Supply Chain Components that Support your Business

Posted Under: News

A large part of your business and strategy for the year will likely include assessing the state of your supply chain. The global supply chain faced many new and unique pressures during the past couple of years when COVID caused disruptions that were completely unforeseen.

When the pandemic erupted, businesses that were flexible and could adapt were able to take advantage of the opportunities that followed the initial shock to world trade. Those that could collaborate with supply chain partners and utilize technology and digitalization were able to weather the COVID storm. 

Ports continue to play an important role in the global supply chain and have helped businesses navigate the pandemic by embracing more innovation, digitalization, and collaboration in the supply chain. Many ports that seamlessly integrated maritime operations with multi-modal operations, including rail, barge, truck, short sea, and airports, continued to experience growth during the pandemic.

Essential Supply Chain Components

Moving goods around the world is a lot like a traveler flying to another continent. The products shipped will have many of the same experiences that a traveler will. While you can’t bypass most of these experiences, you can take steps to ensure that the experiences go smoothly so that your products — or the world traveler — have a smooth, efficient journey and arrive at their destination as planned.

Some of the essential components in your supply chain that can reduce friction and increase efficiency include:

Global connectivity — A traveler flying from one continent to another may choose to connect to their next flight at a large airport. A benefit of connecting at a large hub gives the option of hundreds of flights arriving and departing. Shippers also have the option of shipping through large ports that connect to the interior of the continent. If you’re shipping from North America to Europe, for example, connecting to the interior of Europe is an efficient, cost effective way to reach your clients and suppliers on the continent.

There are several spots for friction during air travel. Moving from one plane to another, transferring baggage, and going through customs are all potential spots for things to go wrong during the trip. If these steps don’t integrate and work smoothly — a flight is late, or there’s an issue at customs — it can cause problems and stress. When all the pieces come together seamlessly, the traveler has a smooth connection to the next leg of their journey.

The same is true when shipping your goods to a port with connectivity to and from North America. When they have smooth procedures for moving your product through customs and on to the next leg of its journey, the whole trip is frictionless, and everything happens as planned.

Multimodal connectivity — After a flight, a traveler may need to continue by rail or shuttle to their final destination. Similarly, after your goods arrive at a seaport, the next part of the equation is moving them across land to get them to your next destination as quickly as possible. Choosing a large, connected port provides a good gateway to your final destination. Multi-modal connections, such as short sea connections, rail, barge, and last mile partners, are also something to look for. Depending on where your product is going, these modes can efficiently get your products to your next destination.

Customs Procedures — Every traveler is hoping for a smooth trip through customs, so they can stay on schedule. Delays not only are a hassle, but they can also lead to additional travel costs due to missed connections or having to stay longer than planned in one spot. Customs is also a spot for potential shipping delays. You can mitigate some of this risk by shipping to a port that uses digital tools integrated at the port to facilitate customs clearance. These tools help you optimize VAT and customs duty, prevents delays, and gets your goods on their way to their final destination.

Service Provider to the Port and Inland Terminal — At some point during their trip, a traveler might need the assistance of a third-party service provider, such as a travel agent, guide, or hired driver. A business shipping internationally might also need assistance of a service provider. Having assistance from an on-site service provider can help to get your product to its next mode of transport and on its way.

The global supply chain is a complex machine. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, however. By focusing on these four essential components, you can optimize your shipments and manage risk, even during uncertain times. When you see opportunities, you’ll be positioned to take advantage of them without incurring excess risk.