The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed everyday interactions, lifestyles and work experiences around the globe. As a result, traditional business models have evolved to meet the new demands of a digitalized and revolutionized working environment. The ways in which organizations and businesses conduct operations and make logistical decisions have been impacted by the unpredictability of this period and the changes associated with the new work-from home model. Therefore, it is valuable to compile the various lessons learned in logistics throughout the pandemic in order to efficiently prepare for the evolving environment and to determine the best practices to implement moving forward.
Logistics is the coordination of moving resources from one location to the final customer. The goal of a logistician is to create and execute the most efficient and effective process for the transportation of goods to distributors. The best practices serve customers in a timely and cost-effective manner. As a result of the pandemic, traditional logistical decisions and supply chains were challenged, which highlighted the necessity to have a strong fundamental base and understanding in logistics. Reflecting on the past year, here are our key takeaways to help businesses and organizations keep their inputs and outputs moving.
- Plan for Alternatives
The pandemic impacted every mode of transportation — both domestic and international air, land and sea travel encountered unprecedented challenges. Scenario planning is a very valuable exercise for logistics professionals to regularly engage in to be more prepared for the unexpected. Planning for different types of events and mapping out alternatives can allow the supply chain to be restored regardless of changes among transportation models. In order to meet customer needs, strategic planning that does not rely on a single system will prove most effective as the environment is largely unpredictable. The most effective logistical decisions weigh alternatives and plan for uncertainty as this decreases systematic risk.
- Emphasize Flexibility
Believing that there is only one best way to conduct business without regard to changing circumstances puts organizations in a position of low growth and increases the presence of risk. Continuous process improvements are very important for making decisions in logistics throughout the pandemic. Getting stuck in one way of business does not allow organizations to change and adapt to their current environment. The pandemic has been a prime example of how quickly processes, systems and decisions can be altered due to the external environment, and how important it is to be flexible to accommodate changes beyond your control.
- Investing in Digitalization Will Increase Efficiency
There are many advantages to technology including more detailed data analysis, new supply chain efficiencies, cost reduction and increased mobility within organizations and businesses. The implementation of the latest technology and technological systems provides companies an advantage in making the most efficient and effective decisions. The pandemic has caused businesses to heavily rely on technological systems to conduct everyday business decisions and interactions. Therefore, increasing investment in these systems will prove advantageous in making the best decisions to meet customers’ needs.
- Implement Defense Intelligence and Protocols
Although there are many advantages that come with implementing technological systems, the increase in the reliance on digital systems and the large adoption of the work-from-home model have given rise to attacks along the supply chain and various cyberthreats. As a result of the pandemic, there has been an increased emphasis on implementing defense intelligence and the correct protocols as cyberattacks could result in severe damages to a business. The coordination of moving resources to the final customer requires efficient and effective planning and has various points of vulnerabilities and exposure. In order to protect all systems, defense logistics should be used to reduce risks.
- Value Strong Leaders and Education in Logistics
Now more than ever, strong leadership has proven advantageous in curtailing the challenges that have arisen from the changing external environment. There are many benefits in receiving an education in logistics that will allow you to apply continuous process improvements, engage in the best business practices and implement critical strategic thinking. Especially throughout the pandemic, leadership that has advanced knowledge and a comprehensive toolbox to implement the best logistical practices serves as a large advantage to businesses. Organizations that have strong leaders and understanding of the best logistical decisions are able to adopt their strategies and reduce any risks that could arise within organizations.
Looking to increase your understanding in logistics? The Institute for Defense and Business offers several programs that can improve your understanding of logistics and the supply chain. Specifically, the LOGTECH Advanced program explores strategies to increase agility and maintain relevancy despite changes in the global, economic and business landscape. Additionally, you will effectively learn how to align people, processes and technology to facilitate organizational and cultural change. The eIDB: LOG 21 covers technology and innovation, logistics risk and process analysis. The benefits include learning to maximize results for logistics operations by applying best practices and innovative thinking.
The Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) delivers educational programs and research to teach, challenge and inspire leaders who work with and within the defense enterprise to achieve next-level results for their organization. IDB features curriculum in Logistics, Supply Chain and Life Cycle Management, Complex Industrial Leadership, Strategic Studies, Global Business and Defense Studies, Continuous Process Improvement, and Stabilization and Economic Reconstruction. Visit www.IDB.org or contact us on our website for more information.