From disruption to opportunity: Adapting to changing dynamics in APAC supply chains
Disruption in supply chains is a growing challenge, and businesses facing an unpredictable future are increasingly being pushed to balance efficiency with the need to be flexible.
For end-to-end supply chain providers, this imperative to plan ahead is even more pronounced because of the growing disruption. How can organisations be ready for sudden adverse weather conditions that close ports, a pandemic that leads to worker shortages, or a geopolitical crisis that creates no-go zones or leads to complex sanctions?
And it’s not just short, sharp shocks that need to be addressed. Slower, equally pressing issues such as the need to decarbonise while reversing the damage done to our ecosystems, cannot be ignored when dealing with short-term trade flow challenges.
But there are strategies end-to-end supply chain providers are adopting today to be more prepared for tomorrow – opportunities can arise at any time, even during crises.
Here are four key areas of focus that forward-looking logistics service providers are utilising to redefine their supply chain strategies and turn disruption into a benefit.
The importance and value of sustainable practices
The transport sector is responsible for over a third of global CO2 emissions. Aside from the moral imperative to decarbonise, there are also commercial advantages to taking a leading role in sustainability.
Many international end-to-end supply chain service companies are already working together – via initiatives like the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping – to quantify impacts, identify solutions and promote more sustainable logistics strategies.
Logistics companies setting out sustainable roadmaps also have the opportunity to improve operations and drive efficiency, while simultaneously embracing sustainable activities that ensure the longevity of both the company and the planet.
Once in place, sustainable initiatives often come with immediate commercial benefits. These include greater operational efficiency, lowered energy costs and increased energy security, leading to less supply chain disruption.
Looking to IT and tech innovations to provide insights and opportunities
When it comes to finding efficiencies and managing disruption, AI and various other digital tech solutions are proving to be highly effective modern tools for forward-looking businesses. Investment in advanced digital technologies, such as Internet of Things devices, blockchain, and real-time tracking systems can enhance visibility and traceability of goods throughout the supply chain.
But technology can also make meaningful improvements to seemingly minor elements of an end-to-end service. In Busan, South Korea, we deployed an Auto Stop & Go system, which automatically switches off idling trucks, reducing CO2 emissions
Modern tech innovations also help with scenario planning and simulation. Predictive analytics and modelling can anticipate potential disruptions and proactively adjust supply chain strategies.
Utilising flexibility and agility to mitigate supply chain shocks
Developing agile supply chain models that can quickly adjust to changing market conditions and disruptions starts with building in flexibility – the ability to change plans quickly.
Innovative solutions such as BoxBay, which enable greater container handling efficiency, can be rolled out in any location and are fully automated, allowing for the same capacity of a conventional terminal in a third of the space.
Flexibility can mean switching between different modes of transportation, or shipping routes based on real-time conditions. Or, in the case of cargo shipping firm ZIM, linking Western Australia with its trade partners in southeast Asia through its Thailand-Fremantle Express service, which opens up more flexible connectivity to new and emerging markets.
To be more agile, end-to-end supply chain providers are investing in resilient infrastructure, such as automated and robotic systems, which reduce reliance on manual labour and improve operational continuity, usually while increasing productivity.
Fostering closer collaboration with partners
Partnering up with an experienced end-to-end logistics solutions provider with a global reach helps manufacturers mitigate against disruption and tap into efficient cargo transportation from start to finish. By working together, all parties can reduce fragmentation in supply chains, share insights and improve planning, explains Glen Hilton, CEO and managing director of DP World Asia Pacific.
“We co-create solutions with our customers in order to address their resilience challenges. There’s no better benchmark for success than collaborating early, communicating pain points and building a forward-thinking strategy that aligns with our customers’ needs,” Hilton says.
Logistics companies are embracing sustainability, focusing on agility and building resilience to sudden supply chain shocks. By doing so, they are better able to manage difficult periods and minimise the impact of unforeseen events through a series of tech-driven preparedness initiatives.
By implementing these strategies, shipping, port and logistics providers can enhance their ability to withstand and respond effectively to future disruptions, contributing to a more resilient and adaptable global supply chain ecosystem that is sustainably future-proof.