February 8 2024 | 8 Min Read

What is supply chain optimization and why it can't wait

Posted By
Wendy Mackenzie
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What is supply chain optimization and why it can't wait

Supply chain evolution–it’s the key to our evolution. It’s what’s changed the world and allowed single-siloed organizations to grow into worldwide behemoths. Supply chain optimization is the fundamental process that leads this charge. Much like having a team of X-Men slay your supply chain inefficiencies, it's a must-have value-add in today's world, especially in managed transportation.  Wait. What? We’re not in the X-Men. However, supply chain optimization is a fundamental process and value-add in today’s world, especially in managed transportation. 

Many different processes ensure the uninterrupted flow of goods and services from manufacturer to consumer. The premise of optimization is simple. Execute steps that work together and strive for efficiency and effectiveness in delivering products to the market while minimizing costs and maximizing customer value.

The artful design of your supply chain can be a long-term strategic asset. The right strategy means it actively works to lower operating expenses, fulfill customer demand, and drive better customer experience.

Of course, selecting the ideal supply chain consulting service provider is complex and nuanced. 

Consider this. According to a report from IMARC Group, “The global freight management system market size reached US$ 16.1 Billion in 2023. Looking forward, IMARC Group expects the market to reach US$ 38.3 Billion by 2032, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 9.78% during 2024-2032.” Such growth means that managing all the moving parts is only growing more complex. 

But what does that mean, and what if Magneto shows up with a plan to wipe us out? Rather than falling down a Marvel-ous rabbit hole, let’s set the record straight.

Getting to know supply chain optimization

Blocks of Supply Chain ManagementSupply chain optimization refers to the systematic approach to improving the various components of modern supply chains. The goal is to make the supply chain as efficient as possible by reducing costs and waste while improving speed and quality.

Key objectives of supply chain optimization include the following:

  • Identifying at-risk nodes within the supply chain and developing backup processes to account for changing capacity and constraints. 
  • Leveraging analytics and advanced business intelligence tools to understand the use and availability of resources, processes, and technologies across the supply chain.
  • Integrating technologies, such as connecting a tailored  TMS to your platform via an API, ensures systems can truly “talk” to each other.
  • Looking at the full supply chain from raw material procurement through planning the final mile to third-party sites. 

In turn, the information coalesces into business intelligence insights for shippers to make informed decisions and adapt quickly to market changes.

The real-world benefits of smarter supply chains

It’s clear that supply chain optimization relies on a unified system tech stack. But it has an even more profound pre-requisite–absolute visibility and strategic value. That’s the voice of reason–a guiding light in the darkness of disruption - that leads to the core benefits of supply chain optimization, including:

  • Better on-time, in-full deliveries. 
  • Reduced risk for damage or accessorial charges. 
  • Improved accountability and traceability across all carriers. 
  • Improved dispute resolution if and when things go wrong. 
  • Better inventory management, including just-in-time or right-time, right-location inventory. 

Supply chain worker in warehouse planning deliveriesThere was a time when all these were universal truths created by working on razor-thin inventory levels and ample freight management solutions. However, things have grown immensely more complicated as the pandemic’s short-term future became a permanent structure in the logistics landscape. 

Reduced inventory levels are great, but are they reduced in the right spots? Decreased risk of damage is great, but is it causing unnecessary delays? Better accountability is great, but what if a presumed accountability report that seems positive is actually covering up a greater problem?

That’s where you need value. 

You must find a way to enable cost-avoidance strategies, and you can’t skimp on customer service or create half-hearted forecast demand projects. Together, an effective optimization strategy leads to supply chain savings. Savings come from streamlining processes and stopping redundancies, provided these redundancies don’t already exist in a protective capacity within the global supply chain. Plus, optimization beggars flexibility and vice versa. It’s the ultimate win-win, regardless of whether Wolverine or Rogue is on your side. 

Optimization levels up your supply chain game

Any game is all about strategy. And the supply chain is no different. The predictive capabilities come from effective optimization across all nodes. Meanwhile, route planning, load optimization, and carrier selection ensure timely delivery and minimize transportation costs. Of course, collaboration with consultative partners in the supply chain makes this much easier.

How?

Remember that as consultants and optimization experts, a partner is more likely to identify what you might overlook. In business, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not see the low-hanging fruit because of the endless fires. Working together, companies can create a truly unique partnership that benefits the entire supply chain process.

Elevate your logistics and manage your supply chain planning with IL2000 

Optimizing the supply chain is the air of today’s world. It’s something that we cannot live without, even though we may not always see it. Optimization drives efficiency, reduces costs, and improves customer satisfaction, giving companies a competitive edge. Whether through incremental changes or a complete overhaul of the supply chain, you need an outside view that can help you embrace optimization from a top-down perspective. IL2000 is that partner.

Connect with a consulting engagement executive to learn more about the value of optimization from the logistics consultant who’s on the side of humanity–what would’ve been Xavier’s real first class at the IL2000  school of freight.

 

Topics: Business Intelligence, Freight Management Consulting, Data Insights, Freight data, freight analysis, Supply Chain Optimization

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