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How Email Can Improve Supply Chain Communication

Email is a key point of contact between the supplier and the manufacturers as well as the supplier and the customer, says Kasey Steinbrinck

2021 was an unusual year for the supply chain industry. While the industry often made headlines this year, it wasn’t for objectively positive reasons. Tenured experts are expressing their shock about the situation.

The cause for supply chain disruptions

For the past 18 months, industry experts have been predicting a chaotic season in global supply chains. Problems have been occurring since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, although many were not expecting the impact to last this long to supply chains nearly two years into the pandemic. There are several reasons the supply chain industry found itself in the hole it is today.

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Labor shortages have been making headlines across the globe, particularly in the US and Europe. Reuters recently reported that all industries are experiencing record-long lead times as they wait for raw materials. Because the global supply chain is so complex, many products contain parts or materials from various parts of the world.

Isaac Larian, founder and CEO of MGA Entertainment, told Bloomberg, “I’ve been doing this for 43 years and never seen it this bad. Everything that can go wrong is going wrong at the same time.” Larian’s comments are valid, as many reasons are fueling the lack of supply.

Lack of warehouse workers, truck drivers, and retail employees are slowing down the supply chain immensely. The lack of warehouse workers comes at an inconvenient time now that online shopping is at an all-time high. Warehouses are packed with items that people are expecting to be shipped within a few business days, and yet there are hardly any workers to assist in delivering those items to their destinations. The frustration brought on to customers is not lightened by increased shipping and freight rates from the U.S Post Office, FedEx, UPS, and several other carriers.

Email’s impact on manufacturers 

Although a lot of pieces are needed to solve the long-lasting supply chain issue, communication is vital to soften the negative effects. In business, the primary communication tool is still email.

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Just like any professional, manufacturers have strict deadlines to meet.

Missing the deadline causes problems for the company and the customers. Due to the aforementioned reasons, manufacturers are under constant pressure trying to meet the scheduled deadlines. That’s why communication is becoming more and more crucial. Email is a key point of contact between the supplier and the manufacturers as well as the supplier and the customer.

When the email is used strategically for Supply Chain Communication, parts and material suppliers can inform a particular manufacturer about the status of a purchase order, or let a large number know about potential supply disruptions. Suppliers and manufacturers being left in the air about the status of an order can cause more problems with different orders. Effective Supply Chain Communication can lower the stress felt by these companies.

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Email’s impact on shipping

One of the biggest hurdles regarding moving products to market in 2021 is the truck driver shortage. CNN Business recently reported an estimated shortage of 80,000 truckers in the U.S alone. The shortage coupled with the highest increase in diesel in the past seven years, shipping a product to where it needs to be is one the biggest issues that the supply chain faced in 2021. Other factors can delay the arrival of shipments as well. Many shipping containers are stuck in ports waiting to be moved.

Such manufacturers and suppliers, delivery carriers can use email to notify shippers about potential transportation delays. With newer technology, these communications can now be automated.

Ecommerce brands have used email for years now when it comes to consumers who want to track individual packages. Businesses should have the same advantage when trying to deliver products to each other. Integrating email solutions into a Transportation Management System (TMS) streamlines communication around everything from bids and invoicing to compliance and rate changes.

Improving overall Supply Chain Communication

The supply chain crisis is a global phenomenon that requires multiple solutions to fall into order. However, there are ways to prepare for the impact of the effects. Instant and precise communication is key to preparing businesses and consumers alike when situations do not go as planned. Email serves as a communication tool that delivers both data and insights. Email creates the transparency needed to improve efficiency among supply chain partners.

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