The shopping spree starting on Black Friday, rolling over to Cyber Monday is one of the most critical times for Logistics centers, optimized distribution networks, and Supply Chain Management. During this period special deals are offered, new products are launched, and the shopping websites themselves invest in increasing the volume of purchases. But this year is going to be different: because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Friday will not be only an in-store shopping event, the business will be mainly online. This means reaching out to a potentially higher number of customers placing orders online, that could be translated as an enormous number of packages that need to be sent trough-out the world. Unfortunately, along with the opportunities, come the risks.
If the online requests will be massive compared to past years, the volume of orders each logistic center must manage is forecasted to be even higher, as well as the risk of financial and reputation damages in case of network problems. The consequences of network issues during the Black Friday shopping season could lead to non-returning customers, failure in order management, piles of packages that could not be delivered due to network failure, and overall, big brand damage.
Why a failure can happen: a typical logistics network environment
The logistic center network environment is usually an IT and OT integrated network needed to better understand in-house operations, often resulting in a significant reduction in machine downtime, improved production, and higher quality control. This network of networks is enriched with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices enabling greater access to data streams. But IIoT connects the physical machines and equipment in a distribution center, smart products, and the whole supply chain to the digital world of cloud, IoT devices, data analytics, and Artificial intelligence. It is quite evident that the data flow must go through a very complex network environment, where visibility of each data packet seems to be challenging on regular days, imagine during the Black Friday season: the trailer of a horror movie. The risk of not delivering packages due to network failure is a possible scenario without proper network visibility.
If this was not enough of a headache, there are all the vulnerabilities caused by the connectivity, like cyber-threats and operational incidents. If network outage prevention is very high in the list of challenges during the Black Friday days, crucial is also the risk of cyber threats causing data breaches or even network disruption. Cybersecurity at the network level must be one of the top priorities because a data breach, in the best-case scenario, costs millions. And this point can be achieved, again, only by bringing clarity into the network.
Black Friday is a limited time frame, and time equals money
No panic. There is a way to face all the above-mentioned challenges in a structured and effective way. Whether it is a company with one plant or hundreds of distribution centers worldwide, efficiency and excellence in the network infrastructures are key to maximizing operational efforts and avoiding network downtime, which in turn adds costs. And Black Friday is a limited time frame, and time equals money. When a device, data center, or server on the network fails, accurate and fast troubleshooting is crucial. Every minute of downtime impacts business production, and so, profit.
The best strategy is to gain full network visibility of any logistics center is by monitoring the full spectrum of data workflow of all infrastructure components. How? Here are our 3 tips:
- Get a reliable and real-time overview of the network with physical and virtual TAPs placed at strategic points.
- Build a visibility architecture with the help of Network Packet Brokers (NPB) to deliver actionable network data to the monitoring and security tools.
- Leave no blind spots, get dedicated tools that enable motoring on the spot, and also remote and back-in-time analysis.
Real-time network monitoring starts with high-quality and customizable infrastructures. Profitap provides solutions to help take your business to the next level with highly performant, secure, customizable, and user-friendly network solution infrastructures. Do you want to know more?