Although it has long been said that we need flexibility to respond to change, the past years this repeatedly became a reality. Retailers were forced to be creative, set up pick-up points, sell (more) online, and move quickly whenever the rules changed. In this blog, I explain how retailers can increase their flexibility with carrier connectivity, allowing them to respond fast to changes.

Flexibility through technology

Technology is your best friend when it comes to flexibility. Everything is automatic, so you can often make adjustments with one click of a button. And you'll have time to spare for making strategic decisions or coming up with creative and innovative ideas. Carrier connectivity is one of those feats of technology that brings a lot to retailers. How exactly?

Complex logistics process

As a retailer, you need to make sure the warehouse is full and products are in stock in the stores. For this purpose, you can choose from various transport options and carriers. They all have different rates, systems and rules. This adds extra complexity to the logistics process and increases the chances that something could go wrong. Contacting carriers yourself is time-consuming and complicated. With digital carrier connectivity, you are always in touch with carriers and other logistics providers. You no longer need to log into a carrier's system or ensure that documents are delivered in line with the logistics provider's requirements. With carrier connectivity, you achieve operational optimisation because all the information and communications automatically reach the carrier in the right format, and you don’t need to worry about it.

Automatically connected network

Carrier connectivity ensures that a network of customers, suppliers, logistics providers and other trading partners is automatically connected. Because they are all connected to the same system, you can always be sure that documents, data and goods are managed properly. The result? An end to inefficiencies and manual processes. As a result, the links in the supply chain are better aligned. It also reduces waiting periods and allows you to better estimate when a delivery will arrive.

Flexible logistics process

Suppliers comes in all shapes and sizes. Some focus on bulk transport, while others may specialise in pallet transport, and yet others know exactly how to transport small parcels. The big advantage of carrier connectivity is that you can switch carriers quickly and easily. You simply select the carrier that can best meet your needs at that particular moment and so save costs.

Unanticipated changes

We have no idea what the future will bring. This uncertainty serves to emphasise the importance of flexibility for retailers. If you maintain a high degree of flexibility, you will be able to make the most of any situation.

Eric Geerts, Director Product Management TMS, carrier connectivity and ports at Descartes


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