How to Navigate Inevitable Supply Chain Challenges in 2022 and Beyond
As the global pandemic unfolded, so did a global supply chain crisis. In recent years, the world has watched supply chains that were once status quo fail completely. Even as society begins to creep back towards a greater sense of “normalcy,” it is clear that time, understanding, and patience are not going to lead to the answers we need to solve continued supply chain challenges. These challenges require action by the industries and businesses that rely on them.
Supply Chain Management Today
Supply chain management is how businesses are able to implement and maintain efficient, reliable, and cost-effective supply chains. The process takes all parts of a supply chain into consideration including product planning, sourcing, manufacturing, and delivery as well as other variables that may impact any stage of a supply chain.
Modern Supply Chain Problems
COVID-19 accelerated many global supply chain issues that had slowly been surfacing over the last decade. We’ve seen warehouses near metropolitan areas get filled to capacity, e-commerce retailers unable to ship individuals the items they ordered on time, and ships sit idle for days as they await their turn to unload containers at major ports. While organizations did their best to pivot and solve these problems, some of these challenges continue to linger even with much of the pandemic behind us.
Planning for Modern Strategic Supply Chains
Businesses have been forced to change the way they discuss and plan supply chains due to the many vulnerabilities that have surfaced in recent years. Here are some strategic ways businesses across every industry can position themselves to manage modern supply chains and remain both productive and cost-efficient amidst these challenges.
1. Hire independent supply chain consultants.
One component of the supply chain crisis is related to the labor workforce. Every industry has been experiencing the impacts of the “Great Resignation” including talent shortages. Today, elite talent is opting out of traditional roles and moving into positions that allow for more autonomy and flexibility.
Business leaders can manage the talent gaps that impact supply chain processes more effectively than ever before with the support of highly-skilled and independent talent. These individuals have the precise expertise and experience that strategic supply chain problems require. Their knowledge helps position businesses to work through these challenges in a sustainable and efficient way.
2. Apply an agile and dynamic strategy.
Traditional and linear supply chain processes aren’t as effective as they once were — today, an agile and dynamic approach is required to manage supply chains across all industries. By applying this type of supply chain strategy, businesses will be able to iterate when faced with unpredictable changes in product demand, talent, and other resources. An agile supply chain strategy is one that can easily and quickly evolve as needed to avoid the negative — and sometimes catastrophic — impacts of a stagnant supply chain that so many businesses and industries experienced in recent years.
3. Invest in the right technology.
Too many traditional supply chains rely on systems that are expensive, inflexible, and lack transparency. To combat this issue, businesses should invest in technology that enables agility, leverages real-time data, and automates intricate processes. That’s why 40% of supply chain industry professionals are already using integrated cloud computing and storage technologies in their company operations. Supply chain leaders can lean on technology to make smarter business decisions, forecast demand, and position their businesses in a way that prepares them for any unexpected change.
4. Leverage data.
With supply chain data and analytics, businesses can predict future demand, customer behaviors, and manage talent gaps. Data can also tell supply chain teams which products are becoming more or less profitable and what customer behaviors they can expect after their orders are placed. Additionally, Big Data can be leveraged to help supply chain leaders use structured and unstructured data to identify supply chain trends and predict demand and customer behavior.