The pandemic-related product shortages, which affected everything from computer chips to building supplies, were meant to be over by now. However, they aren’t. Instead, the disruption’s reverberations have taught the globe a valuable lesson. As a result, businesses are searching for strategies to make their supply networks stronger.
Supply chains have been put to the test like never before by COVID-19. However, the flaws that this crisis has shown are not brand-new. They’ve been there before; the pandemic only served to highlight how quickly international supply networks can destabilize.
Companies have always gauged the effectiveness of their supply chains by their ability to reduce costs and increase efficiency. JIT inventory management evolved into an art form, and practitioners attained ever-higher levels of accuracy.
Then, the year 2020 shocked many just-in-time plans. The supply chain ecosystems were not designed to adapt, and the upheaval was too big to absorb. The JIT technique was also put into practice during a time of comparatively stable global conditions, which we can no longer take for granted. It became clear that in the future, rigid linear flows in global supply chains must give way to flexible, agile networks. Only then will they be able to withstand threats from pandemics, political unrest, and harsh weather caused by climate change.
Isla Sibanda, owner of Privacy Australia believes that stopping the development of effective global supply networks is not the answer. Instead, businesses need supply networks that are more visible and flexible enough to change course quickly in the event of a crisis. Utilizing data in increasingly inventive ways is the key to attaining this. This entails anticipating disruptions, assessing their effects, and locating alternate supply sources.
With the use of technology, teamwork, and data, supply chains may be made to be more robust, efficient, and nimble. Greater value is the end outcome for the organization, suppliers, and clients.
Technologies for the entire supply chain are emerging that enhance visibility, cooperation, agility, and resilience. Additionally, utilizing cutting-edge technologies like the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps businesses prepare for and respond to the unexpected.
Sam Willis, owner of Rain Catcher advises that in order to choose technology that will grow with you, you must evaluate both your short- and long-term growth needs. Growth can occur in unexpected places, and your company may branch out into new market sectors, goods, and services. You can choose where to invest in your tech growth and where to make savings by analyzing your company developments and the supporting technology.
While many reasons that contribute to supply chain interruptions are outside the control of a firm, this does not mean that enterprises are helpless. With the correct technological tools, businesses can forecast slowdowns, better stock up on popular products ahead of demand, and even produce necessary parts in-house.
- Share your updated retail data with your suppliers:
During the pandemic, I observed that our retail clients that shared data with their suppliers outperformed their competitors. Retailers efficiently enable their suppliers to deliver the right products to the right stores at the right time by sharing their SKU-level, location-based inventory data. Retailers have loaded shelves as a result, and suppliers increase sales.
- Connect Business Functions With Real-Time Updates:
To manage and track materials and reduce bottlenecks, businesses require linked software solutions that deliver real-time updates from the office to the warehouse to the vendor supply chain. These solutions assist companies in completing projects on schedule and within budget by giving them the visibility they need to act quickly under the ever-changing business conditions of today.
- Utilize E-Commerce Marketplace Services:
According to Max Hauer, CEO of ‘Goflow’, businesses should make use of online marketplaces that offer a single location for all component purchasing since they promote transparency. Marketplaces are the future of the supply chain, not just because of their efficiency but also because some of them provide tools to handle the request for quote process and the bill of materials, as more buyers branch out from their traditional sourcing strategies.
- Use System based Simulation Engines to plan for Supply Chain disruptions:
System-based simulation engines can be used to foresee, manage, and plan for extreme, disruptive scenarios, which will show to be a crucial advantage in reducing supply chain risks. Such cutting-edge engines will be essential for real-time planning capabilities, improved data quality, and better visibility, helping businesses pivot in the face of protracted crises. They will surpass the limitations of conventional solutions.
- Utilize Artificial Intelligence To Analyze Data Sets:
According to Abe Breuer, the founding CEO of ‘Viptogo’, businesses are increasingly using AI to analyze data sets, discover consumer behavior, and more accurately forecast future demand. Businesses may streamline their supply chains and save time and money by getting better at predicting. A company’s bottom line can be significantly impacted by improving short-decision-making to combat the instability of supply networks.
- Connect mobile devices to hands-free equipment:
The capacity to connect mobile devices to other technologies enhances worker productivity and, in the current environment, reduces contact between employees and customers. For instance, businesses can control their staff by tying equipment to unmanned systems like drones so that employees can carry out tasks from distant locations. This method not only reduces the chance of germ transmission but also spares personnel from having to physically enter potentially hazardous places. Instead, before employees are dispatched, drones can help monitor hard-to-reach areas or identify potential safety issues. Drones can enable last-mile deliveries for consumers, guaranteeing that all package drop-offs are completely contactless.
- Create a supply chain map and monitor your products:
A supply chain interruption must be survived by maintaining suppliers and a regular flow of components and supplies. I advise using supplier mapping to understand how your supply chain operates. This comprises the locations of the plants (the headquarters might be somewhere else), the products that each factory produces, and the importance of certain elements – can your product be built without it, or do you have other sources of this item elsewhere? The operational state and inventory level of each plant are additional details to be aware of. For all of this, supply chain visibility is necessary.
- Integrate a manufacturing and logistics IoT strategy:
The location of a product in your outbound supply chain may be seen with strong new levels of real-time visibility with an Internet of Things strategy that interfaces with your production and logistics services. Inventory can be better routed in real-time to match demand signals with end-to-end visibility.