While the integral Suez Canal supply channel is no longer blocked, other supply chain issues remain. In fact, according to a recent report, 24 container ships – with a combined maximum carrying capacity nearly 10 times that of the Suez Canal ship – were recently anchored off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach, holding up millions of dollars’ worth of cargo. While both instances of bottlenecks took place within days of each other, these traffic snarls are not the primary culprit of clogged supply chains.
While shipping and other data today are an important part of building successful logistics operations, these areas alone cannot solve real-time supply chain issues. Suppose logistics operators and organizations don’t have the proper visibility into their warehouse data and operations. In that case, they are unable to make quick changes in response to supply chain snarls and backlogs. The lack of complete end-to-end visibility was also why so many manufacturers and suppliers suffered during the pandemic. Unfortunately for many organizations, this real-time visibility gap starts in the warehouse.
Bridging the Gap Starts in the Warehouse
Various factors are being blamed for the recent supply chain disruptions – the size of ships and containers, congestion at the ports, and how narrow the canal channels remain. The Port of Los Angeles in North America is one of the busiest channels but can’t regularly receive 20,000-container vessels due to the lack of infrastructure. Even so, fixing any one of these factors will not truly solve the primary causes of supply chain backlogs.
Enhanced visibility technology into the warehouse, yard management, and labor resources yields both time and cost savings for companies dealing with supply chain backlogs. For example, real-time access to data to determine which trucks have been sitting and for how long has become key to prioritizing and assigning tasks within the distribution center to improve customer fulfillment, minimize risks, and avoid costly and unnecessary fees. But without real-time visibility into the yard, appointments can get de-prioritized, delayed, or missed. The warehouse is the heart of the supply chain, yet very few end-to-end tools solve the problems of warehouse visibility and labor management.
By Alex Wakefield