How to manage the supply chain in times of crisis

How to manage the supply chain in times of crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses across the globe in myriad ways. Its most profound impacts are felt in the supply chain of organizations. Close to three fourth of businesses have seen their supply chain get adversely affected.

As the outspread and ramifications of the disease continues to disrupt everything on its way, there is a strong need to assess supply chain strategies and fix the weak links in the chain.

The unintended consequences of the virus spread has resulted in loss of revenue and operational bottlenecks.

Here’s how to navigate risks and ensure business continuity

Create a strong contingency plan

To mitigate risks organizations need to come up with contingency plans and scenario-planning strategies for different demand environments. It is important to build in quick responses.

Companies will need to engage their suppliers to better understand their processes and workflows.

Handle supply shock

Companies should work closely with their suppliers to come up with a stable business continuity plan. For products with longer supply cycles, it is important to diversify the supply chain to avoid acute supply shortages.

It is also essential to create a business model that allows a buffer with additional inventory. Looking towards both offshore and near shore options is also important to explore other opportunities.

Gain more visibility

This crisis has forced retailers to seek more supplier flexibility and visibility across the supply chain continuum. Aggregating data from third-party vendors will result in additional visibility. This visibility can help in zeroing in on roadblocks that hamper stock movement across the supply network.

Pinpointing on specific issues can lead to quicker resolution and accelerated outcomes.

Utilization of technology

Businesses must turn to artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to facilitate supply chains. This can to a vast extent eliminate uncertainty and human labor.

The bullwhip effect should be used to manage high volatility. Major suppliers should be given a clear picture of demand. Demand planning tools should be employed to aggregate metrics like seasonal shopping habits and consumer demands to create stronger predictive models. This will enable businesses to get up to speed when things are back to normal. Any which way you slice it, it is imperative to leverage technology to manage supply chain fluctuations.

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Seamless communication

The supply chain has a lot of moving parts. It is critical to have people across processes on the same page. Whether it is rerouting the distribution team or outsourcing work due to workload, it is vital to keep communication open and transparent to eliminate friction.

The bottomline

Things are slowly getting back to normal. China has reopened its doors and is slowly working towards resuming business operations. To prevent negative impacts and uncertainty and to survive the COVID 19 curveball, it’s critical to adopt technology and tools to have a clear-eyed view of potential risks and create a strong framework to make course corrections.