October 12 2023 | 9 Min Read

Planning your 2024 supply chain? Here are some key ideas to consider

Posted By
Brooks Wise
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Planning your 2024 supply chain? Here are some key ideas to consider
We’re just a few short months away from the end of 2023. With the crazy season just around the corner, there’s a good chance that you and your team, right now, are in the throes of hashing out what your 2024 operational plan and budget will look like.

While balancing the many variables is no small task, there’s one critical chief consideration that we’d encourage you to keep on your radar: your freight needs.

Now, it probably goes without saying that your budget needs to make provision for all your ongoing freight transportation costs; that’s as fixed and non-negotiable as paying wages or keeping the power on. But a well-resourced supply chain will need a plan that goes beyond those logistics nuts and bolts.

In this blog, we’ll start by looking at how you can leverage a 3PL like IL2000 to deliver greater bang for your supply chain buck in 2024. Then, we’ll look at three less obvious (but no less critical) planning considerations you might also bring into your planning mix to maximize your freight resilience in the face of ongoing supply chain uncertainties.

How IL2000 can help you maintain a suitably resourced supply chain

Let’s say your freight operation requires additional support, and it’s your job to plan for it. Why might you choose to work with IL2000?

Guaranteed savings on freight

IL2000 begins working with any client by conducting a deep dive analysis of their supply chain. This takes several weeks, spans every corner of the company’s operation, and encompasses all aspects of your freight operation. At the close of that analysis, IL2000 will commit — actually, contractually commit — to delivering $X in supply chain savings, year on year.

You can learn more about the business model that makes it possible for us to guarantee your freight savings here.

Win back time, gain efficiency

Time is one of the most business-critical things you have to account for. It can take a large part of your budget to put in safeguards. This is becoming an even starker reality in the face of steadily increasing salaries. IL2000 allows you to gain access to leading supply chain expertise without vast HR outlay. Moreover, economies of scale come into play here too. Our team is equipped to swiftly handle operations that might require prohibitive time if you managed it all in-house.

Freight audit and dispute handling are two classic examples. Learn more from our audit manager, Nicole Rodrigues, about what that time efficiency looks like.

Improved end-customer satisfaction

Ultimately, your ideal supply chain hunt should be for logistics services that offer the greatest return on your investment and that maximize your growth potential. Reliability comes from an end-to-end approach to your transportation management, including BI, carrier selection, and round-the-clock support.

IL2000 can better position your freight operation to meet and then surpass customer expectations. Learn more here about how our services stack up.

Additional planning considerations

Wooden shapes balanced on blue backgroundHere are a few supply chain planning factors you might not have considered.

Staffing

Across the board, talent is in short supply. A few years ago, we all talked about The Great Resignation as though it were some fleeting and transitional problem — much like Covid-19 itself. Yet here we are on the cusp of 2024, staring down the barrel of a job economy with 1.5 positions for every employable person.

This shortage is particularly problematic in freight. Close to six in ten companies identify staff shortages as their greatest ongoing supply chain challenge, Freightwaves reports.

It’s compelling, of course, to think of this purely as a recruitment problem. Many companies are doing just that. Throw more money at people, so the logic goes, and sooner or later you find the right person. But, of course, budgets are made out of money — one of the few resources more finite than patience.

Upskilling, onboarding and training are every bit as important as salaries — perhaps even more so — because they support retention and bolster a supply chain's overall resilience in a way that a bigger salary in isolation could never do.

Consider also solutions where you bridge the expertise gap with a third-party logistics provider like IL2000. A significant advantage of working with IL2000, in particular, is that our team has organizational longevity. Our people work in stable clusters of experts, and that will enhance your operation with both deeper insight and greater continuity.

Systems development

The digital divide isn’t that much of a divide anymore.

In less than a decade, we can expect to see completely digital supply chains as the norm. While this has the potential to deliver unprecedented visibility and new levels of versatility, all of that hinges on the sophistication of the transportation management software guiding it.

Digitalization doesn’t inoculate a supply chain from making mistakes!

We’re already seeing examples (we’re seeing them because we’re having to fix them!) of purely software-driven supply chains that have entrenched bad decision-making.

So here’s the challenge from a planning standpoint. We know modern supply chains will be built on increasingly sophisticated systems. But the end goal can’t be confined simply to budgeting for the right kinds of software licenses.

Too much is at stake. Systems without human insight are too prone to error.

The first challenge is to create an ecosystem of checks and balances. The deeper challenge is to “have your cake and eat it too.” This entails pairing a system that gives your company real-time visibility benefits with an expert team that can perform preliminary supply chain analysis, continuous improvement through quarterly business reviews, and onsite problem-solving to identify the occasional wrench in the works.

Because there are always wrenches.

This shopping list of systematization might sound oppressively costly, but it needn’t be. IL2000 offers precisely this kind of ecosystem, marrying deep industry expertise with a transportation management system fully customized to our client’s requirements. Here’s the important bit from a cost standpoint. We offer those services with zero management fee. We charge to move the freight itself, and that’s it.

Cybersecurity

Trucks and cybersecurityA recent national threat assessment found that two-thirds of successful cyberattacks targeted supply chains. Supply chain cyberattacks are on the rise. Their effects can be devastating.

Recovering from a successful supply chain attack typically racks up millions of dollars in downtime and system recovery. The reputation damage is often as profoundly far-reaching as it is difficult to quantify.

Check out these two real-life examples for a hint of the magnitude.

Making sure you budget for good cybersecurity measures in your IT Department is, of course, essential. But remember that supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities often fall outside of conventional network security architecture.

An essential step in the planning process, then, is to speak with your freight team about the online systems they use to manage their freight. Downstream factors play into this, too.

Who do you partner with?

Are their systems secure?

If your company doesn’t have a clear picture of its supply chain’s online vulnerability, talk to IL2000 about a no-obligation supply chain assessment and risk analysis.

Plan and budget for a smooth and reliable supply chain

Knowing the supply chain challenges is an important precursor to preparing an effective budget. So is understanding the opportunities. Talk to IL2000 about how we can help support your company’s supply chain, saving you time and money along the way. 

Topics: Budgeting, Supply Chain Management, Freight Costs

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