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Closing out a successful Q4 and prepping for 2020 is top of mind for many businesses. As supply chain managers focus on planning to get goods before the holidays or shipped ahead of Chinese New Year port closures, it can be a stressful time. Add to that the challenges of determining the right mode for the right products, and there are more than enough factors to make anyone’s head spin.
For most shippers, plans for the holiday season have been set for months in advance. But anything from fickle customers to unpredictable markets can easily make even the best-laid plans go awry.
Airfreight lets businesses make decisions with shorter lead time and be more nimble in the face of change. The flexibility that it brings allows businesses to better prepare for changes that can impact their supply chains. And that’s something that’s sorely needed, given the lack of traditional peak season and constant tariff implementations during 2019. For many supply chain managers, it has been a rough year trying to appropriately plan their businesses.
To leverage the agility of airfreight and navigate unpredictability within the supply chain process, Alexis Boutet, Senior Director of Global Airfreight Strategy and Beth Thorson, Director of Airfreight Development—both from Flexport—suggest focusing on three main tasks to help ease the pain of uncertainty in the market.
- Review historical performance and sales forecasts by commodity/product with logistics, sales, and marketing teams. Take a look at the past five years to get a better sense of average sales and reasonable growth patterns in order to make more realistic assumptions.
- Evaluate the value of your potential sales opportunities and compare under-forecasting and missing opportunities against the cost of rapid delivery of airfreight to help better plan for meeting customer needs. Where possible, leverage historical data to help determine how much to ship via ocean and which goods to replenish via air.
- Prepare your supply chain for unexpected stockouts and supplier demand. Holiday hits can catch you off guard, so be ready to respond quickly with in-demand merchandise.
Leveraging airfreight in conjunction with well thought out plans is the key to navigating the holiday season successfully and planning for 2020. To learn more, download the eGuide Uplifting Agility: Airfreight Strategies for the Holiday Season and Beyond.