Posted On May 17, 2016
One of the most difficult things to deal with in business—and for that matter, in life—is the unknown. People can deal with bad news or unfortunate events, as long as they know what they are dealing with. As bad as the “known” can be, the unknown is almost always worse.Unfortunately, in many supply chains, the unknown has come to be a painful fact of life.You don’t know where a product or part is.Or, if you do know which warehouse your product or part is located in, that’s the beginning and end of your knowledge. All too often, once a shipment leaves your facility it goes into a black hole, only to be heard from again after a significant loss of time and a tremendous amount of inefficiency. You can find a better way to manage your supply chain. Here are a few ways you can increase efficiency and visibility within your supply chain today: 1. Work with the same partner on freight and warehousing. It goes without saying that the more systems, hands, people, and companies that handle your shipment, the greater the chance is that a black hole will open up. As your shipment changes hands, inefficiencies increase and visibility decreases.One important way to minimize the chance that something gets misplaced (or, far more common, that a warehouse just doesn’t know what is contained within a shipment) is to work with the same partner for freight and warehousing.A common problem resulting from using separate freight and warehousing providers is a failure to provide the warehouse with a pre-alert regarding the contents of the shipment. When that occurs a warehouse receives a shipment without relevant information—like part numbers—making it difficult and time consuming to locate a specific part. Using the same partner for freight and warehousing greatly increases visibility and decreases inefficiency and delays.2. When it comes to warehousing, fundamentals = peace of mind. When warehousing is done right, it is simple, efficient, and should be the least of your supply chain worries. However, done incorrectly—as it too often is—warehousing has the potential to create unnecessary delays, loss, and inefficiency within your supply chain.Make sure your logistics department and providers are partnering with or utilizing warehousing that have the fundamentals covered, like having bins and other storage areas that are clearly labeled, well organized, and accessible along with the ability to verify that information. Make sure warehouse management is responsive, thorough, and understands the crucial role warehousing plays in your supply chain, and is technologically advanced enough to communicate that information in real time.Of course, knowing that your warehousing provider has a solid grasp of the fundamentals is easier when you…3. Use technology to increase visibility throughout your supply chain. You know an order of parts left your facility a week ago to one of your warehouse locations, and you need to get some of those parts to a client today. Do you know: How many are available to ship? Where those parts are stored? What rack location they are in, with certainty?For too many logistics managers, the answer is no. That product is in an unknown corner of the warehouse—even though it’s needed today. And if you used separate freight and warehousing partners, there is a chance that you may not even be 100% sure that the part is in the warehouse at all.Your supply chain lacks visibility, and a lack of visibility is one of the most significant challenges any company faces.Fortunately, there is a way to increase visibility, today. Flat World Supply Chain’s technology, allows you to store, route, and see every stage of your supply chain, regardless of the number of locations or complexity of SKU’s and routings. Working with a partner, like Flat World Supply Chain, that can physically warehouse your shipment and provide visibility through technology provides the scale you need in your logistics program. Visibility, peace of mind, and assurance—those are the qualities that will bring your shipment out of the dark, and into the light.