Standing out in the Business Community of Today

October 5, 2015 Jerry Turner

Four Supply Chain Tools to Thrive in a VUCA World

You’ve heard of VUCA, right?  Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.  It’s a term the business community has adopted to describe the world in which we operate today.  In the context of supply chain management, the following four tools will help your company stand out in the crowd and survive or even thrive in a VUCA world.

  1. Responding to the question, “Where’s my stuff?” Many of our clients spend most of their day chasing down orders that have been delayed, aren’t located where they are supposed to be, or somehow have gone missing.  Supply Chain Visibility tools provide a triangulation of your stuff’s actual location when it’s in motion, combining real-time updates from carriers, port authorities, customs brokers, drayage companies, and more.  This kind of tool is essential in a VUCA world.
  2. Planning deliveries in and out of your facilities.  If you have a complex supply chain, chances are that you have a large network of warehouses, distribution centers, and cross-dock facilities.  Not planning the pickups and deliveries in a precise fashion in each of these facilities can cause chaos in your logistics operation.  Not to speak of the added expense from detention and demurrage, as carriers get jammed up at warehouse doors and can’t pick up or deliver on time.  Again, a tool that helps plan deliveries, even down to the minute, in collaboration with carriers or by applying optimization logic, is a life-saver in the VUCA environment.
  3. Communicating with your third-party warehouses and terminals.  If you don’t have tight real-time communication with your third-party storage and tolling locations, then you have no true visibility into your inventory.  You also don’t have good visibility into the PGI (Post Goods Issue) of your sold inventory, which can cause failure to take revenue onto your books quickly, and can even result in quarter-end Income Report misses – not good!  And not likely to win you any friends on Wall Street.  Tools to connect you to your third-party storage locations solve this issue, and help you thrive in these VUCA times.
  4. Electronic booking with your carriers.  If you are running a complex supply chain, and you DON’T have the ability to book freight automatically with your road, rail, ocean, and heavy air carriers, directly out of your ERP system into the carriers’ operational systems, it’s hard to be a winner in the VUCA world.  There are just too many uncertainties in using phone, fax, and email for this kind of activity – too easy for a shipment to get lost, or never get booked.  Again, shipment management tools for electronic booking, track and trace, and proof of delivery can help you thrive in this environment. 

Life is not easy in a VUCA world!  But there are some good Supply Chain tools out there that can help you rise above the challenges.  

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