Dear SME: Stay On Track This Peak Season
A bumper peak season brings opportunities for business recovery – if Asia’s SMEs can keep up with demand
2020 is a bit different. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, maintaining consistent operations has been especially difficult in 2020 during non-Peak months. The coronavirus has disrupted supply chains as well as production lines - all with a knock-on impact on delivery reliability and ultimately: customer satisfaction.
This is being driven by the widely publicized e-commerce boom, with online consumers all shopping under imposed social distancing measures. And it’s compounded by a contraction in available air cargo space due to the grounding of passenger aircraft. If your orders get caught in the cargo squeeze, there’s a danger that your business recovery plan is also derailed. As the order book starts to fill up, getting ahead and staying ahead requires good preparation and planning.
With risk and reward hanging in the balance, how do you stay atop and ride this unprecedented Peak endurance race - or Ship-a-Thon as we call it at FedEx?
Take the stopper out of bottlenecks
Having the spotlight shone on these vulnerabilities is teaching business owners to reimagine the supply chain to balance efficiency with resilience. The resulting ‘just-in-case’ supply chain model will utilize a wider roster of suppliers, accept the need to hold inventory and build in redundancies. Arguably, some production costs may rise, but with the added benefit of improved agility and resilience. 1
Managing through complex bottlenecks doesn’t always require tearing up your operations manual. Speaking to your priority customers to understand their upcoming needs and encouraging them to smooth out their own peaks is a simple fix; as is seeking outside help from your logistics provider. At FedEx, we’ve made service adjustments and expanded operations to meet heightened demand during the peak season.
Expand digitization to drive efficiencies, expansion and customer satisfaction
The pandemic has sped up the adoption of digital customer interactions by as much as four years.
Consumers have moved dramatically to online channels and businesses have responded in turn, with Asia leading the way. New digital or digitally enhanced offerings being launched in Asia has leapt forward ten years compared to a global average of seven.
Just as importantly, results suggest the changes are likely to stick throughout the pandemic recovery period and beyond. The bottom line? Digitally-enabled SMEs will be better equipped to respond to changing customer demands, needs and retail preferences – now and in the long term.
Here at FedEx we already have built-in digital capabilities to facilitate this. For example, FedEx Delivery Manager allows e-business customers to customize delivery preferences, manage delivery times and locations and keep track of deliveries, ultimately supporting customer satisfaction.
Accelerating recovery by tapping new markets
The growing importance of e-commerce has meant that SMEs can now move beyond local or domestic demand to target new regional and even international customers, growing revenue without the investment costs related to opening brick-and-mortar storefronts. This is where the real acceleration of business recovery can happen.
The trends we’re seeing in supply chain management and digital transformation this season are more than a quick fix solution for current capacity shortages. Planning ahead of the shipping peak can help small businesses become future-ready today - laying a foundation for further growth and recovery in the times ahead.
For more information on PEAK Shipping, please visit us HERE.
A version of this article was first published in SME Magazine in October 2020.
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