Navigating the chaotic UK supply chain with a TMS

14 Jul 23

Over the past few years, the United Kingdom has endured a high degree of supply chain volatility. This perfect storm has been fuelled by various interconnected factors, severely impacting businesses across sectors and causing widespread shortages.

In this week’s blog, we will delve into the root causes of this crisis and explore potential remedies. A transport management system (TMS) in particular, can play a vital role in addressing these challenges.

A complex web of disruptions

COVID-19, Brexit-related disruptions and a national scarcity of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers are all factors contributing to the UK’s supply chain problems. Particularly during the pandemic, demand increased whilst the supply of specific items diminished.

Labour shortages across many industries have been exasperated by Brexit, with many European transportation workers leaving the UK. This has placed unprecedented pressure on national logistics operations, forcing brands to rely on reseller incentives and establish new connections to secure their supply chain.

The pandemic

On May 5, the WHO declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was no longer a global emergency – however, the economic aftershocks remain. Global lockdowns followed by reopening phases have generated a surge in demand for goods, placing additional strain on already stretched supply chains.

Localised outbreaks of COVID-19 in factories and distribution centres continue to cause temporary shutdowns, further disrupting the production and distribution of goods. In such circumstances, the ability to swiftly adapt is crucial; this can be enhanced by implementing a best-in-class digital solution.

The driver deficit dilemma

We last discussed the scarcity of lorry drivers in a 2021 blog – nearly two years later, we’d have hoped that this problem would be behind us – unfortunately, the shortage persists. Although the deficit has decreased from 100,000 to 60,000, this is still a high enough number to instigate disruption and delays. Besides empty shelves in supermarkets, other sectors, including construction and hospitality, have experienced considerable challenges due to the driver shortage.

Although Brexit has certainly inflamed the shortfall, there are many other contributing factors. These include an ageing driver population, poor working conditions, the impact of IR35 tax changes on self-employed drivers and a backlog in testing due to the pandemic.

This cocktail of reasons could prolong the driver shortage for another 10 years, hence why it’s important to maximise your resources. Using a transport management system, businesses can make greater use of available network capacity by optimising routes, thus ensuring that operations run fewer empty miles.

Navigating the perfect storm

Addressing the UK’s supply chain crisis requires a multifaceted approach. While there is no easy solution, businesses can take steps to make their supply chains more resilient. One such step is the adoption of supply chain visibility technology like TrackTrans’ software suite.

With a transport management system, warehouse management system and electronic proof of delivery, TrackTrans is a best-in-class supply chain solution designed to enhance visibility, streamline operations, and mitigate disruptions. TrackTrans’ robust features, enable businesses to diversify suppliers effectively, maintain ample stockpiles of key goods and gain real-time insights into their operation.

By leveraging TrackTrans, companies can anticipate and manage disruptions more efficiently, thereby minimising the impact of the current supply chain crisis.

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