Normally, when you go to a store you find exactly what you need with plenty of brands and options neatly stacked on shelves, but in the next few days, when you go to that same store, and see their empty shelves, you may wonder, what has happened. This is what happened during the pandemic. Globally, grocery stores were empty, and the most plausible reason was disruption in the supply chain.
Empty stores were just one of the many areas impacted due to COVID, causing a large-scale breakdown in global supply chains. The major breakdowns in the production and distribution of the supply chain due to this unplanned crisis also caused severe shortages of raw materials, workforce, and port congestion.
The rapid increase of coronavirus crippled supply chains across the globe, with many large enterprises announcing shipping and manufacturing delays. The unavoidable delays and inefficiency showcase the non- resiliency of supply chain. While delays in transportation can happen at the best of times, severe disruption can compound such problems.
As per Ernst & Young survey, 72% of the respondents reported a negative impact on their company due to the pandemic, out of which 17% reporting a significantly high negative effect, and 55% reporting high negative impact.
Such large-scale disruptions draw attention to our supply chain dependencies which we are not actually aware of when everything was going fine. While there is no one-stop solution to prevent such disruptions, it is better to be prepared beforehand.
Disruptions are part and parcel of operations and is very much unpredictable; therefore, the supply chain operations must be flexible enough to rapidly adjust in case of irregularities.
Building a supply chain emergency plan: It is always good to have a backup plan before anything goes wrong. There could be numerous “what if” scenarios; therefore, planning out different ways to move goods around, finding local and nearby suppliers as an alternative becomes a must as a contingency plan. At the time of a disruption, companies can refer to their business community plan or BCP plans to continue their work without much of an impact to their operations.
Pushing towards digitalization: It is not unusual for companies to get caught off guard because of poor supply chain visibility in an unplanned supply chain disruption. Companies need to monitor and track individual components involved into inbound and outbound logistics. A digital control tower offers a central source of data with advanced notification and alerts along with track and trace information. 3SC provides a customised business-fit control tower to give real-time value to manage your transportation and optimize labour productivity. It will bring a drastic reduction in response time to disruptions and enable fast, agile & well-informed decision making.
Investment in future technology: Using a combination of technologies such as Internet of things (IOT), Augmenting Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning (ML), Advanced analytics, blockchain, robotics and automation can leverage real-time surveillance capabilities and help organizations plan accordingly. Modern IT solutions can unlock and harness data and embed systems that enable collaboration between the right individuals to maintain a consistent flow of information, analysis and create new customer experiences that increase satisfaction and boost sales.
Supply chain vulnerability audit: The objective of a supply chain assessment is to examine the supply chain & its levers for potential concerns and weaknesses. Take some time to do a risk analysis to find out the weakest links in your supply chain. It can help evaluate solutions that are worth replacing or finding better alternatives that may impact supply routes. The information collected from the vulnerability audit process can guide the entire organization to respond to a crisis & unforeseeable events leading to disruption.
It is easy to ignore and put checks into the back burner when everything is working normal. However, in times of trouble, having a good plan in place is essential. Companies need to shift their focus from short- term disruption to long-term survival mechanisms to create a business that becomes robust. These strategies will help you in shaping your business to build a proactive disruption plan. You can go for top logistics service providers like 3SC, who can manage your supply chain efficiently and ensure that all these impacted functions are on the same page to help address supply chain shocks.