Last year, the pandemic threw supply chains across the world into total bedlam. Massive economic shut down across the globe made businesses vulnerable to closure and laid bare the issues with current supply chain setups. Trade restrictions, material shortages, and economic nationalism all created an endless list of problems that businesses are still working to solve.
The crisis certainly taught businesses – new and old – that additional resiliency needs to be introduced into the traditional supply chain to prevent reliving the events of 2020 in the future.
To help mitigate disruptions and to future-proof your business, here are four strategies to implement to create a more resilient supply chain for long-term success.
Customers are looking for stable companies in the aftermath of the pandemic. They want to know they’re spending money with the right people and will receive their product or service within a timely manner to a high quality.
Businesses need to incorporate big picture S&OP (sales and operations planning) and align all projects and tasks to the overall strategy and vision. Work will need to be done to create SMART goals and achievable objectives, with a breakdown of how each can be completed.
Conscience and transparency
Consumer trends were already changing pre-COVID, but the pandemic has propelled these trends to become even more prominent.
Customers are looking for brands and businesses that reflect their own social values. They want transparency about how your company maintains compliance and what you’re doing to improve your impact on social and environmental elements. Customers are keen to find sustainable businesses but do not want to sacrifice their seamless and speedy delivery options to do so.
In order to appeal to the modern customer, businesses need to take a long look at their supply chain from start to finish to find areas worth improving. And, with any improvements, marketing teams should work to show these changes and promote transparency between customers and business.
Diversify the supplier base
Bringing manufacturing closer to home has been a big trend since the pandemic. Having all processes available on home soil means speedier delivery to customers and better control oversupply. However, in order to really near-shore your supply chain, you need to take a closer look at where your suppliers are getting their supplies from. Otherwise, a breakdown in their vendors could easily lead to problems for you down the line.
You should look to find additional suppliers with close proximity to raw materials. That way, you can ensure you have access to the supply you need – ultimately creating a future-proof, resilient network with fewer disruptions.
The effects of the pandemic likely mean your business’s inventory is a little unbalanced. In some areas, you’ll have an oversupply, while in others, you’ll have an undersupply.
To add resilience to your network for the future, you’ll need to undertake some detailed analysis to understand how much inventory you should be holding per SKU and at what locations. While popularity and demand are one factor, you also need to put in place processes that work for products that have longer lead times or items that need to be specially shipped.
While we can hope there won’t be a global crisis any time soon, it’s always good to create a highly resilient supply network so you’re not left without if disaster does strike.
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