Control over the end-to-end supply chain lies in careful planning of both inbound and outbound activities, and without doubt, disasters and emergencies will eventually arise. The responsiveness of the supply chain depends on the ability of shippers to rapidly increase shipment volume to meet demand, as well as the ability of carriers to heed those demands. Moreover, sharing the right information in shipping urgency, including whether it is a true emergency shipping need, can literally be the difference between life and death, especially in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. So, let’s look at emergency shipping amid uncertainty and how a data driven TMS (transportation management system) can help.
The biggest problem with current emergency shipping management strategies lies in the lack of standardization for expedited, urgent, and emergency shipping needs. Some carriers may offer an expedited service, such as same-day delivery, but even still, there is a degree of risk in the supply chain. To clear the confusion, shippers must define the characteristics of the shipment and its urgency. For example, consider this breakdown:
The only way to truly understand the time sensitivity of shipments and the chosen routes lies in seeing the whole shipment journey in advance. Shippers know when customers need to receive a product, so it is their best interest to recognize the actual time needed to move even the highest priority of items. As a result, the fastest option might be air freight, but if air freight is unavailable, ground delivery or rail may still suffice. This is where a data driven TMS adds value. Data driven TMS functions rely on real-time data to make informed decisions. For emergency shipments, namely emergency supplies to disaster-stricken areas, failure to consider real-time data will lead to delays. For instance, current travel restrictions have been in place and are now subject to checkpoints for shipments moving between Texas and Louisiana. Similar restrictions can be found almost anywhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, shippers need to think about the whole picture, and that is only possible when the TMS considers the whole picture too.
Shippers that wish to leverage emergency or critical shipping needs with a TMS should follow these best practices.
As the global supply chain continues to sway in response to changing market dynamics, proactive risk management means understanding the value of emergency shipping and leaving nothing to chance. This includes recognizing when your current, outdated systems will fall severely short, and depending on the shipment contents, lives could be at stake. Fortunately, the Cerasis Rater has the end-to-end capabilities, including last-mile tracking and management, to achieve the needed level of visibility and protection for emergency shipping.
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