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Resiliency is the New Supply Chain Mandate

Insurance companies are showing that the supply chain disruptions over the past decade have increased, and recent disruptions due to COVID-19 have also highlighted a greater need for increased supply chain resiliency, noted Michael Zimmerman, a partner with the consulting firm Kearney and lead author of CSCMP's 31st Annual State of Logistics Report®.

According to the report, shippers can better sustain their operations in the face of disruptions if they have built more dynamic supply chains.

Having the capability and technology to react swiftly to disruptive events hasn't typically been rewarded by shippers in the past when the focus was always on reducing costs, but recent events have showed shippers that planning for disruption is a new muscle they need, Zimmerman explained.

"By investing in enterprise risk management models, developing relationships with trusted partners, and implementing measures to flex capacity and variable costs, you develop the people, processes and infrastructure to dynamically adjust to the next sudden change, regardless of its direction," Zimmerman wrote. "What shippers can do today is prepare for those events by planning for multi-carrier and multi-modal logistics."

Companies can better manage their exposure to future risk through efficient operations, including increased tender lead times and improved forecast accuracy, Zimmerman said. He also added that shippers experiencing growth should be particularly interested in future-proofing their business related to disruption to grow sustainably.

"You want to set up your supply chain to easily adapt to market changes," he said. "Evaluate your trucking carrier relationships and build strategic partnerships with carriers that will invest in your network, driving profitability and enabling sustainable growth for both parties."

Shippers experiencing slowdowns will be particularly interested in opportunities to reduce short-term logistics costs or capacity constraints. They could launch sourcing programs to diversify their supply base, reevaluating their carrier and mode strategy, and optimize their routing capabilities to get the most out of their resources, Zimmerman said.

"For shippers with private or dedicated fleets, one way to do this is by investigating shared-use networks, partnerships that match your assets with other shippers' networks to identify backhaul opportunities," he said.

Penske Can Help

Penske has transportation and supply chain solutions, including trucks for rent, used trucks for sale and freight capacity, to help companies create their ideal supply chain resources.

Penske Logistics runs a dedicated fleet of over 8,000 vehicles and has an expansive network of preferred DOT authorized for-hire carriers and private fleets under contract. It also offers freight brokerage across multiple transportation modes including truck, ship, air or intermodal rail and can help carriers find backhaul opportunities. Moreover, Penske Logistics leverages innovative technologies, scenario planning and network design, inventory management and warehousing strategies to help companies stay resilient during difficult times.