COVID-19 has caused widespread interference and stoppages on supply chains throughout the world. However, as business reopens it is important to look to the future and plan for a post-pandemic plan of action. Below we will discuss 5 important steps your company should take to restart your supply chain after COVID-19.
Start Planning Now
Get ahead of the changes and reevaluate your companies’ position. Conduct a thorough inventory check and ensure that no orders are being missed in a time where every order counts. Having complete awareness of your inventory will ensure you are prepared for an unstable market and help you cut costs when necessary.
The costs of shipping are changing rapidly. Understanding the time and monetary investments within each aspect of your supply chain is critical in being able to adapt. In addition, research alternative sourcing strategies. Being able to react to increased vendor prices and planning alternative shipping strategies will help your company stay in the black.
Define Current and New Roles
Handling major supply chain interruptions requires specific skill sets. Examine your staffs’ current roles and determine if training or new positions are required. Understand the weak points in the operation of your staff and compensate for them.
For example, now more than ever, customer and vendor relations are paramount. If this is an area in which your company is lacking experience, then develop a training plan or hire a leader in this field. Adding support staff can also alleviate your staff and increase morale and productivity.
Some companies will need to reduce staff, or they will need to cut costs. In these cases, it will be more important than ever to optimize business and transportation operations. Adopting new technology and software to better optimize their supply chain operations can help them cut costs while increasing output. Investing in route optimization, scheduling software, or other solutions can even develop new roles for their company and give them an edge over their competitors.
Communicate and Engage
The industry is adjusting to a time of uncertainty. Understanding others are just as cautious as you will reaffirm vendor partnerships and maintain customer confidence. As famous playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Communicating with your vendors will allow them to adjust to your changing needs and promote efficient partnerships.
Supply chain visibility must be a priority for your company. Customers are going to need assurances and real-time feedback to remain confident in their purchases. When conversations are had and priorities are clearly defined, only then can a partnership progress to a mutual success.
Safety is now a dynamic goal. It is vital to redefine safety procedures and ensure personnel are not at risk and are confident in their environments. Be sure to research and commit to recommended safety standards, such as adhering to social distancing, physical barriers, and sanitizing mandates. Most importantly, listen to your staff and then act to promote a safe and proactive work environment.
Additionally, understand customers and even vendors are prioritizing safety. Risk is perception, and never assume what your customer or vendor is perceiving. Communicate with your customers and vendors so that you can properly plan for a safe working relationship.
Demand in the post-pandemic future may be a fragile and unstable trend. Be cautious when adjusting to demand and be prepared for alternative outcomes. For example, when demand increases, increase capacity and output wisely and be sure to not over-commit. Demand may come back with immediate resurgence or it may grow steadily over time. Invest wisely and be prepared for either outcome.
Ensuring your supply chain is prepared for the post-pandemic market is of utmost importance. Getting ahead of the changes will provide your company the best chance of success. Follow these guidelines and begin preparations now.