While supply chain delays are slowing down, they may continue to impact your business for the foreseeable future. If there's one thing we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that there is a need to build a responsive supply chain. Refining your supply chain processes can help you stay more resilient through market shifts and external challenges. Learn how effective management and technology can help you build a robust supply chain to weather any storm.
The Importance of Supply Chain Resilience
By taking steps to create a resilient supply chain, your organization can identify potential risks ahead of time and develop strategies to mitigate their impact. You can plan ahead for seasonal volumes, make sure you're always staffed correctly to manage loading and unloading, and alter shipping routes as needed in case global events disrupt your usual ones.
Building a responsive supply chain also lets you manage customer expectations. With the right data in place, you can better predict estimated delivery times and stick to them consistently. Additionally, optimizing your supply chain can make your business more cost-effective and help reduce your carbon footprint.
Essential Strategies for Enhancing Supply Chain Resilience
Even though you can’t always predict which external factors will put pressure on your supply chain, you can take steps to boost your supply chain effectiveness.
1. Diversify Supplier Networks and Partnerships
Relying on a single supplier or a small set of partnerships puts you at risk of stalling in your supply chain. If your main supplier is impacted by an unstable geopolitical environment or a natural disaster, for example, you lose the ability to deliver to your customers on time.
These delays and disruptions can decrease customer satisfaction. Partnering with a diverse network of suppliers and partners gives you a more agile supply chain. If one of your suppliers is dealing with delays, you can call on another one to keep up with customer demand.
Diversifying your network also gives you the option to shop around for suppliers that are more cost-effective for your business or that are more innovative in their processes or product offerings. Partnering with new suppliers can spur you to rethink how you do business and find new ways to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
2. Implement Robust Risk Management Protocols
Anticipating risks can help you prepare to tackle issues before they arise. You can create risk management protocols for external risks such as market conditions, demand fluctuations, environmental risks, and risks associated with your vendors. While you can’t control these conditions, planning for them ahead of time helps you manage these situations smoothly when they arise.
Keep an agile supply chain by using a management tool to run risk assessments and build your contingency plans to mitigate these risks. Internal issues may include disruptions to workflows or logistical processes, personnel issues, or inadequate inventory control. With a supply chain management system, you can identify these risks before they pose a severe issue to your operations.
3. Develop Agile Inventory Management Practices
Agile inventory control refers to your flexibility as you continuously improve your ability to manage inventory levels and costs. You may accomplish this by using historical data to better predict customer demand, preparing for busy seasons by keeping more inventory in stock.
You may also choose to store semi-finished products that are faster to manufacture when ordered. Improved supply chain visibility makes it easier to implement an agile inventory management system. Choose a software solution that lets you monitor inventory levels in real time so you always have the right balance in stock.
Create an agile supply chain by monitoring your business operations to find gaps in your processes and develop strategies to improve your efficiency.
4. Use Data Analytics for Predictive Insights
You can improve your business operations regardless of your type of supply chain with data analytics, tracking key metrics such as your total cycle time, inventory turnover, and fill rate, among others.
Modern data analysis tools offer predictive insights that help you anticipate risks. You may use predictive pricing to adjust your prices and other aspects of your business model as the market shifts. You could take advantage of peak rates or offer discounts for shipping during slower periods, for example.
Predictive analytics also help you optimize your inventory with metrics for location, usage, and region, among others. Instead of overstocking and paying to store excess inventory or risking stock-outs, you can keep the right inventory levels across your supply chain.
This data can also help you lower your carbon footprint by optimizing shipping routes to minimize time spent idling in traffic, wasting time and fuel.
5. Establish Effective Communication and Collaboration Channels
As a business owner, you understand that effective communication is key to running an efficient supply chain. Make sure you have clear communication protocols in place, allowing each member of your team to keep in touch regarding supply chain issues and delays or product development disruptions.
You may be working with a variety of products and suppliers. Make sure each of your external partners knows whom to contact regarding logistical issues and delays that may hold up a delivery. Identifying these issues early in the supply chain allows you to deploy your contingency plan or alert customers before the shipment is significantly delayed.
Hold regular meetings or calls with your staff and external partners to tackle issues as they arise instead of waiting until a problem has escalated.
How Surgere's Diverse Solutions Can Improve Your Entire Supply Chain
Improve your supply chain's effectiveness with various solutions from Surgere. We offer asset management tools to help you better manage your inventory and logistics. Our yard management solutions will help you optimize processes in the yard to reduce loading and unloading issues. Our production management solution will help you implement process controls and communicate to your customers that each product they receive is of a high quality.
These are just some of our solutions. Surgere offers a wide range of solutions to improve supply chain responsiveness at every step. Schedule a demo today to see how we can help improve your business.