5 Supply Chain Lessons for the Post-Pandemic World
As we start to prepare for a post-pandemic world, companies will need to examine several key supply chain lessons that we have learned throughout the ordeal.
A recent Forbes article outlines 5 of these lessons that businesses need to keep in mind as we move towards the new normal.
The first lesson the article makes is creating multiple levels of redundant supply.
While this is one of the top supply chain advice for businesses right now, many companies are apprehensive because of the difficulty and impracticality of doing this. In some cases, companies may have already invested so much time and money on one supplier.
To remedy this, the article offers some unconventional suggestions such as creating a small production run with additive manufacturing (3D printing) and utilising a third party platform to find suppliers that cater across the world. You might also want to start considering collaborating with a competitor on a specific product, which may have been unthinkable before, but a great strategy nowadays.
Another lesson lies in understanding inventory levels and knowing how to adapt.
The pandemic has shown how sudden businesses might need to shift from making one product to another. In line with this, the article suggests to employ a qualified supply chain engineer to collect valuable data on current demand and then work on an inventory optimisation exercise, which can then be modified to suit swiftly changing conditions. You may also opt to hire a qualified consultant.
The third lesson in the article is to adjust carrier contracts to secure your shipping.
You can still ensure continuity even with tight carrier capacity and without paying an excessively amount of money.
According to the article, you can “insert a pre-negotiated premium price escalator in your carrier contracts with defined circumstances.”
Additionally, you may also “consider joining shipper co-ops that pool volumes across large numbers of companies to gain more collective clout on behalf of members.”
Finally, a employ a good freight broker or forwarder that can “manage all of your transportation nightmares while supporting customer service, technology and visibility.”
The fourth lesson in the article is to include adjusted lead times and costs for customer strategies.
The article posits that it may actually be wise to temporarily lower customer expectations, and then exceed them. Once everything is well-adjusted, you can slowly utilise previous strategies that improve customer service and reduce supply chain costs.
The final strategy is to create visibility and transparency throughout your supply chain.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of real-time data, from updates to your customers to providing information on each inbound shipment for your production supervisor. Now, you need to start investigating the visibility features across your systems, including your vendors’ systems.