Procurement 10112 Ways Supply Chains Can Come Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Top

Last Updated: 27 May, 2020

The globalization of business has caused supply chains to be more connected and complex across the world and as a result, the efficiency and visibility across a supply chain are very valuable for a business. With the wave of COVID-19 and social distancing initiatives in effect, certain areas of business have either slowed down or shut down entirely. Supply chains specifically have taken a massive hit. If you’re concerned about the impact that COVID-19 is having on your supply chain, read on to learn about how your business can come out of this pandemic on top.

 

Invest in Lightweight, Intuitive Software

“Historically, supply chain leaders have been hesitant due to the heavy and complicated software that were on the market. As companies start to make smart investments into their business operations, lightweight, intuitive software will be a necessity to succeed as the pandemic continues to evolve and in a post-COVID world.”

Suuchi Ramesh, CEO & Founder, Suuchi 

 

Keep All Aspects of Operations Flexible 

“While COVID-19 has impacted the shipping industry in many ways, we have and will be as flexible as possible with managing our own warehouses, workers, container yards, and trucks. We have already implemented multiple operational changes to keep our clients and staff safe including changing our warehouse staff into two separate shifts to increase safety and still keep business flowing. While we are still receiving, loading, and shipping vehicles and cargo, certain delays are to be expected. Ports have shifted their hours due to decreased volumes from China. This has resulted in congestion and reduced hours of operation. We will continue to adjust on a day-by-day basis as developments unfold. Fortunately, we operate a vertically integrated auto supply chain which has helped us tremendously.” 

Joseph Giranda, Director of Commercial Relations at CFR Rinkens

 

Invest in Collaborative Technology 

“The use of robots and augmented reality can play a critical role in optimizing warehouse operations, maximizing worker productivity, and keeping customers happy when their orders arrive correct and on time. In addition to helping to increase efficiency, collaborative technology can enable warehouse employees to more easily adjust to seasonal and unexpected surges in orders. And, these technologies, when integrated with a warehouse management system (WMS) and order management system (OMS), also provide businesses with the tools they need to analyze, accurately forecast and properly act on fluctuating demand, such as what we’ve seen happening during the COVID-19 epidemic.” 

Sam Gonzales, Director of Global Systems and Solutions, Ivanti Supply Chain

 

Diversify Your Supply Chain 

“Diversifying suppliers could be key to mitigating potential negative impacts. Perhaps by using suppliers in different regions to diversify the supply chain, especially where the product has a longer supply cycle.  And if possible, allow the business to build up enough of an inventory to see it through several months of disruption (whether this is a store of the finished product or components.)”

Bobbie Ttooulis, Executive Director, Global Freight Solutions (GFS)

 

Keep Your Expectations Realistic 

“Supply chains can mitigate the negative effects by being realistic with their expectations and using proper forecasting. Using ‘optimistic figures’ within your supply chain helps no one and can affect how the entire supply chain estimates their own figures. For instance, if a manufacturer is short on supply and gives an estimated turn around time of one week, we can work with that. The rest of the supply chain will be banking on that estimate, but if the manufacturer cannot deliver on their estimate (within a reasonable range), operations will be affected throughout the whole supply chain. Even if the circumstances are not ideal, you can plan less than favourable conditions. However, sugar-coating the situation will only make things worse.”

Michael Nemeroff, Founder and Former CEO, RushOrderTees

 

Vertically Integrate the Supply Chain 

“Most inefficiencies with supply chains arise from complexity involving multiple vendors. The more moving pieces in your supply chain, the more likely are delays and lost revenue. We’ve decided during this pandemic period to vertically integrate up the supply chain and control our inputs. To do so, we’re working on growing our own raw materials aeroponically rather than sourcing them from international vendors or contract manufacturers. If successful, this business pivot will significantly increase the efficiency of our supply chain.”

Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs

 

Mitigate Rather Than Avoid

“It’s going to be difficult to avoid a negative impact altogether, what you can do is mitigate. To protect bottom lines, what you should start thinking about is diversification. This is the time to begin exploring new possible revenue streams; for this, you’ll most likely have to become flexible in your operations, use technology for risk assessments, and of course, have a knowledgeable team to make the calls.”

Eulises Quintero, Content Manager at Titoma Design

 

Make Processes Traceable and Trackable

“There is increasing pressure on supply chain professionals to make their processes entirely traceable and trackable. Businesses taking proactive steps to harness digitization will be better able to handle the volatility in the future while providing an improved service to their end-customers today.

“One fast way this can be done is by introducing smartphone-based scanning for serial numbers on packages and containers, enabling end-to-end visibility from production through to delivery.”

Lukas Kinigadner, CEO of Anyline

 

Keep Suppliers Close and Analyze Risk 

“Supply chain management itself changed a lot since the beginning of this year, but due to the pandemic, the change has been heavily impacted. So, below are a few supply chain tips for COVID-19. The first one would be to keep suppliers close by touching base and inquiring about tier 2 and 3 supplier impacts. Knowing about the condition along the chain will help you in the indication of how your own materials plan will be impacted. Secondly, the evaluation of your supply chain risk is very important. For this, you have to review your supplier development. Customs officials are also impacted and things may slow down around the border. Carriers are actually on the front line for the infection, so services may be impacted by lack of staff, and the timing can be slow and off. Similarly, additional time should be planned for safety procedures and precautions so that the staff is equipped with clear procedures for hygiene protocols.”

Jennifer Willy, Editor at Etia.com

 

Leverage Digital Platforms to Source New Partnerships

“Supply chains are in an undeniably tough position. Supplies are in very short order everywhere and if one link in the chain goes down, it can affect hundreds of companies. However, this crisis also presents an opportunity for supply chains who are quick and flexible. CEOs and business leaders are using digital platforms to source new partnerships in order to keep operations running. By taking advantage of the connections that digital networks provide, Supply Chains can find new partners and make fast deals.” 

Brian Pallas, CEO & Founder of Opportunity Network

 

Demand Forecasting with Machine Learning

“Suppliers have seen success with applying machine learning to their demand forecasting. By applying a forecasting model that learns the business as time progresses, suppliers can expect more accurate results compared to more traditional methods, like a regression. 

“Machine learning has become more accessible to suppliers than ever before. The costs are lower and less data is needed to power accurate results. Machine learning can allow for suppliers to have more accurate demand predictions and more quickly respond to spikes or dips to their orders.”

Melodie Hays, Product Owner at SupplyPike 

 

Localize Your Supply Chain

“The crucial piece here is how easy (or difficult) it is to procure your inventory. Given what we know about COVID-19 delaying (or in some cases shutting down) supply chains, local is better. The more locally-based your supply chain is, the more you will be protected from global supply shocks because of the pandemic.”

Jake Rheude, VP of Marketing, Red Stag Fulfillment

 

Regardless of the current situation of your business, the proper management of your supply chain will help enhance your bottom line. Investing in a supplier management solution such as ours at Tradogram won’t only help you come out of this pandemic with your best foot forward, but will also mitigate any possible room for issues in the future. Reach out to our team today to learn more.

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