Quick Guide to Logistics Planning in 2024
In the face of the pandemic with customers unable to leave their homes, the e-commerce movement skyrocketed. Products such as hand sanitizer, water filters, and board games saw a huge influx of purchases, putting unexpected pressure on the supply chain. However, in the post-pandemic environment, the consumer’s preference has switched towards experiences rather than goods. It is highly likely that consumer behavior may fluctuate in 2024, thus presenting logistics teams with the new challenge of providing unprecedented flexibility and readiness to meet these volatile demands.
In addition, new legislations, protocols, and requirements begin to play a bigger role in making logistics more data-oriented and sustainable and driving many companies to improve their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) scores in the eyes of the market, investors, and clients.
We have put together this logistics planning guide, to assist your organization with the key objectives that you need to focus on in 2024.
Logistics Planning Should Be Data-Driven – It Is No Longer an Option
Whether your logistics operations are local, national, or global, the need for clarity between stakeholders will keep your business afloat. If your company has piles of data in various formats and systems, discovering actionable insights can become a challenge. Standardizing the way you record and describe data means you can share, exchange, combine and understand data more efficiently within your supply chain network.
To guarantee a durable data-driven logistics planning strategy, your information must be accurate and relevant:
- Agree on objectives and data format standards: without these, you will be left with a very granular set of data that is difficult to comprehend or integrate with the wider network. On top of that, the lack of formats facilitates data discrepancies which lead to operational inefficiencies and failures.
- A clear understanding of one version of the truth: continuously share the latest data to provide consistency across departments and global divisions.
- There have to be systems in place: use your historical data to understand your capabilities. Create a digital planner, or use an external solution like Transmetrics, to include key metrics such as demand per asset, location, optimal storage figures, and peak periods. Integrating these with live data will take you one step ahead.
Logistics Planning Teams Need to Leverage the New Technologies
Augmented Intelligence is the synergy of machines and humans. While AI technology adopts repetitive and tedious tasks, people use their experience, flexibility, emotional intellect, and common sense to train the technologies, monitor the trends presented in automated reports, and assign changes to the data when needed.
AI-driven forecasting software has the power to review information from multiple sources (such as historical and real-time vehicle monitoring, asset availability, and sales) to reliably predict demand and capabilities. To improve shipping needs and capacity utilization, AI-powered optimization can empower logistics planning with the most accurate and up-to-date suggestions. There is no one best fit when choosing technological solutions for your operations. It’s important to be well-informed and make your selection carefully.
Increase efficiency in your supply chain by:
- Deciding what technology will benefit your logistics the most: make sure to research neutral information as well as specific suppliers to prevent a biased selection.
- Ensure that your existing technologies can be integrated with newer solutions: this enables automated data sharing and communication between relevant departments in real time.
- Think strategically: with more time saved through automating processes, employees can focus on strategy, and customer excellence, and create solutions when unexpected events occur.
The Customer Has the Power
The surge of online deliveries will continue, however, the race for the fastest delivery will evolve to focus on being more flexible. Consumers are looking for more control over when products arrive to fit their schedules. This requires careful planning as the most important factor is to meet these service expectations.
Visibility of data is vital for the convenience of both the average consumer, looking to track their shipment, and the rising conscious consumer, who wants to know your carbon footprint and the values you set out. For internal decision-makers, it supports the fulfillment of various objectives ranging from fleet performance to driver behavior and idling.
It’s time, to be honest, and build trust within your ecosystem:
- Provide accurate delivery slots: understanding journey times and frequency of orders by location will help improve route management.
- Be realistic and transparent: estimate delivery slots with a buffer window i.e. between 14:00 and 15:00 as opposed to 14:00 will give drivers more leeway. Visible tracking will increase transparency, and efficiency and improve the customer experience.
- Plan for disruption: make sure you have a contingency plan. Dual-sourcing, distributing stock directly from the warehouse and local stores, can improve flexibility.
The Path to Modern Logistics Planning
Unfortunately, we all know it’s not as simple as the ‘new year, new supply chain’ in the logistics industry, and we must plan with disruption and unexpected circumstances in mind.
Whether you are implementing new processes around improving data collection or within the operations, make sure there is room for flexibility. Automated, transparent data sharing and communication among stakeholders will support quicker and more effective decision-making and can empower intelligent logistics planning.
Logistics service providers will need to work harder to deliver reliable information and improve their visibility to meet consumer demand in 2024. By leveraging technologies, logistics planning teams will have more time to focus on strategies to meet changing consumer demands and prepare for the unexpected.