With rising inflation and overall economic uncertainty, we’re witnessing a considerable (and hopefully temporary) cooldown in supply chain demand across the global markets we serve. Although we don’t feel we’re in for a crash landing, we should prepare to navigate these barriers with an eye toward long-term success.
Agility and adaptability are essential to remaining competitive.
We’ve put together some agility hacks to help guide you toward a smarter and leaner approach to your supply chain operation:
Create your “SOF”
Akin to a military special operations force (SOF), creating a trusted and capable team to ensure your supply chain can withstand disruptions is mission critical. A cross-section of sourcing, distribution (shipping/warehousing), finance, and sales experts who constantly communicate and support each other will keep your business on track for success. Creating a trusted customer-vendor team can bypass obstacles and get things done.
Build a resilient supply chain
This states the obvious; however, being able to sense and anticipate changes and withstand disruptions is essential. Forecast monitoring is the biggest driver to supply chain resilience.
Diversifying suppliers, investing in redundancy such as data storage systems to protect against data loss or cross-trained employees, and creating a risk management plan are important components to lay the framework for a resilient and profitable supply chain.
Clear visibility into your supply chain can help you identify potential risks and proactively mitigate them. This can be achieved by implementing tried and true tactics like supply chain monitoring and analytics tools. Perhaps more profoundly, transparency is the practice of openly sharing information and communication with all stakeholders, such as customers, employees, investors, and even the consumer.
Establishing clear metrics aligns all your supply chain partners and raises accountability for their performance.
Strengthened by openness and collaboration, each link of your supply chain benefits from transparency.
Utilize technology with a human touch
We live in a technically advanced world where the physical and digital ecosystems are blurred. We have seen the role of digital play out in unexpected ways — quiet tech, sensory tech, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, holograms, intelligent personalization, light, sound, projection, screens, touchscreens, or dynamic environments. It’s no question that technology can help streamline and automate supply chain processes, making them more efficient and responsive. Consider using AI, IoT, and blockchain to increase visibility, reduce lead times, and improve forecasting accuracy, balanced with direct conversations. The human element can help provide perspective and rationale that technology cannot.
By utilizing technologies appropriate for your supply chain, we can add value to the experiences we create – transforming all dimensions of the human experience.
Strong partnerships with suppliers and logistics providers can help you respond quickly to disruptions. Develop relationships with key suppliers, build a network of backup suppliers, and collaborate with logistics providers to improve agility.
Have dedicated check-ins with your partners that focus on your big picture. During these check-ins, you may want to discuss:
- Evaluation of procurement strategies
- Current carrier relationships and shifting transportation modes
- Adjusting inventory levels
- Market conditions that may impact current and future planning
- Foster a culture of agility: Finally, the human experience is the core tenet of everything we do and will foster a culture of agility. Encourage open communication, embrace experimentation and learning, and empower supply chain players to make decisions quickly and autonomously.
Not only does this increase agility, but it also creates meaningful connections.
The future belongs to those who can attain agility in our uncertain global supply chain environment.
What’s important to remember is that we are in this together. The TradeTrans team looks forward to continuing to partner with our supply chain community for the long term, and we will be here to help you navigate what is ahead.