Chances are, almost all of your coworkers have a pair of blue jeans in their closet. Fashion trends evolve constantly, but denim has been a beloved American textile since Levi Strauss started making jeans in California nearly 170 years ago.
Like every other global manufacturer and distributor of major products these days, even the denim dynasty is vulnerable to unforeseeable supply chain challenges. In Q4 of last year, Levi Strauss Co. reported that they missed $40 million in online orders due to distribution center size constraints. How could that happen?
If you work in supply chain, you understand there is always a degree of uncertainty that stems from macroeconomic trends (like inflation or recessions), fluctuations in your product’s supply and demand (from shifts in consumer behavior or resource production), and impactful political or calendar events (such as elections and holiday shopping).
But pile all of these changes on top of one another year after year – COVID, geopolitics, inflation, political tensions, to name a few – and you get, as Forbes put it, a “surge of uncertainty,” which is exactly what impacted Levi’s numbers as customer style preferences and buying patterns changed amid a slow economy and there just wasn’t space in DCs across the country as inventory built up.
Experts predict several more years of turbulence for supply chain and logistics leaders. When you know to expect change, maybe there’s more certainty in your world than the headlines suggest. The question is, how are you arming yourself not just to survive the unexpected, but to grow your business throughout it?
Agility can’t be bought with a single new piece of technology, but you can achieve it with a smart combination of strategies. For example:
- Hire a tech-savvy workforce. Today’s younger generations love to work with streamlined processes and intuitive devices. If your warehouse processes involve paper and pen or make workers constantly repeat themselves, you’ll not only see higher attrition rates but your employees who stick it out will more quickly plateau their performance, since they can only work as hard as the manual processes allow. See how fast and familiar our voice picking process is.
- Use data to improve employee productivity. If your pickers are using handheld devices, you’ll have a hard time knowing if they’re performing at their best. Our voice system records and interprets meaningful data such as the time it takes to complete an order, where shorts are, and what your employees’ actual voice dialogue is like. You can see and hear what may be holding them back, like mispronouncing something, and give them immediate, helpful feedback.
- Adopt a scalable solution. You actually can be prepared for the unknown if your technology and systems are easy to customize along the way. Mountain Leverage offers solutions for operations of all sizes, industries, and environments. Our team has nearly 30 years of development and engineering experience that helps us design the right solution for your organization to succeed.
The next time you hear, “The only certainty is uncertainty,” remember that that’s actually all the forecasting you need if your operation is set up to be agile, cost-effective, and optimized for a smart, productive workforce.
“Skinny jeans will never die,” the Levi’s CEO stated confidently. Regardless of your industry, Mountain Leverage can help you borrow some of that optimism with a trustworthy and adaptable system built to endure any challenge that comes your way. Reach out today to start the conversation.