Building consistent supply chains in a post-pandemic world

September 20, 2023

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the topics of transportation and logistics to the forefront of our culture like never before. Suddenly stories about the supply chain dominated the evening news, and truckers everywhere were recognized as heroes. Now almost four years removed from the start of the outbreak, what are the lasting effects of the pandemic on the transport economy and what lessons remain from this watershed era?

The transportation market has bottomed out after the gold rush of recent years. This tracks with the decline in other industries such as construction and retail fueled by high inflation and interest rates. These drastic swings in the economy have led to major changes in business arrangements in the transport field.

Shippers relied on freight brokers to manage a massive volume of shipments on short notice during the pandemic boom. This left brokers in a difficult position from a profitability standpoint. Now that demand has died down, many of these shippers are quoting unsustainably low numbers. This is not a formula for lasting strategic partnerships in transport.

What lessons can the pandemic era teach us about maintaining a strong supply chain? Watch the latest episode of the Stay In Your Lane Podcast to learn more.

Budgeting during the pandemic was a massive challenge unto itself. Emerging into the new post-pandemic economy presented all new challenges.

“The way we started the pandemic and the way it’s wrapped up are two completely different environments,” explains supply chain leader Wendy Workman. “I do believe in focusing on budgets, but you’ve got to be pragmatic about what the market is doing.”

From pandemics to natural disasters and other emergencies, unforeseen circumstances that impact market conditions will inevitably arise. Planning a contingency for these extraordinary conditions should be a part of any sound approach to budgeting. Many businesses can’t see the value in budgeting for emergencies. Failing to do so can have a more dramatic impact on your bottom line than taking proactive measures in the first place.

“It’s not padding, it’s being realistic in an industry that’s been volatile for the last 20 years,” says Workman.

Aside from putting funds aside for a rainy day, building strong partnerships is essential for long term savings in the transport field. Good relationships with partners are also key in maintaining a high level of service. This also helps to keep liability low.

Ensuring that all parts of your organization are working in harmony is another crucial key to success. Often times, this means ensuring that your sales team is accountable to the demands of the transportation department.

“Transportation is a lot more complicated than it used to be,” says Workman. “It takes someone who is trained, well informed, and who knows the triggers that they need to manage. I think that’s what’s missing in a lot of my experience.”

Strong communication both internally and with transport partners. Budgeting for emergencies. Building and valuing strategic partner relationships. These are just a few of the strategies for maintaining a consistent supply chain highlighted by the pandemic. For more tips to help your business thrive during these trying times, subscribe to the Stay In Your Lane Podcast from Triple T Transport.

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