Those of us who have been around the block a few times in the logistics business know when we’re getting bad directions  – especially promises that following a trendy path will immediately “Revolutionize Your Operations!”

Experienced shippers build their enterprises through continuous evolution rather than revolution. While it’s tempting to believe disruptive technologies such as drone deliveries and driverless vehicles will offer a miraculous competitive edge, we think it makes more sense to wait for the big ideas to solidify, mature and become part of the mainstream before betting the farm.

Our preferred strategy is to look for ways to bolster our business through proven trends that can be integrated now without breaking the bank or building reliance on unproven technologies.

Here are two strategies we’ve built into our business at ICAT Logistics Detroit.

Using and Sharing Data. When your supply chain’s reputation is built on your ability to deliver products and services flawlessly and on time, the quality of your data analytics and your knowledge-sharing networks are essential for your success and that of your customers. Data analytics offer insights into where you’re at risk, what you can expect in terms of demand, and how collaborative, integrated planning can help suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and customers work together for mutual benefit.  According to a study by Accenture, “companies that embed data analytics in their operations are far more likely to generate a range of important supply chain benefits, including shortened order-to-delivery cycles, increased efficiency, improved cost and better customer relationships.”

Contingency Planning.  Creating a detailed contingency plan that is shared and tested across your supply chain acknowledges an important reality: Stuff happens. In one survey of U.S. companies, nearly 75 percent reported experiencing unplanned supply chain disruptions — a third of which lasted more than a month.  Contingency planning is critical for handling the unexpected. What if there is a strike at your main supplier, a natural disaster closes supply routes or political strife that makes commerce impossible in and out of the area where you’ve been getting parts?

Your ICAT team has become expert in contingency planning because we learned early on that considering alternatives was essential for serving our freight and logistics customers seamlessly when the best laid plans go awry.

How do you create a contingency plan?  It starts with communication. Our team meets regularly to list and prioritize the possibilities we may face in serving a client.  Then, we talk options.  If this happens, we can pivot and offer that alternative.  Our plan is tested by time and experience.

To create a plan of your own, put together representatives from each part of your supply chain to talk about the things that keep them up at night.  Then, begin to consider how to resolve those challenges before you have to face them for real.

By integrating data analytics and contingency planning into your business, you’ll make the kind of steady progress that prepares you better for every business eventuality down the road – even a revolutionary disruption.

We’re your custom shipping resource. Solutions to our customers’ most challenging issues are derived from decades of success in global logistics.