Playbooks & Guides

From Bottlenecks to Breakthroughs: A 2024 Guide to Supply Chain Success.


How are you going to make 2024 your best year yet without stretching yourself thin?

Let's talk supply chains. Let’s talk about doing more with less. Because whether you’re a buyer for an ASX listed business or a growing Aussie brand, you’re probably feeling the squeeze.

Australian retail supply chains are struggling to meet consumer demands.

  • 41% of respondents reported that items they wanted to purchase have not been available at all.
  • 39% identify delivery times have been slower than usual (compared to 31% of global consumers).
  • Almost a quarter of Australian shoppers (21%) experienced product availability issues after placing an order.

In fact, some studies show disrupted supply chains have led to businesses losing 10% of annual revenue on average. Pair this with the increasing consumers expecting more and spending less, and it’s a tough time for retailers.

But look on the bright side— tackling challenges could be your brand's secret weapon catapulting your brand to the forefront in 2024.

Make your Supply Chain Resilient to Disruptions.

By nature, risks are unpredictable. Natural Disasters, shipping delays, worker shortages, and geopolitical conflict all have a profound impact on your ability to source and transport materials and products.

Know your events, campaigns and logistics capabilities in advance. 

Whether you’re an ecommerce retailer or brick and mortar business, you know the drill:  Achieving your sales targets hinges on the strategic use of a promotional calendar for marketing and shopping events.

But, did you know, supply chains have a calendar of events of their own?  Knowing and navigating peak seasons, holidays and delays is essential for maintaining the flow of goods and keeping your customers satisfied.  As a bonus, it can also cut costs.

To take the guesswork out of your supply chain planning, we’ve made a comprehensive month-by-month retail and supply chain event calendar.  

Want an editable version? Get in touch and we’ll even help you plan out your 2024 supply chain. 

Map out your supply chain.

When your supply chain is visible, you can streamline it. Streamlining through visibility means bidding farewell to risks, costs, and inefficiencies.

When you're sketching out your supply chain, here are some steps you might take. 

  1. List your suppliers, vendors, and operational partners.
  2. Map out a high-level outline of your product flow from source to the shelf.
  3. List the tasks, stakeholders and responsibilities involved in each of these steps.
  4. Assess the risk and performance of each supplier and trade lane.
  5. Identify gaps, inefficiencies, roadblocks and opportunities.

This process is second nature to our supply chain experts. They'll give your supply chain a complete end-to-end view, hunting down supply chain inefficiencies and replacing them with automation and digitisation. 

Want to see how we transformed the supply chain of an Iconic Australian fashion retailer with nearly 200 stores world-wide? Get in touch! 

Clean your Tech Stack.

Knee-deep in spreadsheets, sifting through a barrage of emails, and juggling a myriad of disjointed tools just to keep your supply chain on track?

Invest in Digitalisation & Integrations.

McKinsey & Company estimates that a whopping 73% of supply chain functions still rely on spreadsheets.  In the beginning, a spreadsheet might have been all you needed to get the job done. But, as your business grows and margins get tighter, spreadsheets take more admin time to monitor and  upkeep.

  • You need a way to track where your POs are down to the container,
  • You need an easy way to share these details with relevant stakeholders,
  • You need a way to organize all your cargo documents, supplier contacts etc. 

Digital platforms simplify decision-making by consolidating the data you need into a single location.

Check your Data is Accurate.

Supply chain and customer data – sure, you’ve got a lot of it, but is it really feeding into strategic decision conversations?  We teamed up with Australian brands to craft a PO management tool that tackles visibility gaps in their supply chain, so we can give you the answers that matter most, like: 

  • Were my PO’s ready when they were supposed to be? 
  • How can we prevent delays? 
  • Will my shipment be on time? If not, why not?
  • Are some shippers more reliable than others? 
  • What is the carbon cost of one shipping line over another?

Then, the key to accuracy is redundancy. When multiple sources converge on the same truth, you can trust in the reliability of your data. We harness data from multiple partner sources, to ensure our platform offers consistently reliable insights into the status of your supply chain. 

Please your Conscious consumers with Sustainable Supply Chains.

Now more than ever, consumers are demanding transparency in the supply chain and ethical sourcing, and this trend isn't slowing down in 2024. Your customers are curious about the backstory of products, how they're crafted, and whether it aligns with their values.

  • 39% of Aussie shoppers prefer to shop from an online retailer who offers sustainable delivery options such as carbon offset delivery or recyclable packaging  (compared to 44% of global consumers).
  • 49% of Aussie shoppers are more likely to shop with a retailer who provides sustainable options for returning items  (compared to 54% of global consumers).

Even if supply chain and sourcing sustainability aren't grabbing attention at the checkout counter right now, groups like the 2023 Fashion Transparency Index are calling out brands that need to step up their game. Here's your chance to make a statement with your conscious consumers in 2024.

Start Tracking Emissions.

To make meaningful strides on the path towards net zero, you need accurate carbon accounting.

Measuring your environmental impact doesn't have to mean more tasks in your daily to do lists.  Investing in technology that streamlines your operations while tracking their emissions is the key to supply chain sustainability.

If you aren’t precise in measuring your emissions: 

  • You pay more than required in carbon offsets
  •  You can’t report your brands ESG progress
  • You can’t make informed decisions
  • And you can't prove compliance with ESG regulations.

Details matter -  That’s why we factor details like the vessel, its engine, and idle time into the calculation of your transport emissions.

Setting Targets and Offset your Freight Emissions.

Consumer behaviour has evolved - they're no longer virtue signalling, they're taking real action and expect the brands and products they support to do the same.

  1. Break down your supply chain into parts. 
  2. Evaluate each section for opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.
  3. Sort the list of improvement opportunities by ease of implementation and potential for impact.
  4. Commit to specific, measurable and achievable targets.

Setting goals without communicating them is like shipping goods without a delivery address… they’re going nowhere. So continue to remind your team, suppliers, customers, and stakeholders that people, innovation and sustainability are your top priorities.

Bonus Tip: Form a team with experts who can help make quick decisions.

There’s only so much your team can do on their own. In times of crisis, whether it's a shipping delay, customs issue, or unexpected disruption, a strong relationship with your freight forwarder can make all the difference.

Giving Australian brands a competitive edge through their supply chain is our specialty. Supply chain issues shouldn’t be what’s haunting Australian retailers big and small. Hit the ground running in 2024 and reach out to our team to see the difference Explorate can make to your operations.


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