Even though we are well into 2019, the struggle is still very real. There are several challenges impacting warehousing and distribution companies that don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Issues like the transportation crunch, technology, the labor crisis, and supply chain renovations are some of the issues that touch every company. Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these issues and see what industry leaders are doing to overcome these hurdles.
Take a Team Approach with the Ongoing Transportation Crunch
It’s no surprise to anyone in logistics, but the continuation of the transportation crisis is still alive and well. However, the outlook is becoming more favorable and dare we say, collaborative. The Vice President of Supply Chain at Bumble Bee Seafoods noted that after 2018’s crisis, shippers and carriers are engaging in more collaborative relationships, so everyone wins. Other leading industry thought leaders believe companies need to balance long-term goals with short-term needs to find the best, most profitable solutions for all stakeholders. Insisting upon transparency across the supply chain allows partners to proactively find solutions in 2019 instead of continuing down 2018’s path of reactive decision making.
It’s Time to Get Creative with Talent Acquisition and Retainment
With the boom in eCommerce, 3PLs and warehousing companies increasingly need more qualified people and to improve the retainment of their current staff. Fifty-five percent of the businesses surveyed in the recent Logistics Management “2018 Warehouse and Distribution Center Operations Survey” found that the inability to attract and attain a qualified hourly workforce was their most significant struggle for 2019. Companies are also finding a hard time finding people with the technical and analytical skills needed for managing and improving the supply chain. As the need grows, companies are getting more and more competitive with their offerings to lure new hires. Some companies are providing in-house training to help employees rise in the ranks. Other companies are increasing hourly pay or salaries in addition to giving sign-on bonuses to attract talent. Companies are also adding additional benefits beyond healthcare, such as wellness initiatives and education reimbursement to lure in and keep employees.
Supply Chain Gets the Saville Row Treatment
While it was never truly ‘one size fits all,’ today’s supply chain is becoming increasingly segmented, and those segments require a custom made (not custom fit) supply chain. Industrial clients, for instance, need a very different flow than retail clients. Not only are the needs of the business different, but the preference is as well. Companies who are succeeding here are using cost-to-serve modeling capabilities. Cost-to-serve, “creates a solid fact base on where and how costs are incurred through the Supply Chain network and thus on where to identify supply chain opportunities.” Cost-to-serve looks at all the applicable costs through the entire supply chain, which allows a 3PL and the client to make fact-based decisions rather than decisions made on general outcomes or a guess.
Do What Makes Sense with Technology
The number one recommendation for technology in 2019? Don’t be seduced by buzzwords. While there are terrific developments in blockchain, AI, and predictive analytics, experts say to make decisions scalable with your business. The big innovation to roll-out in 2019 will be those programs and platforms that enhance communication and allow for stronger planning processes.
While these are a good representative group of the struggles 3PLs are facing in 2019, there are still other issues to consider like omnichannel expansion, a prediction of an economic shift, and tariffs and regulation. That is why it is more important than ever to partner with a 3PL who’s a recognized leader in logistics. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you in 2019!