Feeling the Capacity Squeeze? It’s Time to Get Agile!

By empowering people and sparking their entrepreneurial spirit, companies are using organizational agility to create improved results and inspire creative thought amongst their employees.

For many legacy corporations, the main obstacle to respond quickly to new market trends and disruptive new market entrants are: extensive hierarchic decision-making processes, competing internal initiatives, and silo-based thinking. When the market shifts suddenly, less progressive companies are often left in the dust because there are too many steps and decision-makers involved.

Mike Richardson, author of “Cracking the Agility Code,” told me the industry is entering “a new era of better, faster, cheaper that is requiring enterprises of all shapes and sizes to pivot to agile.” Mike then explained that agility is “the ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and stay ahead of our competition in meeting customer expectations.”

This is relevant now more than ever to shippers as it applies to the current driver and capacity shortage in the full truckload market. Shippers are now expected to meet increasingly narrow delivery windows or pay costly “compliance fees” or penalties, which eat heavily into profits. With drivers being picky about where they want to take loads from, many shippers are balancing price and capacity while they compete to get their goods to market.  

According to the Journal Of Commerce, the US economy has grown at a rate of 2.6 to 3.2 percent growth over the last three quarters, adding yet another layer of complexity to the transportation capacity issue. Shippers of all types need to rethink their Supply Chain Strategy and specifically their distribution schedules, while increasing efficiency and look at making their shipping and receiving processes more efficient.

“It’s an industry-wide challenge, including with supply chains and shippers,” Mike said, “Enterprise agility is the only competitive advantage which has any permanence these days.”

But where does a shipper start with getting that kind of visibility into their supply chain? Without a consolidated log of all their calls and shipment statuses, it becomes difficult to find the blind spots where your supply chain might be weakest.

The first step would be to find a software solution to post and track shipments. Freight tracking software, like the NEXT for Shippers portal, help shippers see exactly where their loads are by the minute through live GPS tracking. Using this technology, shippers can even more efficiently direct truckers at their warehouses, saving time loading and unloading.

Plus, with a full shipment timeline for each load and comprehensive metrics measured in the platform, it’s easy to go back and see any weak spots in the supply chain. From there, shipping companies can then implement organizational agility practices and adjust their workflows to start moving loads even more efficiently by putting people and inventory in the right place at the right time. If you are tracking a load and see that it is coming to your warehouse in 15 minutes, move to make sure that you have a dock available for that truck to park in and workers available to move the freight where it needs to go.

Once you figure out how and when loads are moving in and out of the warehouse, your supply chain will be agile enough to easily recalibrate for whatever shifts the market throws at you.

Mike Richardson is the author of “Cracking the Agility Code.” You can learn more about his work at agilitycode.com.

Have more questions about agile supply chains? Reach out to Gina on LinkedIn or email her at gina@nexttrucking.com.

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