Manufacturing Supply Chain Constraints and How to Overcome Them

Jason VanoverFreight Market Blog

Managing the manufacturing supply chain and freight markets of today requires skills, tools, applications and services that have never been utilized in the past. Several constraints and limitations exist that need to be dealt with and overcome to find success and growth. 

Supply chain constraints are impossible to avoid, but they can be planned for to reduce their impact. For instance,  the image shows a wait time of 135 minutes on February 21, 2021, one week following Winter Storm Uri. However, the current wait of 99 minutes on March 7, 2021 is significantly lower than the wait time observed in recent years. Seeing that trend indicates increased manufacturing or distribution activity, typical for the flurry of activity that accompanies spring. And as such, it may be necessary to expand into new markets with a shorter wait time, especially in regard to the distribution of e-commerce goods following the vaccine roll-out and pent-up consumer demand.

It is those considerations that drive mini-bid activity says CCJ Digital. Think about it. “With mini-bids, carriers have an opportunity to focus more time and resources on specific lanes, improving the balance of their freight networks. These efforts are more likely to be rewarded with victories than spending an excessive amount of time and resources on large, annual bid packages.” So, it’s equally valuable to know the constraints and to apply data to overcome them with mini-bids.

Limited insight into inventory demands resulting in problems procuring raw materials 

The manufacturing supply chain depends on the availability of raw materials to create and distribute goods and products. Overcoming limited visibility, managing low inventory and enabling superior warehouse monitoring are critical for growth and profitability. Knowing what products, materials and resources are available at any time will help manufacturing supply chain managers maximize profits, limit disruptions, and improve overall customer service and satisfaction throughout the network.

Inability to account for market fluctuations due to disruptions 

Within the manufacturing supply chain industry, there is a question about whether disruptions will happen and when they will occur. Weather issues and delays continue to be the most common source of fluctuation and disturbance to the modern supply chain. Knowing what to expect is critical, but just as important is the ability to quickly and effectively respond to and deal with issues when they arise. It is what sets manufacturing supply chain companies apart.

Of course, figuring additional opportunities to save resources, like better planning of the dock schedule through proactive management of dwell time and considering the inbound port activity, will reduce the possible delays and costs that may arise. In other words, the manufacturing supply chain depends on the ability to move freight seamlessly throughout the entire network and to consider how those moves will translate into other activities. It’s a very complex and endless process that can all come to a standstill when disruption strikes. And lane-by-lane insights are critical to account for that disruption among raw material suppliers and the flow of outbound freight.

lane by lane analysis to improve transportation management

The globalization of e-commerce creates manufacturing issues that cannot be ignored or overlooked

Another point of conflict for managers who oversee manufacturing supply chains is the added pressure that comes from the global trade market of today. Dealing with shipments and partnerships that stretch across the globe brings unique challenges and pressures. The best manufacturing supply chain teams can adapt and respond to changes in the market and use these trends to grow and improve their services. 

Additive manufacturing, including 3D printing, is making tracking manufacturing more complex

Many trends have left their mark on manufacturing supply chain operations. Everything from the popularity and integration of 3D printing to additive manufacturing services puts more strain and pressure on the network. Those who manage manufacturing supply chains need to find ways to implement trends and work with them rather than fighting and resisting them. Growth and change in the market are inevitable, but must be addressed. 

Insight into market stability promotes increased transportation procurement and intervention when necessary

Insight into the manufacturing supply chain market depends on lane-level analysis and response. Knowing when it’s time to revisit bids and renegotiate contracts is critical for procurement and intervention management. Modern supply network managers need to be aware of these essential areas and prepare as much as possible in advance. Preparing management protocols and staying current with market trends is the best way to succeed with shipping procurement

Regardless of where a shipper begins or ends the day, the need for strategic and tactical advantage is absolute. Fortunately, today’s enterprise shippers now have a sure-fire way to gauge market volatility and stability on a lane-by-lane level. That’s the basic premise of SONAR SCI Lane Acuity. And by understanding more about lane-level insight, today’s shippers can immediately initiate new mini-bids, know when to onboard new lanes, rethink their existing contracts and more. Request a SONAR SCI Lane Acuity demo to get started or click the button below.