The Advantage of Adaptation and Flexibility in Order Fulfillment
We picked up the print edition at the time (PDF below), and can now share the piece with you here online.
An important element of what was discussed, the importance of flexibility in order fulfillment, is also a timely one, given the major disruption experienced by west coast supply chain operations in recent months.
PDF of the article: Capacity Feature Trans Logistics
More specifically, it's the importance of having an adaptive, flexible fulfillment provider that can really make or break a relationship when times get tough.
Furthermore, there are a seemingly infinite number of disruptions that can occur in our industry to make life tough for your business to consistently deliver at or above customer expectations.
The Advantage of Flexibility in Order Fulfillment
When a link in your supply chain breaks, the last thing you need to deal with is a service provider who is too rigid to adjust their operation and offer a solution.
As CSO Thom Campbell explains in the T&I article, our industry comprises companies of all shapes and sizes, some of whom are "10 times or larger than our size.” In some cases that larger scale can be a benefit to customers, but there are also situations when it can limit response time.
In those cases Capacity's medium-sized operation brings a key competitive advantage: the ability to adapt, quickly. “There are areas where they are not as nimble as us... areas where we can be more responsive," explains Campbell, underlining a key concept that can often drag on companies with extensive resources but too many administrative layers to use them effectively when sudden disruption hits.
Beyond size, though, there are still certain qualities required for any fulfillment company aiming to provide a flexible approach for their customers. These include:
- Active listening: Taking input from all areas of the supply chain is critical to stay up to date with current service options and understanding the potential for future disruption.
- Learning: Take time to learn what has gone wrong in the past and how others have solved the problem. The more experience you have understanding disruptions in the supply chain, the more solutions.
- Open-minded: Standard processes are important, but when it comes time to get creative they can stifle any fulfillment provider who can't think outside the box.
- A collaborative approach: More than anything else, a fulfillment provider needs to let the customer take the lead on end objectives, while still offering the benefit of industry expertise to come up with the most efficient fulfillment ideas. The customer should set the standards, with the supplier driving operational solutions, and both parties must respect the expertise of the other.