In 2010, we saw several indications of a global recovery, but we also experienced some challenging conditions that resulted in a rush to keep supply chains running smoothly. As we look to 2011, third-party logistics providers and their customers should be focused on what they can do to better prepare for supply chain risks and disruptions.
We experienced an unprecedented imbalance of supply and demand in ocean carrier capacity last summer that sent all parties in the supply chain scrambling for solutions. Although it’s uncertain this crunch will occur again this year, customers should begin their preparations to ensure their supply chain has options to minimize such disruptions.
Other key factors that have become even more visible for many are flexibility and innovation, especially when it comes to IT solutions. 3PLs not only should be managing the supply chain but constantly seeking innovative opportunities to improve on costs, risk mitigation, agility and overall efficiency. IT solutions must be flexible and adaptable.
We are optimistic for what 2011 will bring, but we must continue to prepare for whatever challenges may arise. Companies that want to maximize the efficiency of their end-to-end supply chain must focus less on transactional relationships with supply chain vendors and more on developing value-added partnerships.