How to Ensure an Uninterrupted Supply Chain

Friends, by now, you must all know how important it is to have a reliable and robust supply chain. Whether it is the supply of raw material, people, finances, technology, manufacturing equipment, clients, or even office and canteen supplies, any disruption in this chain can hamper the organization’s performance in varying degrees.

The sudden decision of a nationwide lockdown has caught many of us unawares and taught us one thing – that we should always be prepared in the future. You may be taken by surprise once, but if you are retaken by surprise, it is your fault.

Here are a few tips on how you can ensure constant and trust-worthy supply chains even during a crisis, and beyond.

  1. Assess the situation by figuring out which area requires attention to priority. Sort out the important ones first. Then go through all the remaining supply chains to find out if you can rely on them at all times.
  • Form a secure command center that will immediately escalate matters if any of the supply chains show signs of breaking down. This team should have enough powers to try and quickly sort out issues on their own in case any of the supply chains are at risk.
  • Form action plans for different scenarios – evaluate why each supply chain may break down and put a plan on paper for each situation. As far as possible, try to automate the process with limited manual intervention. Digitize the entire process flow in such a way that any kind of hiccups will show up immediately.
  • Talk to the suppliers and see if you can strengthen the collaboration. If the supplier has a stake in your company, you become their priority. You may lose some control, but you will be able to ensure the smooth running of the company. Collaborations are the need of the hour. So collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. The more the partnerships, the higher the chances of everyone’s success.
  • After every new development in this crisis, go back to the drawing board and see if any of your plans are affected in any way. If they are, then change them and form a fresh new idea to close the gaps.
  • If you find any risks in the current supply chains, reduce that risk as far as possible and do not hesitate to eliminate it by finding new and more reliable supply chains. This could be quite critical shortly.
  • Go through the list of all your suppliers – it could be your bankers, your customers or your vendors – talk to them and see if they have noticed any loopholes and how you can solve it together. Announce a free reward to the best suppliers, so that they feel involved in the organization.
  • In case you feel that increasing the number of suppliers will mitigate the risk when one of them fails, then establish multiple collaborations so that you don’t have to depend on any one of them. However, sometimes it is better to further improve an existing bond than to dissolve it through multiple tie-ups. Evaluate the situation carefully and then make a decision.
  • If you think backward or forward, integration is necessary at the moment, invest in the same. For example, a paper trading company may take over a paper manufacturing company to ensure continued supply, or a newspaper owner may acquire a newsprint manufacturing company to provide a better supply. Similarly, an equipment manufacturer might tie-up with a logistics company to ensure a smooth supply of its products to clients.
  • Don’t forget to go back to the drawing board and draw up new foolproof plans every time you find a loophole. Hire supply chain experts if necessary to help you in case you find yourself handling too many things in this crisis. Outsource if necessary.

Thank you for reading this post, should you have any suggestions or feedback, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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