In many ways, the first mile can set the stage for how effectively the rest of the supply chain responds to disruption and risk. This is the main argument of the June 2022 issue of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ (CSCMP’s) Hot Topics publication, “The First Mile in a Time of Continuous Disruption.”
According to author Graham Parker, the first mile begins when companies submit purchase orders to suppliers. This multi-step process, he writes, requires visibility and effective management of the contract of agreement between the shipper and the manufacturer.
Recently, many businesses have allocated significant resources to transforming their last-mile services, yet still rely on spreadsheets and manual processes to manage their purchase orders and supplier relationships. This lack of attention to the first mile creates roadblocks for companies looking to achieve efficiency, control, and transparency throughout their supply chain, according to Parker.
By investing in streamlined order collaboration, communication, and vendor management processes, companies can build a more resilient first mile. The benefits of these investments will be seen in four key areas: risk management, operational excellence, profitability, and working capital.
Investing in a more robust first mile for your supply chain may seem like a daunting task, acknowledges Parker, who is the chief executive officer at Gravity Supply Chain Solutions, a developer of supply chain technology. But in times of continuous disruption, building an outward-facing supply chain that is focused on effective order management is a necessity for any business to stay competitive and relevant, he says.
CSCMP Hot Topics is free to CSCMP members.