Is your global Supply chain under pressure?

Is your supply chain under pressure due to dramatically reduced demand or in some other cases rapidly expanding demand – think face masks?

The current situation with being confined to our homes is having a profound effect on us especially on how we manage the future of a global supply chain

A global supply chain network is an expected business operational requirement if an organisation is to meet its customer service expectations and revenue targets.

However, what we have witnessed over the past few weeks is the vulnerability of that global supply chain.

Livelihoods of business, communities and people have and continue to be put under pressure, both from a health and economic perspective.

Until recently, organisations focused on growth expected their senior leadership teams, systems and processes to maximise business opportunities. As a result global supply chain networks were not only expected to keep up with demand but stay at least one to two steps ahead therefore able to meet forecast increase in demand for the goods and services they provided.

Today some of those same organisations are having to deal with a partial if not complete shut-down in the manufacture and supply of their goods and services. Such a significant slow-down will further impact that organisation’s ability to get back onto its feet once we reach the other side of this health pandemic.

In other cases some smaller manufacturing businesses had to more than double their output to meet demand- think face masks. These smaller businesses most likely do not have the immediately required organisational structure, systems and processes to ramp up to these new higher production quotas, demand and expected of them literally overnight.  Again that organisation’s supply chain has been put under a different type pressure. 

In such an instance those organisations are having to operate under the backdrop of people (staff) in “lockdowns”, “social isolation” and therefore are required to manage their workforce in a new way that allows for production to still ramp up accordingly – no easy feat.

Easy to see how these sudden arrangements may have destabilised an organisation’s supply chain network.

Facing and dealing with the challenge

Past economic crises may have provided some organisations with the insight and way of future-proofing them due to such challenges. However, the speed and sudden impact of how we are now forced to live our lives is catching every industry by surprise.

It’s not just SMEs who are dealing with these types of challenges. Larger arguably more sophisticated organisations with a more complex and integrated supply chain system have reportedly faced challenges in being able to share vital data, because it simply cannot be accessed, with their global teams that enables them to make decisions around forecast and planning.  Directly impacting customer service capability and that organisation’s reputation.

It is clear organisations have been caught off-guard across various industries and now need to formulate and put in place systematised plans for unexpected disasters- natural disasters, health crisis, demand shocks, Information and Communication technology (ICT) conflicts to reduce the operational and financial risk to the business- its livelihood

First steps include, identifying the solution(s) the organisation needs now to resolve the current set of problems it faces.

Business continuity and employee’s health and safety are likely to be the two immediate.  problems that need to be resolved.

However, these are not straight forward priorities to address as usual business operations have been paralysed or at least altered. Lockdowns in some countries to stop the spread of the virus have caused business operations to slow down drastically or cease altogether. Or as mentioned, in other instances business operations have had to ramp up to over double capacity and capability overnight. So as a supply chain manager your ability to gauge the actions required to be applied to the organisation could be the difference between the business surviving or not.

Resilience through an integrated digitisation strategy

Resilience is vital in a time of crisis. The health pandemic has had a severe detrimental economic and financial effect on a global scale.

Although government and industries have put together and released numerous economic life-support packages to help business survive it’s obvious not all will.

The resilience of an organisation’s supply chain must incorporate its ability to maintain economic and financial stability or at least minimise the economic and financial destabilisation caused by such a health crisis.

Since the early 2000s we have heard the strategic and operational term – digitisation.

What has been exposed is an organisation’s ability to implement a digitisation strategy and program that incorporates its people, the products and services it provides through the processes, systems and therefore its entire eco-system has not been as integrated as it perhaps should be.

Improved performance through real-time information to enable better decision making at an individual level, customer service, better stock profiling and manufacturing plans can all gain from a flexible operational backbone provided by and through an integrated digitisation solution. Customer expectations are likely to be even more heightened to this and therefore expect what they want / need, to be “there”, where and when they want it – think home food delivery or real time meetings via Zoom / Skype

The solution for these times and beyond

Using cloud technology is a key to minimise economic conflicts caused by crises. NetSuite’s supply chain management software allows you to easily manage your supply chain across multiple continents in a single application. Its features include analysing demand, review sales, forecasts, balance with current supply and formulating your plan out of the data. Plans are also implemented with ease (create purchases, transfer and work orders effectively). Standard communication and portal technologies for comprehensive collaboration are guaranteed advantages of this software. Support functions are also automated (case management, issue tracking, warranty registration, and repair).

NetSuite in Helping Supply Chains in Times of Crisis

Benefits in using NetSuite’s supply chain management software include real-time visibility through supply chain status with user definable alerts. Service levels are defined by using order management which decreases lead times and optimises delivery plans. Supply chain costs are also decreased by identifying and acting on cost variances quickly.

Supply chains are facing an intense financial problem. It is critical to be wise to keep the organisations’ functionality. Using cloud technology such as NetSuite software keeps the integrations of their parts intact and business aspects perform in a single platform. It helps the supply chains survive from imminent deglobalisation this pandemic delivers.

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