Supply Chain Interruption: Avoiding blind flights through countermeasures

9 June 2021
by Synfioo  • 3 min read

Threats leading to interruptions in the supply chains lurk at many points. Numerous disruptive factors will remain unpredictable in the future, rendering one delay or another unavoidable. Using digital solutions in logistics, potential risks can be better assessed, or broken supply chain routes can be bypassed with alternative legs. Players who keep an overview of suitable countermeasures save time and therefore costs.

Why brands such as Google, facebook, eBay or Amazon were able to leave behind their competitors cannot be explained by an exact number of reasons. Nor can logistics index numbers comprehensibly illustrate the success or failure of supply chain management. However, the aspect of punctuality is not missing from any enumeration of these Key Performance Indicators, in which achievements in the supply chain are made measurable. Even though the rate of on-time deliveries in individual projects can usually be calculated quite clearly – the number of on-time deliveries divided by the total number of deliveries made times 100 – there are hardly any branch-wide surveys on delays and supply chain interruptions.

The logistics market is too large, complex, and fragmented to accurately document punctuality in entirety. As a result of the Corona crisis and the accompanying production stops in factories, border closures, and the generally enhanced demand for transport modes and structures distorted or even completely interrupted global supply chains are part of the current everyday life in logistics. The cost of supply chain disruptions is high. These effects are for example now very evident in the automotive industry, which must stop production due to delayed supplies of important subproducts from time to time. Furthermore, interruptions to transports of perishables, groceries, or medical goods such as vaccines show how import the topic for our contemporary life is.

What are the causes of supply chain disruptions?

Anyone who has been in the logistic business for a long time can tell an anecdote or two about why deliveries were late, goods were going in the wrong direction or roads suddenly ended in nowhere. In everyday life, the “usual suspects” dominate the discussion: weather phenomena or short-term driver cancellations can, for example, delay the departure of a transport. Time-consuming traffic jams along the way result from accidents or heavily frequented bottlenecks due to broken infrastructure. Corona related border closures or complex customs formalities at border crossings, as witnessed because of Brexit, sometimes lead to traffic jams for miles with long waiting periods.

Closed gates at the entrance to the destination or a lack of powerful cranes or stackers for the unloading process can further negatively impact the time account at the end of the supply chain. Of course, many potential breakdowns can already be avoided by professional supply chain management. But many unforeseen events and crisis situations will still lead to disruptions in the previously mentioned processes – even in a future of transport logistics that will become increasingly digitalized and has grown in terms of expertise.

How can you best manage supply chain disruptions?

With historical data that we at Synfioo have processed on many transport routes worldwide, recurring patterns in traffic data become visible. For example, certain bottlenecks, which may even occur only at certain phases in the week, month, or year, become apparent. To do this, we use “big data” to generate the data basis for possible alternative routes that can be used as smart solutions against delays. While these routes would normally entail longer transit times, they are the more efficient approach for carrying out the transports due to the high probability of disruptions occurring on the standard route. However, once the transport is underway, we at Synfioo monitor and analyze the complete course of the transports in real time.

This way, the status quo is always visible for all parties involved – to avoid flying blind regarding the current location of the goods. For some years now, navigation devices have been standard in private cars, incorporating current traffic jam predictions into the advised arrival time. In the B2B sector, digital companies like us provide a wide range of live information for all parties involved in the transports, in addition to reliable and precise ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) predictions. Current disruption and movement data allows a visualization of the miles already driven and those still to be covered, as well as the time spent in transit. In this way, the information service provides a data-based overview of intermodal transports. With this knowledge, you can optimize your supply chains and make even better and more targeted use of resources, not least at the destination of a transport. Interruptions in supply chains will be unavoidable even in the future, however, with our help you can at least be prepared for disruption-emergencies. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about managing supply chain disruptions best.

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