There are so many options for supply chain management it can be hard to keep track of them all. From Lean Logistics to Supply Circles and everything in between, there’s no shortage of options for finding your company’s perfect business model. With more companies following Amazon’s lead and offering a wide range of shipping options, logistics has evolved into its latest incarnation: Elastic Logistics.
What is Elastic Logistics?
Elastic Logistics refers “to the flexibility to expand and shrink capabilities to align with the demands within the supply chain during a given timeframe. Flexible automation solutions increase the agility and elasticity of the logistics infrastructure to cost-effectively meet market fluctuations.” Basically, Elastic Logistics enable the supply chain to expand or shrink as needed in line with current demand. As more and more businesses incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their supply chain for additional agility, they can completely redesign their operations, and in turn, shape a stronger customer experience.
While automation can increase the agility of the infrastructure, solutions aren’t “one size fits all.” There will be a lot of analysis and tinkering in order to evolve processes to true elasticity. Elastic Logistics touches on all areas of the business from cost control to warehouse management to delivery and much more.
Elastic Logistics and “The Amazon Effect”
While consumers always “want it now,” the “Amazon Effect” is a major catalyst for a full industry push toward Elastic Logistics. What is the infamous “Amazon Effect?” It “has introduced consumers to an almost completely frictionless shopping process with near-immediate results (more and more, this refers to delivery, too).” Amazon can meet demand faster and seamlessly, and thus, gobble up more of the market share.
First and foremost, Amazon is a shipping and distribution behemoth. They have built the brand largely by offering very Elastic Logistics at an affordable price through their Amazon Prime membership. This, in turn, has increased consumer expectations. The thought is, “If Amazon can do it, why can’t everyone else?” This impacts shipping and warehousing technology as well.
What Can Companies Do to Increase Flexibility?
The short answer is to hire a third-party-logistics provider (3PL). These providers can help companies deliver on-time while keeping costs stable despite the pressures of demand. When companies partner with a 3PL who utilizes Elastic Logistics, it truly enhances the customer experience, which is critical in building brand loyalty. Because 3PLs already have the technology and best practices in place, they are able to make all processes more cohesive, remain agile and scalable in the face of wavering demand, and all the while bringing real-time visibility to not only customers but all stakeholders.
As we see more consumers take their shopping online and with higher frequency, businesses will need to develop more nimble methods of logistical management. With the right technology and best practices, businesses can build greater flexibility into their processes while retaining optimal transparency and visibility. However, businesses looking for a faster, more efficient route to Elastic Logistics can partner with Langham Logistics today!