How to avoid supply chain disruptions using LTL freight shipping

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How to Avoid Supply Chain Disruptions Using LTL Freight Shipping

In today’s chaotic shipping environment, supply chain disruptions are inevitable. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused delays and congestion in nearly every facet of the shipping and manufacturing industries, and shippers, carriers, and businesses have had to adapt to the challenges presented by the condition of global, national, and local markets. In this guide, we will take a look at how supply chains work, the problems that can cause disruptions and delays, and the practices that can help alleviate supply chain gaps and strains and keep your business moving forward in the coming year.


How Supply Chains Work 

A supply chain is a network of people, businesses, and logistics that move a product from a supplier to a final customer. Like an actual chain, supply chains are made up of interconnected links that include any number of suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors necessary to produce a product ready for sale. Supply chain disruptions are any sudden local or global changes or crises that negatively impact any or all the links on the chain.


Types of Supply Chain Disruptions

Supply chain disruptions can be measured in two ways: by their probability and by their severity, each of which can vary depending on the industry being affected. Typical supply chain disruptions may involve problems with the product, the price of materials, transportation issues, or other unforeseen obstacles.


Product and Price Issues

Product quality or price issues can cause disruptions in supply chains. If the quality of materials used in production dips or becomes inconsistent, it can result in defective merchandise, product returns, customer dissatisfaction, or delays in shipping. If the price of certain manufacturing materials fluctuates too greatly, supply chains can become disrupted as businesses adjust by seeking out new suppliers, raising prices to accommodate new costs, or deciding to eat the costs themselves. The price of some materials, like crude oil, may fluctuate frequently and can significantly impact the supply chains of a variety of manufacturing and transportation industries.

Longer Supply Chains

With the globalization of commerce and transportation, it is now common for many supply chains to include international suppliers in their network. And while this expansion has led to increased business and trade opportunities, it also increased pressure on domestic and international transportation routes that can be susceptible to different local government restrictions, complex global logistics, and a variety of transportation obstacles that can arise as supply lines are stretched to greater distances.


Natural Disasters

Natural disasters and global crises can also significantly impact supply chain efficiency. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in labor and equipment shortages in both manufacturing and transportation, entire countries on lockdown, and increased safety regulations that slow the operational capacities of production and trade. Natural disasters like the 2011 tsunami in Japan that closed a number of businesses vital to the global economy resulted in a massive shortage of semiconductor components and auto parts, creating a ripple effect that severely affected many supply chains around the globe for years. Because of our globally interconnected economy, any large-scale natural event that disrupts the ability to produce and move materials and products can create major issues for supply chains that are dependent on those materials and products for manufacturing or retail sale.


Solutions to Supply Chain Disruptions

Because supply chain disruptions tend to happen with no advanced warning, the best way to deal with them is to plan ahead for a variety of contingencies. When it comes to disruptions that can occur during transportation, there are several things you can do to prepare your business for any eventualities that may threaten the efficiency of your supply chain.


Schedule Shipments Ahead of Time

Even under normal shipping conditions, the shorter the lead time on a booked shipment, the more difficult it can be to find capacity. In a shipping environment affected by natural disasters, pandemics, or labor shortages, providing ample lead time for carriers and securing capacity as soon as possible can have a considerable impact on the cost and type of shipping available, potential service delays, or whether a carrier can accommodate your shipment at all.


Expand Your Shipping Network 

One of the best ways to combat potential supply chain disruptions is to develop options. Expanding your shipping network and exploring multiple carriers and ways to ship your freight is critical to being able to adapt when a portion of your supply chain has been compromised. Actively seeking out different available options for shipping and manufacturing will ensure that your business is getting the best deal and the best value for the money and will also allow you to pivot and adapt to many supply and shipping issues should they arise.


Utilize a 3PL

Partnering with a knowledgeable 3PL can help shippers prepare for any supply chain disruptions that may occur. Trusted 3PLs like Koho have teams of shipping experts that are well versed in the complexities and fluctuations of the shipping industry to help shippers find the best rates for their shipments and prepare their shipping network for events that may impact their supply chains.


Build Strong Carrier Relationships 

3PLs can also help shippers develop strong relationships with their carriers to ensure they will be accommodated in the event of an unforeseen delay or disruption. Shippers and 3PLs that establish strong connections and good communication with carriers can benefit by receiving advanced information regarding potential shipping disruptions, establishing multiple shipping options that can circumvent any obstacles that arise, and securing load coverage in tight capacity markets.

Supply chain disruptions can be unexpected and abrupt, so the best way to counteract their negative impact is to be prepared. Creating a supply chain disaster recovery plan, establishing solid relationships with shipping partners, and planning ahead are all critical to overcoming any disruptions that arise and keeping your supply chain moving as smoothly as possible.

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