4 Supply Chain Workflow Challenges That Are Costing You Time and Money

Are workflow and integration challenges causing endless headaches in your supply chain? You’re not alone. These obstacles create expensive and time-consuming delays for 3PLs and OEMs, and they often result in lost revenue and productivity. According to the 2023 BCI Supply Chain Resilience Report, 86.4% of companies have experienced an increased cost of working in the past 12 months due to supply chain disruptions, and 77.6% have experienced loss of revenue.

Adding to the complexity, each client comes with a unique set of requirements and processes which can be difficult to capture and replicate. Inability to integrate these workflows with broader WMS process flows can keep you from meeting your customer SLAs and may even cost you new business.

Disrupted: 4 Top Workflow Challenges

Workflow bottlenecks and inefficiencies have created one of the most urgent challenges in the logistics industry. Here are four of the most common pressure points we hear about from 3PLs and OEMs.

Challenge #1: Lack of Systems Integration

Slow processes, systems that can’t talk to each other, and the inability to integrate customized customer workflows cases can wreak havoc on your operational efficiency. These hurdles disrupt the flow of work and create a ripple effect that results in frustrating delays and ultimately impacts customer satisfaction. This plays out in several ways:

  • Complicated Processes – Managing reverse logistics, including product returns, refurbishment, and recycling, can be challenging and resource-intensive. Companies need a solution that coordinates the flow of products and materials back through the supply chain while ensuring efficiency and minimizing costs.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Keeping up with and reporting on evolving regulations and standards related to waste management, recycling, and environmental sustainability while maintaining operational efficiency is a delicate balancing act.
  • Customized Solutions – When customers have unique processes and workflows, it is difficult to integrate them efficiently with your current operations.

Addressing these challenges head-on is crucial to ensuring smooth operations and optimizing productivity across your supply chain.

Challenge #2: Lack of Data Visibility

Effective decision-making starts with clean, integrated data. But many 3PLs and OEMs are still operating with manual processes and outdated technology systems. When vital data can’t be readily accessed, it becomes increasingly difficult to generate reports and gain actionable insights to inform key business decisions. This creates several problems:

  • Data Silos – When information gets trapped in data silos, you can’t easily pull together information from different parts of your supply chain. This impedes data visibility, which in turn makes it harder to make informed business decisions.
  • Reporting – Generating complete, real-time reports are critical for forecasting and decision-making. If your system is sluggish or you can’t access the data you need, you’ll sacrifice competitive advantage.
  • Efficiency and Productivity – To optimize your operations, you first need to understand where the gaps and problems are. Lack of data visibility makes this difficult, which results in less efficient workflows and lost productivity.

Organizations need greater data visibility and integrated systems that support an efficient flow of information to overcome these issues.

Challenge #3: Difficulty Scaling

Lack of integration is a critical barrier to scaling your supply chain operations. The absence of seamless coordination between systems makes it difficult to add new workflows quickly or get up and running in a new market. Lack of integration also causes:

  • Difficulty Handling Complexity – Reliance on manual processes and outdated legacy systems makes it difficult to implement more complex operations.
  • Lengthy Workflow Updates – When your technology can’t automate new programs, projects, and workflows, then any changes or niche processes must be handled manually every time. This can add weeks to your timeline as you wait for updates to be completed.

Organizations need a solution that can capture customized workflow data and integrate changes in real time so you can quickly foresee problems, simplify complexities, and adapt to new markets as you grow.

Challenge #4: Inefficiencies and Delays

Speed to market is a key differentiator in the supply chain industry. Workflow complexities and unique customer needs compounded by a lack of workflow integration can create costly delays in these areas, resulting in missed opportunities. Other factors impacting speed to market include:

  • Legacy Systems – While investment and customization in legacy systems can seem like a reason to maintain the status quo, the reality is that they create inefficiencies that drive up costs. Eventually, you end up working around the system instead of putting the system to work for you.
  • Lack of Integration – If legacy systems can’t integrate with WMS and ERP systems, you won’t be able to easily implement processes or customer workflows. This also impacts data visibility, adding another layer of delay that impedes speed to market.
  • Poor Reporting – Siloed data and poor visibility makes reporting difficult, and often means you don’t have all the information you need. Solving the data problem will help expedite reporting speed and accuracy, which in turn boosts ROI.

Addressing the need for more efficient workflow design and integration will support process improvements, ability to scale quickly, and overall customer satisfaction.

Take Back Control with Triage Solutions

At Triage, we help organizations solve all four of these challenges by delivering the people, processes, and platform you need to improve workflow efficiency and support growth. Our industry experts help you design optimal workflows, improve data visibility, and accelerate processes so you can get more from your forward and reverse logistics operations.

Ready to take charge of your workflows? Contact us to learn how we can simplify your supply chain operations.

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