The “New Normal” Demands Rethinking of Supply Chain Management

  • May 8, 2021
  • 579 Views

The pandemic has radically changed the supply chain lines globally. As the world is inching forward toward a new normal, with the threat of the infection looming overhead, we must prepare to navigate the changing landscape.

Why is There a Need to Protect The Lifelines of The Modern World?

Supply chains are the lifelines for societes, from food to medical supplies, everything depends on solid supply chains. The pandemic undoubtedly is continuing to disrupt global supply chains. It is challenging the flexibility and reliability of supply chain leaders globally.

For example, if goods are ready to be shipped, there may be local restrictions or shortage in staff. Faced by continuous disruptions, companies are struggling to meet the fluctuations in demand i.e., either they have massive amounts of stock lying around or have limited visibility into the entire supply chain to ensure business continuity.

Global Supply Chain System

Finally, as supply chains work in the background, away from customer’s view, most customers do not know the hurdles being faced. This has resulted in poor end user experience and reduced customer satisfaction levels.

55

%
of companies plan to downgrade their growth outlooks (or have already done so).

75

%
of companies have had negative or strongly negative impacts on their businesses.

94

%
of Fortune 1000 companies are seeing supply chain disruptions from COVID-19.

Identifying Ways to Respond to Supply Chain Disruption

Going back to pre-covid times seems impossible. With the rise of multiple Coronavirus variants rising, the only option at hand is to find ways for supply chains to work around the recent disruptions.

A supply chain has a series of interconnected parts with vendors, suppliers and partners.

Example: Hierarchy of a supply chain

Hierarchy of a Supply Chain

In the above image, on one end of the pyramid sits large companies or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) followed by raw material suppliers, distributors/dealerships and logistics providers before the OEM markets the final product to its customers.

Looking at the image, we can say that Tier 3 suppliers who provide raw materials are the foundation of this supply chain. Tier 2 suppliers build products using raw materials supplied from Tier 3 and deliver it to Tier 1 suppliers who then further build products to provide it to top companies.

Not all supply chains look similar, they may be more complex or much simpler. However, in this entire interdependent chain, there are multiple processes from procurement planning to quality adherence checks that have to be met.

Whether it is the pandemic or a ship stuck in the Suez Canal, disruptions may vary and affect any stakeholder in the supply chain. And, disruption can be measured by understanding the probability and severity of its occurrence.

Some Common Supply Chain Disruptions

Natural Disasters

From earthquakes to forest fires and hurricanes, natural disasters severely impact local and global supply chains.

Pandemics

We’ve seen it impacting the global supply chains, from shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to factory lockdowns.

Transportation Failures and Delays

Today, companies source raw materials from various parts of the world by land, sea, or air. When international suppliers are part of a supply chain, there may be delay or congestion in international and domestic transport networks.

Price Fluctuations

Sudden price changes can create disruptions. You may have to switch suppliers or raise your prices. Example: price of crude oil is volatile and can have a huge impact on manufacturing and transportation.

Product Problems

Quality of products can assure customer satisfaction. As multiple stakeholders are part of today’s global supply chains, it is imperative to adhere to quality standards. A small fault or problem may lead to huge delays in delivery of goods. Additionally, having prompt communication to convey new timelines/expectations is absolutely necessary.

Cyber-Attacks

With everything going digital, having the right software and hardware infrastructure and utilising the power of emerging technologies can protect processes.

How to Overcome Supply Chain Disruptions to Compete in the New Normal

To reimagine performance and gain control over supply chain management, organisations will have to embrace emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and others.

Adopting new technologies will not only help enterprises navigate the financial and operational challenges brought about by the pandemic but will also help them leapfrog to industry 4.0 (smart factory). Industry 4.0 involves the automation and rapid data exchange via cyber-physical systems such as IoT (Internet of things), cloud computing, AI and others.

A way that Accenture recommends to respond to disruption is by creating a continuous cycle of risk mobilizing, sensing, analysis, configuration, and operation will help to optimize results and mitigate risks. Backing these processes with new technologies will help supply chain leaders to turn supply chain disruptions into meaningful change.

Overcome Supply Chain Disruptions

The Way Forward: Future-Proof Your Supply Chains

The pandemic will leave long-lasting implications and will fundamentally change how supply chains function. A critical point to consider is to bolster your organisation’s supply chains to be able to communicate and tackle any type of crisis.

Supply chain volatility is a natural occurrence and by planning, diversifying suppliers and building responsive supply chains, one can face the inevitable.

However, the most essential point is to have a plan to face unprecedented challenges and if you don’t have one, you’re not alone. We at Monitor Pro have been helping many organisations to navigate through these difficult times while also preparing for the future.

Some of the aspects that we help companies with are:

  • Assessing supply chain risks areas
  • Guiding continuity planning
  • Providing visibility into all areas of the supply chain
  • Enhancing collaboration between stakeholders
  • Integrating or updating supply chains, making it more risk resilient
  • Monitoring and reporting on supply chain activities
  • Planning disruption-recovery tactics

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your supply chain and how to better it, please book an exclusive meeting with our experts here.