As the 2020 coronavirus pandemic so starkly illustrated, global supply chains can be severely disrupted by events beyond anyone’s control. Whether you need rare earths from China or Bel Fuse electronic circuits products from the Middle East, your supply network must be robust and resilient enough to pivot with the circumstances.
While no strategy will guarantee that interruptions will never happen, keeping some tips in mind can be beneficial in minimizing the shock.
Plan for Ongoing Fluidity
Change is inevitable, and nowhere is that truer than in supply chain logistics. The more that you can do to be flexible, the more resilient your network will be. In other words, don’t wait for conditions to quiet down or return to some semblance of normalcy; this may never happen. Instead, strive for as much transparency and diversification as you can given the constraints of the global situation and the electronics sector.
Your first priority in gaining the ability to be nimble is to understand your entire network, including the risks and benefits that each link in the chain brings. If you have not already undergone a complete supply chain mapping process, don’t delay. You cannot afford to be unaware of the jeopardies your vendors might be exposing you to.
With that data in hand, you will be in a much better position to plan ahead. When possible, find backup or secondary vendors for your most vital components. If some are single-source, consider stockpiling the most essential to ward off delays should a crisis arise that shuts down your supply routes.
Make On-Time Payment of Suppliers a High Priority
Now that you know who even your smallest subcontractors are, you may be more able to see that many of them are operating on a very thin profit margin. Any delay in payments from you might even be the catalyst that throws them over the edge into bankruptcy. When financial resources flow smoothly from your side, goods flow with better speed and efficiency from all suppliers.
Bolster Your Administrative Infrastructure
A top-tier administrative staff and a set of updated procedures will advance the overall success of your company’s supply chain. When staff understand how to effectively use monitoring and administrative systems, they can adjust to alterations in the shipping landscape and overcome security breaches, bottlenecks and other crises far more effectively.
On the other hand, a knowledge deficit or lack of critical personnel can hold your organization back while your competitors advance. Never underestimate the importance of human resources and the tools they use to improve your network’s efficiency.
As soon as one set of negative circumstances is resolved or recedes into the background, another will arise that is sure to affect your supply chain. Forethought and a focus on communications, transparency and flexibility can help you to maintain as much productivity, efficiency and excellent customer service as possible even in the most unpredictable and difficult of times.