Flexibility in Supply Chain – Creating Resilient Road Freight Transportation Operations

Aug 25, 2023

Flexibility in the supply chain is more relevant than ever. The global pandemic has shown that flexible businesses can thrive in situations when everything we’ve been used to goes out the window.

Supply chain flexibility is the ability to easily adjust production levels, material purchases, and road freight transportation operations, such as capacity, among other things. Compared to traditional supply chain management, this approach is much more beneficial – it allows businesses to react to natural changes and be more resilient to demand spikes or unpredictable hold-ups.

This article will explain why flexibility in the supply chain is important, what benefits you can expect by adopting this approach, and, of course, how to maintain it.

Let’s dig in!

Why is Flexibility in Supply Chain Important?

A flexible supply chain helps your business handle rapid changes in demand, helps you maintain competitive advantage and focus on customers.

For example, if you’re selling furniture, it may be difficult for you to predict how much space you’ll need for your goods’ transportation. In some months you may have more orders than in others. Having a contract with a road freight transportation company will most likely ask you to ship your furniture regularly. But it may not always respond to your customer demand.

If you’re using a flexible demand chain approach, you’ll be able to ship your orders as soon as they come, even if you have a single order. This means that your consumers will get their goods quickly.

This example demonstrates how flexibility can help mitigate supply chain risks, but it has even more benefits.

Three Benefits of a Flexible Supply Chain

If you’re still wondering if implementing a flexible supply chain strategy is right for your business, the following information may help you decide. Here are three benefits you can expect to see:

  • Enhanced responsiveness to market changes. Having diversified suppliers and using many warehouses will make your business more responsive to market changes. You can quickly get extra warehouse space in case you end up having more stock than expected. And if the demand spikes, you can get more raw materials or stock from various suppliers.
  • Improved risk mitigation and resilience. Investing in the newest technologies will make your business more resilient against threats as outdated systems are more vulnerable to security breaches. Using software for operational data will also protect you against lost or mismanaged documents.
  • Increased customer satisfaction. Flexible supply chains focus on the customer, which means your clients can expect to get their deliveries quicker. Using the newest technologies will also help you find client data quicker and solve any queries in a few mouse clicks.

The flexible approach has many benefits and the more business areas you involve in flexible operations, the more positive results you can expect to see.

Main Angles of Supply Chain Flexibility

You can use a flexible approach throughout the entire supply chain. Here is a list of the main areas and how implementing greater flexibility in them can improve your business:

  • Operational flexibility

Operational flexibility enables businesses to adjust processes regarding market and demand changes. Thanks to this approach, companies can efficiently manage their costs and resources. Being flexible in operations also leads to improved processes, high production volumes, and quicker time to market.

  • Volume flexibility

Volume flexibility helps companies manage their scalability. Businesses gain the option to increase their production volume or slow it down if needed. All while successfully maintaining a viable business model.

  • Product flexibility

While scaling in volume is great for business growth, product flexibility may be even more important. Even though not all businesses will be able to use this approach, some companies can certainly benefit from offering extra products to meet the demand.

  • Network flexibility

Maintaining a flexible network in supply chains can help achieve great results. Carefully choosing suppliers and collaborating with them will help you build strong relationships. But being open will also benefit your company. Having connections to multiple suppliers will ensure you get your materials whenever needed. And working with flexible road freight transportation providers will help your goods reach the customers in time.

How to Ensure Supply Chain Flexibility

Building a flexible supply chain from scratch requires thorough preparation. Here are some tips that will help you implement a flexible approach:

Guarantee transport capacity for an adaptable supply chain

Transport capacity must be flexible to ensure you can ship your goods whether you have a full load or just one item. Having adaptable transportation resources will help you meet changing consumer demand.

Carry out efficient supply chain management operations

We already mentioned that efficient operations result in better processes, higher sales volumes, and faster time to market. Your business should also invest in technological advancements. AI and other automation processes can further enhance your supply management operations.

Global statistics show that 40% of supply chain industry players have already integrated cloud computing and storage technologies into their operations. In the next five years, this number is set to grow to 86%. Now is the best time to make sure your company is among those supply chain professionals.

Implement innovations for agile road freight transportation

Technological innovations should become your best friends in the next few years. Using technological advancements will help you carry out day-to-day tasks more efficiently and also remain competitive in the field.

Some of the technologies to keep an eye on are route optimisation and tracking solutions. These tools can help you plan deliveries quickly and with minimum manual effort.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and telematics for real-time visibility are also something to look out for. Currently, only 21% of industry professionals use industrial IoT, but in the next five years, this number should reach 80%.

Build partnerships for enhanced flexibility

Collaboration with logistics partners, suppliers, and customers will help you develop a flexible and resilient supply chain. Building these relationships can help retailers identify potential supply chain risks early on and quickly find solutions. In addition, having this information enables retailers to transparently communicate with their customers.

For example, when shipping goods in the high season, such as around Christmas, delivery delays are very common. Collaborating with your suppliers and other partners can help you learn about potential delays in advance, enabling you to pass on the information to clients and this way build their trust.

How Does Spotos Help with Supply Chain Flexibility?

If you’re looking for a reliable partner for road freight transportation, Spotos is here for you. We can help you build a more resilient business by offering flexible transportation for your goods. Whether you’re looking to ship a full load of goods during peak season or your usual carrier unexpectedly cancelled, Spotos will help.

We believe technological innovations are the best way forward. Our real-time tracking solutions will help you stay on top of your business operations. And automated invoices will ensure operational efficiency, so you can focus on your business rather than burying yourself in the paperwork.


How does supply chain flexibility impact business resilience?

Supply chain flexibility makes a business more resilient to customer demand changes and market fluctuations while maintaining customer focus.

What role does road freight play in the overall supply chain?

Road freight plays an essential role in the entire supply chain — it ensures product transportation from one location to another.

What are the challenges specific to road freight transportation flexibility?

The main challenge to road freight transportation flexibility is having a rigid contract with a specific logistics provider. For example, some providers require retailers to send the same amount of goods with every delivery or pay for unused space.

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