In many ways, technology can be the determining factor of what makes or breaks major logistics events, like the upcoming Black Friday shopping holiday. It takes planning and precision to execute an efficient, effective supply chain under typical circumstances; the surge leading into Black Friday and Cyber Monday only magnifies the importance of thorough preparation—or the frustration of a glitch.
Your supply chain is only as good as the technology platform backing it, so it’s crucial to make sure your third-party logistics provider (3PL) has the stable systems and scalability to handle peak volumes.
A stress test can determine and demonstrate whether or not your 3PL has the advanced technology and capabilities that contribute to a seamless logistics event. Then, based on the results of the test, your 3PL can make system modifications to help make sure shipments go out on time and are delivered on time.
Though it’s too late to request and run a stress test for this year’s Black Friday shipments, it’s worth scheduling with your 3PL now to prepare for the next peak season. And, in the meantime, there are several questions you can ask your 3PL to give you a better grasp on the technology capabilities they provide.
Have you done any volume stress testing on your system? If so, at what level of volume relative to current throughput do you have issues?
Are you willing to do an end-to-end volume test?
In what ways can you scale your system if you run into volume-related performance issues? How quickly could these corrective actions take place?
Which third parties are involved in maintaining your service? Have you stress tested their solutions?
Chad Lindbloom was named chief information officer of C.H. Robinson in January 2015. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president, chief financial officer, and corporate controller. Chad joined the company in 1990.