The logistics industry is no stranger to disruption. However, the more common supply chain disruptions have been fairly predictable like seasonality, or short-lived like inclement weather and manufacturing issues. In contrast, nothing about COVID-19’s effect on the supply chain has been predictable.
Shippers experienced rollercoaster variability and unstable supply throughout the bulk of 2020 before buckling in for a yearlong peak in 2021. Consumer demands surged all year, and expectations continue to increase in volumes and complexity. As more shoppers embrace online shopping, the demand for faster delivery has intensified. These demands, coupled with ongoing supply chain challenges and delays, puts a strain on companies that are already facing capacity constraints and sky-high shipping costs.
In particular, as same-day and next-day shipping become the new normal, companies are thinking about how their ware-housing and fulfillment networks set them up for success or failure. Being able to meet consumer expectations and tolerate disruptions without compromising service levels is key to navigating the next era of logistics operations and consumer demands. Forward-looking retailers and brands recognize that there are new logistics solutions and strategies that will help them get there faster.
FreightWaves partnered with Flexe to survey shippers about the changes they implemented in their supply chains in order to manage the pressures of the past two years. Survey respondents were also asked about their strategies to meet consumer demands, including warehouse and fulfillment network design.