What can we learn about logistics from the Suez Canal container ship crisis?

  • Solutions
  • Manufacturing
  • 2021
  • Claudia Gindorf-Bjelkengren
06 May 2021

Suez canal container ship

The fact that a container ship, the Ever Given, blocked the Suez Canal will make the history books for sure. Pictures of a small dredger trying to move sand away from the Ever Given's bow, which was as high as a house, went around the world. However, only some experts started to talk about the impact, consequences, and logistics of having 400 blocked ships, all with considerable cargo on board. We now know that the global supply chains could be affected for months.

More than just disruption

The number of containers affected is estimated at between five and seven and a half million. Specialist departments still have to continuously inform customers of the current status; reorganise port, loading, storage, and transport capacities; adjust and re-request the paperwork accompanying transport. Even future shipments are affected.

One of the world's largest players, Maersk, informed its customers that existing transport capacities were still restricted by up to 30 percent weeks after the congestion was resolved. Pending bookings had to be postponed and prioritised. For the specialist departments of the companies involved, such a situation meant sending millions of e-mails, countless phone calls, and regular website updates. Overtime and sleepless nights are the result for many specialist departments.

Proactive, transparent information - with a powerful platform

If you try to sit out such a situation, you only create more work for yourself and risk losing the customer's loyalty. If you want to keep the customer experience at a high level despite the crisis, you have to inform proactively and quickly. In the case of Ever Given, many inventory systems meticulously document the details. To compile the right information from this sea of data for the entire logistics chain and for customers individually, and to keep parties involved transparently up to date, the Now Platform® is the right tool.

The Now Platform also makes it easy to proactively inform a very large number of customers - in the best case, before they even notice the problem themselves. Playbooks and workflows can be used to link the different types of information that accumulate in front, middle and back offices. Similar cases are brought together and can be handled competently in one go. Chatbots can answer queries quickly and accurately. Artificial intelligence can recognise and assign topics automatically. Helpful customer apps can be designed and made available on websites or smartphones in just a few days.

The Now Platform provides specialist departments with the necessary tools to productively master any kind of crisis with transparency and appropriate customer contact.

Historically exceptional situation?

From my own experience, I know that situations like Ever Given and the COVID 19 pandemic are part of our daily business. Deviations from what is planned is unavoidable, which is why it is all the more important to inform customers proactively, thus minimising the impact on organisations and their customers.

To find out more about how to provide departments with the right tools to increase productivity and customer satisfaction, as well as minimise costs and emerge stronger from a crisis visit https://www.servicenow.com/uk/solutions/industry/manufacturing.html

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