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Supply chain leaders should be looking toward 2021, and in a normal year, parcel shipping plans would be well underway. But 2020 has been anything but normal, and in an environment where every week introduces a new challenge, it can be difficult to anticipate next Monday, let alone next year.

So what’s a supply chain leader to do?

Navigating Uncertainty Requires Agile Parcel Shipping

Continuing to take a rigid approach to parcel shipping is no longer effective for most supply chain teams. Supply chain leaders instead need to adopt a more agile approach, one that allows them to anticipate, adapt, and prioritize within shorter time frames in response to everything from changing market dynamics to carrier capacity issues.

Companies that have been successful in 2020 are those that have been able to optimize order fulfillment strategies on the fly. They are quickly comparing order fulfillment scenarios and making smart decisions to adapt to ongoing shifts in consumer demand, mitigate on-time delivery risk, and stay ahead of the competition.

One key area where these supply chain leaders have recalibrated their approach to parcel shipping in today’s unpredictable environment: digitizing and integrating the supply chain technology stack.

Improve Supply Chain Agility for Parcel Shipping in 2021

In the 2019 Third Party Logistics Study, 42% of survey respondents said they had not made necessary changes to improve their agility over the past five years. This lack of agility was further underscored by 38% of shippers admitting they were inconsistent at executing in an omni-channel environment (seamlessly serving customers both online and in stores), and 36% admitted they have no capability in this area.  Introduce a global pandemic into this equation, and it’s easy to see why some shippers are suffering.

Adding insult to injury: this lack of agility comes at a cost. According to Supply & Demand Chain Executivetop supply chains perform at one-fourth of the costs per $1,000 in revenue.  This difference means a bottom performer with $5 billion in annual revenue could incur $403.9 million in additional supply chain costs per year.

Despite these grim statistics, there are countless examples of shippers that are not only surviving but thriving in today’s environment. Consider the pandemic-induced pivot from in-store shopping to online—a big change that came with great opportunities, such as reaching more consumers in geographically dispersed locations. Shippers that had integrated inventory, order management, warehouse management, and parcel shipping systems were able to make this pivot seamlessly and ship goods from any point of origin (store, distribution center, warehouse) to any destination.

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In addition, these organizations embraced the cloud to decrease supply chain risks. A digitized supply chain, most easily established via cloud solutions, can help organizations predict and anticipate risk while improving transparency and coordination across the supply chain. Digitized supply chains are faster, more accurate, and more flexible than other supply chains, and each is anchored by a single system of record or source of truth for the organization, often a warehouse management system.

With an eye on how quickly the world in which we operate can change, more organizations have also come to realize the benefits of integrating a cloud, multi-carrier parcel management system with their supply chain technology stack to expand their transportation network beyond the “big three” and leverage multiple carriers, including regional carriers and couriers, for cost-effective order fulfillment and parcel shipping. Carrier rate shopping, for example, has become more important than ever as surcharges increase.

Sophisticated multi-carrier parcel management solutions will also yield analytics and reporting to improve the process for critical decision making. Some shippers who have not prioritized the use of real-time analytics in the past have now opened their eyes to the benefits as of late. Having the ability to analyze e-commerce fulfillment data and unlock insights can transform fulfillment and slash costs by identifying problems, their root causes, and opportunities to improve.

Logistyx enables supply chain teams to anticipate, pivot, and win.

To achieve omnichannel fulfillment, supply chain teams need to be able to share data seamlessly, pandemic or no pandemic. And this is where multi-carrier parcel management systems come in. A multi-carrier parcel management system like Logistyx TME enables shippers to adjust and respond to any reality to successfully meet order fulfillment KPIs.

As a leader in the parcel shipping technology industry, Logistyx solutions integrate with the entire supply chain technology stack, giving everyone across the business visibility into order fulfillment. And with Logistyx TME, supply chain leaders can quickly and accurately create and compare different scenarios to support decision-making. They can swiftly weigh the impact of, for example, a carrier surcharge, before executing a transportation strategy, eliminating guesswork and instilling confidence their decisions will yield the right outcomes.

Despite current challenges, there’s no better time for supply chain leaders to empower the enterprise to thrive in a new era of strategic supply chain planning.  Learn more about how your organization can effectively plan for 2021 in this e-book: React, Recover, Prepare: Future-Proofing Supply Chain Management.