CONTINUING TO RETHINK HOW WE (EVERYONE) THINK ABOUT THE SUPPLY CHAIN.
We have to admit: the supply chain isn’t really a chain any more. Nowadays, it’s a chaotic jumble, making business more difficult than ever before.
Still, you already know that companies like yours cannot remain complacent. You’re already well aware of the dangers of relying on a single source to fulfill your ever-expanding needs. It’s no longer a matter of reacting to situations. It’s a matter of planning for the short, medium and long term.
It’s all about developing strategy—and predicting the trends (seeing what is happening and how it will, very soon, be impacting packaged goods just like yours).
LOOKING AT “BIG BRANDS” LEADING THE WAY
• 65% of retailers established their domestic manufacturing sources to gain better control of their supply chain.
• Apparel companies are also taking the hint. They moved manufacturing back to the United States to keep their operations close to their consumer markets.
• As ecommerce demands grow, stores are transforming themselves into fulfillment centers—ready in the blink of an eye to meet immediate customer needs.
• Packaging, too, has been impacted by the worldwide logjam. For example, a noted Korean supplier’s procurement team scoured the planet for an alternative paperboard supplier, ultimately hitting pay dirt in New Zealand. Lower transportation costs made up for the higher costs of the paperboard.
It’s simple, really. As for the packaging and container industry, Priority Plastics is well suited for serving as an additional go-to source. Just like the Koreans found a more-local-to-them solution, you, too, can tap into our more local-to-you trio of U.S. manufacturing facilities. Each well-positioned to handle the speed bumps that many companies, like yours, are experiencing. We became creative with our efforts. So have many others.
Major public corporations disclosed their strategies on how they stayed several steps ahead of sales and production during the pandemic.
- They concentrated on producing more of their most iconic products.
- They increased online sales to consumers.
- They locked down alternate local suppliers of materials and packaging.
- They built slack into the supply chain.
In this last point, companies own the ability to track raw materials, components and finished products, allowing them to better assess their precise needs.
ALL SIGNS POINT TO RESPONSIVENESS.
Exhibit A: Dick’s Sporting Goods
With the Amazons of the world winning on the scoreboard, Dick’s Sporting Goods knows speed is the MVP. They broke free from over-relying on centralized ecommerce fulfillment platforms to open two regional operations. One West Coast. One East Coast. Both with the purpose of speeding up deliveries, all to the point that Dick’s Sporting Goods is testing self-service pickup lockers, where, in select locations, buyers can pick up online orders within an hour.
Exhibit B: Foot Locker
Shoe shopping can be tricky business. Customers are paying good prices and therefore deserve to get what they want—exactly what they want. Foot Locker addressed customers with flying colors.
Say a customer can’t find a shoe size or color or style at Store A. The associate can locate the item at a nearby store. The customer then has the flexibility to pick it up at the second store or have it shipped to Store A or even home. Customers also can shop online and reserve merchandise in their favorite store to see it for themselves, try it on or just pick it up. Foot Locker also provides in-store access via its online-only East Bay site. Here, the touchscreen video displays give customers a 360-degree view of cleats and other sports gear, access to customer reviews and the opportunity to try gear on in the store before placing an order.
It’s not just a matter of being convenient for the customer. It allows Foot Locker to make more productive use of its inventory. Every last pair of shoes gets sold. Foot Locker credits this with also having multiple fulfillment locations to ensure service is met in a timely manner.
CONSUMERS HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE PLANET.
Savvy shoppers side with companies that show full heart for our beloved planet. They check their packages. They check their websites. They know where they stand.
Companies paid attention. Companies responded. A 2022 State of Manufacturing report shows that 63% of companies believe handling products appropriately in the age of sustainability is a top priority.
A common misconception, however, is that the beginning of the manufacturing process is the only time to ensure sustainability is present. This simply isn’t true. There are slight adjustments such as revamping package designs that can address more sustainable practices.
Many consumable-goods giants did this. They simplified packaging of their snacks and pet foods with biodegradable and compostable materials and upped use of recycled content. We offer packaging that can support our brand’s sustainability efforts by using up to 100% PCR (post-consumer resin) or multilayer technology and lightweight containers.
Switching to hydrogen or electric for your logistical vehicles along with choosing suppliers who adopt greener transportation methods for your raw goods earns you bonus points with your loyal shoppers.
BUSINESSES THAT PARTNER ARE YOUR BEST STRATEGY.
Relationships remain a top priority—the top priority. Through consistent focus and collaboration, your relationships with your team members, vendors and suppliers every step of the supply chain make all the difference in the world.
As a partner, Priority Plastics has long understood the intrinsic value of being that trusted, reliable second source. Because you have the flexibility to implement smarter strategies that benefit your company, the time has come to move away from a defensive stance to a more offensive one. While the supply chain may remain broken for a good, long time, relationships don’t have to be.
Want to continue exploring supply chain solutions, sustainability or what’s trending? Try these links: