While we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to Covid-19, with the vaccination rollouts and increased testing, many supply chains are beginning to look to the future and are working on their post-Covid recovery by implementing these strategies.
Importance of resilience
Through the past year, many supply chains have realised that, in order to truly recover from this crisis, they would need to guard against similar threats in the future.
Whilst we hope we don’t have to endure another pandemic, we must prepare ourselves for global disruption. In actionable terms, this means diversifying your suppliers, finding alternatives for hard-to-source components, maintaining strong relationships with manufacturers and suppliers, improving cash flow, and carrying out regular risk assessments.
Identify your vulnerabilities
Part of your supply chain recovery from Covid-19 should be regular and thorough risk assessments and a process for identifying your vulnerabilities. The past year will have probably made many of these vulnerabilities quite clear but be honest about what issues need addressing, even if it means that you are going to need to put money into the business to fix them.
Invest in what will protect your supply chain and embrace technology where it will help you
Building on that last point, your post-Covid recovery shouldn’t be focused solely on getting back to normal, but should also include making the necessary improvements to avoid significant disruption in the future.
This may mean investing in new technology that can improve your efficiency, such as AI systems and IoT devices, which can automate processes such as stock take and ordering, freeing staff up to focus on other tasks. You should also invest in the latest software for all your systems, as outdated programs are more vulnerable to security breaches.
Investing in what will protect your supply chain doesn’t just mean new tech. Research into alternatives to hard-to-source components for use in your products or redesigning products entirely to include more readily available components will mean you are less likely to get caught out in times of shortages or disruption that is increasing lead times. Just make sure that you fully identify all the risks of whatever new technology or procedures you introduce.
Importance of transparency
Transparency with your suppliers and manufacturers is going to be key for any supply chain’s recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. Any risk assessment is going to require you to know everything about your supply chain, from obtaining the raw materials to the product reaching the end user.
This means you need to know where your products are coming from, how readily available the raw materials are, who the end user is, how long you expect them to use the product and everything in between. From this, if you find any weaknesses or inefficiencies, you can orchestrate a far more informed solution.
One great way that you can work with your suppliers or manufacturers is to forecast demand. This is a strategy that all Covid-19 supply chain recovery plans should implement if they have not already.
By using your past sales data, you can identify when you can expect to sell certain products and arrange with your suppliers well ahead of time what stock you will need to fulfil the forecasted orders. This way, your components can be made and put aside well ahead of time. Forecasting demand is mutually beneficial for both manufacturer and supplier and will go a long way to maintaining a strong relationship between the two.
Supply chains’ recovery from Covid-19 is going to be a long road, but it will bring with it opportunities to dissect the current business model and identify imperfections that can then be improved. The result may well be a stronger supply chain than before the pandemic.
If you are looking for solutions to help with your Covid-19 supply chain recovery plan, you can get in touch with us to see how we can help.