The omnichannel peak season for 2020 will be an entirely new beast in logistics. The days of planning for a gradual ramp-up to peak season have vanished. Meanwhile, the need to maximize the value of the existing supply chain technologies has never been higher. As noted by Supply Chain Dive, “Some manufacturers (31%) do not see a significant return on investment (ROI) from incremental automation.” For these reasons, it’s essential to realize what barriers to new technology use in peak season remain and how to overcome them.
Bringing Omnichannel to the Forefront of E-Commerce
Barriers to New Technology Adoption Before Peak Season
Part of the reason that companies experience setbacks during peak season lies within the limited capabilities of technology. Each year, the value and flurry of activity that accompanies the holidays create new challenges and needs. However, using the right blend of technology, people, and software is essential to overcoming new technology’s real barriers. Typical barriers include implementation costs, lack of skills, a rigid company culture, communications, and a lack of integration between systems, says Graham Park of Supply & Demand Chain Executive:
“A digital platform that instantly collects and analyzes real-time data from across your supply chain network allows businesses to make quick, informed decisions and react to opportunities and risks as they happen. This opportunity protects the bottom line from getting impacted by supply chain risks and provides more chances to increase profitability.”
Ultimately, everyone needs more transportation management system (TMS) software adoption to thrive. But what does that entail?
Peak Season Needs More…Well More
The 2020 omnichannel peak season is on track to set new records. As businesses have been locked in a battle for capacity and online order fulfillment for years, the sudden demand generated by COVID-19 is forcing a complete overhaul of existing strategies. At the same time, companies are trying to justify their current technology improvements while managing new implementations. According to Supply Chain Brain, “To be modern and competitive, non-technology forward industries need to invest in technology to stay relevant. However, spending money on an IT department and developing software in the cloud doesn’t give companies the results they want. It’s an area where many have tried to go before and failed. In fact, the more they build, the more everyone tends to complain about the technology.”
It is indeed easy to get lost in the chaos of new systems and trying to maximize value. There comes the point when the new system cannot add more value due to existing problems or limited shareability of the data and value of the system itself. In other words, the tech stack begins to falter. However, an improved supply chain strategy that looks out for the nuances of omnichannel peak season, combining them within the TMS, can help the company create better results and genuinely deliver on more substantial margins.
How to Overcome the Obstacles Without Added Costs
The steps to overcoming obstacles to new technology adoption for omnichannel peak season readiness are simple and include:
- Emphasize that it’s not too late to evolve. A common misconception among supply chains is that this is the best for today. That’s not reality. New logistics startups and opportunities to build in more connections continue to evolve. The key to success is learning to recognize these opportunities and work regardless of the current digital transformation level.
- Build support among shareholders and staff. The next step to success is getting everyone on board with new changes. Remember that new adoptions will undoubtedly cause pushback. Work to focus on the value-added and how it will improve working conditions for everyone.
- Avoid sudden changes without providing proper training and help. Adequate training and complete transparency are crucial to making transitions into using new omnichannel peak season technologies easy.
- Work with an expert, such as 3PL, to better manage implementations. Expert guidance will go a long way in reducing delays, and ensuring system implementation goes smoothly.
- Look to past examples to take stock of lessons learned. Past software and technology implementations offer invaluable insight into what has and hasn’t worked well.
- Connect systems with APIs and EDI to share data in real-time. Again, using connectivity capabilities to unify systems is essential.
- Align your communications within a centralized resource. Centralized communications before, during, and after new technology adoption are critical to avoiding issues and ensuring a seamless transition.
Gain More Visibility in Omnichannel Peak Season With an Advanced TMS
The upcoming peak season will be unlike any in history. With all the pressure over curbside and online ordering, businesses need a way to manage end-to-end transportation more than ever. And the ability to offer an omnichannel peak season shopping experience will depend on that fact. Of course, those that take the time to work with an experienced partner, put to use an advanced TMS, and build a continuously evolving omnichannel strategy will have the most significant competitive advantage.