So what's needed in order to make your supply chain work in the face of a global environment? Swartz stresses optimization and flexibility, as well as risk reduction and transparency into existing processes (and proactivity if these processes need to be updated).
Let's talk about these requirements in more detail.
- Optimization. Streamlining your information management "simplifies the decision-making process," according to Swartz. It's one of the reasons that cloud-based technology is becoming more popular among 3PL providers.
- Flexibility. If your markets are no longer local, you need to have systems in place that can handle "differentiated offerings."
- Risk reduction. Assessment is your first step here; research your suppliers thoroughly to get a good sense of their practices and capabilities. The more you know, the more you'll be able to put measures in place to mitigate potential risks.
- Transparency and proactivity. A more holistic focus allows you to see the "big picture" for your supply chain across different markets. It also allows you to be proactive (to "easily pivot," as Swartz says), should changes need to be made in the way you're managing your workflow. White glove home delivery is the most contact any person within your supply chain will have with the customer so you better be prepared to be transparant and take care of issues before they arise.