Here are the key considerations that all shippers should have on their end-of-year planning agendas as 2022 comes to a close.
The end of the year is a busy time for shippers. It’s a time for companies to make sure their financials are in order, revenue estimates are on target, and any immediate challenges are addressed and (hopefully) tackled. It’s also a time for exploring new opportunities, making any strategic shifts and continuing to grow the business.
Getting all of this done by December 31 can be overwhelming, to say the least. Now is a great time to reflect on the last 11 months and carve out some time to plan out your supply chain, logistics and transportation strategies for 2023. It’s also a good time to reflect on past successes and shortcomings and use those insights to develop a solid plan of action for the year ahead.
“Talk about your company’s core values, focus, 10-year target and marketing strategy. Work together to determine how each of these items relates to your one-year strategic plan,” EOS Worldwide’s Mark O’Donnell writes in Forbes. “The more you discuss these topics, the easier it will be to develop goals you need to achieve within the next 12 months. Aim for no more than three to seven goals. Otherwise, you’ll overwhelm yourself—and everyone else at the company.”
Some of the key, high-level points to discuss during these year-end strategizing sessions include:
- Did we meet our financial goals for 2022?
- Did I meet our non-financial goals this year?
- If not, what put us off course and how can we correct the issue(s)?
- And lastly, what do we need to be doing now to hit our goals in 2023?
“Take a look at what’s happened over the last three years or so and ask yourself questions like, how did we handle the surge in orders and what do we wish we’d done differently during that period?” advised Ken Sherman, President at IntelliTrans, Inc. “Then, consider the current trough and what you should have done during the peak to prepare for the downturn and the next peak.”
5 Points to Put On Your Own List
Here are some more points to add to your year-end strategic planning list:
1) Assess the people, processes and technology that have been put in place to run your supply chain.
Does anything need to be adjusted, replaced or added? If so, now is the time to plan for those changes and take action. Don’t wait until the calendar year turns over and the next “boom” is in effect to make these moves; start now.
2) Ask yourself: What should we be doing right now?
With 2022 quickly coming to an end, and given the circumstances that you’ve been dealt, what decisions need to be made right now to prepare for the year ahead? Then, start making some or all of those decisions in anticipation of an even better outcome for 2023.
3) Factor in any budgetary constraints.
All organizations are trying to do more with less right now. “Companies may have to make some tough choices because budgets are going to be tighter and investments are going to be smaller,” Sherman explained. “Knowing this, shippers should reflect on how they can achieve their goals as economically as possible.”
4) With labor constraints still in full force, use automation to free up your human resources to focus on more important projects.
The labor shortage isn’t letting up anytime soon, which makes now a good time to assess your technology portfolio and consider adding new capabilities that help your people work smarter, better and faster. “Think back to some of the moves you wish you’d made 2-3 years ago and revisit them now,” Sherman said, “versus having to make those decisions during the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ when business picks back up.”
5) Consider as-a-service technology delivered on-demand.
IntelliTrans has developed a leading transportation management platform, but we also use our systems to help companies that wouldn’t otherwise invest in and implement the technology on their own. For example, the platform can follow up with carriers on shipments that are in exception status, oversee the dispatch process through the TMS auditing, and even pay freight bills—and just about everything in between. “This gives shippers a chance to acquire technology ‘as a service’ and turn the investment into a variable cost,” said Sherman, “versus having to deal with it in a conventional fixed-cost or near-fixed-cost manner.”