One doesn’t need to look far to see that the COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way business is done. One of the silver linings, however, is that we have collectively learned several lessons along the way.
Here are three things we’ve learned so far about supply chain management:
Deliveries never stop.
While there has been a global economic slowdown, some industries, such as medical supplies, have increased shipping and deliveries significantly. Additionally, consumer side demand has increased due to people being unable to go to retail outlets in person. As a result, consumers are taking advantage of delivery services to stock up on groceries and other essential items, such as paper products.
So while some industries have ground to a halt, items are still being shipped all around the globe.
Supply chains are vulnerable. That needs to change.
Governments are struggling to devise policies to keep their populations safe from COVID-19, while allowing trade to continue, and that’s effecting global supply chains. The World Economic Forum reports that, “Over 50 countries were restricting the export of certain medical supplies by mid-March, and travel barriers are in place worldwide – in many cases even blocking movement between sub-national regions.”
Their conclusion is that in times when the movement of goods, such as medical supplies, is critical, there needs to be greater visibility into supply chain data. With more visibility and cooperation between countries, supply chains will become less vulnerable to regional or global disruptions.
Operational efficiency is more important than ever.
Staffing has become a major issue due to quarantines, stay at home orders and illness, leaving many companies are trying to survive with fewer employees. Yet in some cases their workload has increased. So how can a company overcome that?
Engineer and industry legend W. Edwards Deming said, “Eighty-five percent of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee.” With fewer employees available it has become incumbent upon businesses to figure out how to eliminate inefficiencies so that items can be delivered even while operating—in some cases—with a skeleton crew.
The answer has been to optimize logistics operation using software. By moving beyond paper files or free software, order management, scheduling and routing can be enhanced to save both time and money. During times of uncertainty, any improvement in operation and cost savings is sure to pay dividends.
Call us if your business needs help improving efficiency.