We’ve all heard the saying that time is money, but in the logistics industry, we all know time is everything. When shipments don’t arrive on time, it’s a big deal. That’s why shortages are every supply chain manager’s worst nightmare. They always seem to pop up despite the best planning. After all, look at what happened during the pandemic, especially with the auto industry.
To steer clear of those nightmares, it’s super important to have contingency plans for unexpected shortages, pandemic or no. Keep reading for tactics that can protect your organization’s supply chain when supply shipments simply stop flowing.
Lean on (Good) Tech
The first step to an optimized supply chain is data. Organizations need a digital network that connects all the dots, from the first mile to the last. To do that, it’s important to invest in state-of-the-art inventory and PO management systems that can link up suppliers, production facilities, warehouses, and sales organizations.
To help with this, TOC partnered with Mercado to create the industry’s first Import Order Management System (iOMS). The iOMS provides full transparency across an organizations’ supply chain, from the first mile to the last. That means supply chain managers can take the necessary steps along with their 3PL (in this case, us) to find alternate sources, reroute shipments, or get communication where it needs to go. The sooner a supply chain can see what’s on the horizon, the better.
Diversify Your Partnerships
It goes without saying that environmental, social, and political (ESP) conditions can be unpredictable. Instead of relying solely on cost-focused algorithms, it’s essential to be prepared for the worst. For instance, the ongoing political and economic issues between China and the United States have led many manufacturers to work with multiple suppliers—even if it means slightly higher costs—to avoid supply-chain disruptions. Plus, diversifying a supply chain can help make it more competitive and even produce cost savings.
Sure, it can take a while to vet suppliers. That’s why working with a trusted partner like TOC can help in the long run. Our industry relationships mean we may be able to help our customers determine which suppliers they should take a look at more seriously for their supply chain.
Integrate Measures to Mitigate Risks
With great reward comes great risk, so it’s essential to identify potential disruptions that could affect product quality, pricing, and availability. Risk matrixes can help assess the likelihood of disruptions and monitor or avoid hazards. By doing so, you’ll be better prepared to handle any issues that come up and keep your supply chain running smoothly.
Locate Areas with Potential
Is your supply chain prepared for disruptions? Does your organization have a backup plan if products can’t move?
It’s vital to consider the cost of lost customers that may come from shortages. With great reward comes great risk, so it’s essential to identify potential disruptions that could affect product quality, pricing, and availability that could all result in losing a customer. We help our customers identify potential areas for optimization within their supply chain, like analyzing inventory-to-cash timelines, risk mitigation strategies, and more. The more robust a strategy is, the more likely it’ll be able to roll with the punches that come with supplier shortages and bottlenecks.
There are plenty of solutions to help streamline supply chains, but none of them are a one-size-fits-all solution. Not sure where to start? Reach out to our team. We’ll provide expert guidance and advice to help your organization overcome any supply chain shortages you may be facing.