

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reports that 62% of companies surveyed experienced delays in obtaining items, while 75% of companies reported supply chain disruptions and 80% anticipated various types of disruptions in the near future.

The endurance of the e-commerce supply chain has been tested more than ever in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused long periods of lockdown and chaos on a global scale, has probably been the most difficult challenge.

Building supply chain resilience is what e-commerce businesses should focus on in order to prepare for the next big unplanned incident.

Causes of Supply Chain Disruption
The pandemic has led to a change in consumer habits, which has led to an increase in online sales. To keep up with this trend, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses that had been hesitant to expand their online presence began to launch or expand their e-commerce product lines. However, the following have caused serious disruptions on the supply side for a large number of companies such as:

-Reinforcement of border controls
-Lack of raw materials
-Lack of carrying capacity
-a lack of visibility necessary for the production and transport of critical goods
– Discomfort in managing multi-channel supply chains

How Consumer Expectations Accelerated Disruption
Transparency requirements from customers regarding their shipping and delivery have increased. They expect large return windows, free shipping, flexible delivery options, fast track and trace capabilities, and more.

Despite the fact that some brands have included these services in their operations, others have struggled to incorporate these choices into their standard operating procedures.

What can brands do to manage the current supply chain crisis?
Many companies have experimented with various strategies to deal with current supply chain issues. According to Blue Yonder, direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies have used strategies such as working with micro-distribution centers and developing infrastructure to support various delivery and pickup methods.

E-commerce will continue to scale upwards even as existing supply chain issues persist and new ones develop.

Centralize information
These tactics can help businesses address consumer demands and current inventory issues. However, there is another crucial area that supply chain managers need to pay more attention to: clean and reliable data. Indeed, today’s logistics industry is becoming more complex and requires more flexibility.

Manufacturers, retailers, warehouses and delivery services are accustomed to operating independently and focusing only on their respective areas of expertise. A recent study explains that this made it difficult to collect accurate or timely information across the entire supply chain, leading to periodic overproduction and item shortages.
Customers now expect more seamless omnichannel experiences, so brands need to consolidate data from all partners and establish a single source of truth for information.

Better management of product information
The best solution is to implement a product information management (PIM) system. PIM allows you to:
-Distribute accurate and reliable information through all media.
-Discover the supply, capacity and inventory of your ecosystem in real time.
-Eliminate data silos.
-Increase supply chain visibility.
– Promote transparency and strengthen teamwork.
– Improve business performance.

Accenture says companies with digital platforms, readily available data and sophisticated analytical capabilities will be better able to respond to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

This is in line with DHL research, which asserts that “the need for accurate information on product availability, shipping and inventory count will become the most strategic element in ensuring successful results and customer loyalty” .

Order management
An order management system (OMS) supports all stages of your company’s sales process, from order creation to delivery and even returns.

OMS platforms provide a single, centralized system to manage orders from multiple sales channels, including physical locations, websites, call centers, mobile orders, kiosks and more. It simplifies the buying process for customers and makes it easier to manage orders, inventory, fulfillment and returns for businesses.

This system provides a unified view of orders received from different channels and offers:

-Intelligent routing engine: it automatically routes orders to the appropriate warehouses and distributors.
-Full configurable routing rules based on location, stock availability, inventory methods, etc.
-Integration with major marketplaces, online stores and point of sale systems
-Automatic order confirmation and fulfillment workflow
-Integration with accounting systems for invoicing and taxes
-Easy management of returns

Warehouse and inventory management

It helps with real-time inventory across different channels. It also helps to:

– Management of supplies, inventory adjustments, inter-warehouse & intra-warehouse transfers
– Execution workflow with pick list, packing list, ready to ship with reassignment options
-Automatic stock allocation by item-level inventory method with custom override options
– Management of RTOs and customer returns
-Minimum and maximum inventory levels with custom alerts
-Printing custom product labels
-Integration with 3PLs with shipping manifest and packing slip printing and order tracking
-Management of suppliers for procurement
– Audit trail, access rights management

Warehouse Management System (WMS)
It is a software solution that provides visibility into a company’s entire inventory and manages supply chain fulfillment operations from the distribution center to the store shelf. Warehouse management solutions (WMS) further enable companies to maximize their labor and space utilization as well as their equipment investments by coordinating and optimizing resource utilization and flows. of materials. Specifically, WMS systems are designed to meet the needs of an entire global supply chain, including distribution, manufacturing, asset-intensive and service businesses. In today’s dynamic, omnichannel economy, connected consumers want to buy anywhere, fill anywhere, and return anywhere. In order to be able to meet this need, companies must be able to respond quickly with warehouse management software that optimizes execution capabilities.

Conclusion
A different kind of supply chain will be needed in this rapidly changing, fragmented and consumer-driven environment. Traditional supply chains aim for profitability and reliability. Future supply chains will need to be much more dynamic in order to predict, plan and react to rapidly changing demand as well as an ever-changing range of products and channels. In other words, supply chains will have to become agile. Businesses need to be more proactive, analyzing data, researching alternative suppliers and products, and informing customers.

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