Our Top Seven 2021 Supply Chain Resolutions
Published on 6 January 2021
Here are seven great starting points for organizations that are putting together their lists of top supply chain resolutions for the year ahead.
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It’s that time of the year again. As the clock winds down on what turned out to be a very turbulent, disruptive year, organizations are setting their sights on the year ahead and thinking about what they can do differently in 2021.
- Prepare now for potential disruptions. In 2020, the main cause of the many supply chain disruptions and interruptions was the pandemic. And while preventing future events is impossible, JOC says that an earthquake rendering all of the Californian port infrastructure unworkable for months, a cyberattack preventing operations in a raft of the world’s major ports, or an outbreak of hostilities in the South China Sea (effectively blocking access through the region including the Straits of Singapore), could have a significant impact on the world’s supply chains. Put simply, the COVID-19 pandemic was not the end-all of all supply chain disruptions, so prepare now for others that could be coming down the pike.
- Focus on good supply chain visibility. COVID-19 is already influencing the supply chain of tomorrow. Many companies are moving the production of goods closer to customers, for example. Others are placing a bigger emphasis on good supply chain visibility supported by advanced technology platforms. According to HERE, 80% of companies still lack basic visibility in their supply chain. This is something that needs to change for 2021 (and beyond). “This disruption has highlighted a lot of legacy issues across the supply chain. Quick fixes have been applied in the past, but when confronted with new ground rules, those old systems are no longer able to anticipate disruptive events like the ones we deal with every day now.”
- Be open to change, but keep lessons learned in mind. If your company is still managing its supply chain the “old way,” it’s time to find new ways to update, improve, and enhance this aspect of its operations. Even small changes in this area can have major impacts on how you serve your customers, work with business partners, and support your employees. As with all New Year’s resolutions, this one is all about using past experiences to create more positive outcomes in the future.
- Reduce the complexity of your supply chain. If there’s one thing everyone learned in 2020, it’s that by simplifying and gaining better visibility over your supply chain, you can effectively avoid (or at least mitigate) product shortages and other obstacles that emerged during the early stages of the pandemic. Consider the number of suppliers you work with, the complexity of your processes, and other bottlenecks that could be interfering with the smooth running of your supply chain. Reduce disruptions by consolidating your supplier base, improving your supplier qualification process, and taking other steps to drive the complexities out of your supply chain in 2021.
- Consider onshoring or reshoring your operations. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 83% of companies are diversifying production in order to meet new customer demands (up from 28% prior to the COVID crisis). As part of these efforts, organizations are adapting their operations quickly to respond to the impacts. One such adaptation involves repositioning manufacturing operations closer to home. “Supply chain resilience strategies that localize critical industries and their component supply chains could not only alleviate the weaknesses uncovered during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brookings Institute points out, “but also increase employment growth across historically well-paying industries and provide economic development opportunities for U.S. regions with the economic fundamentals conducive to advanced manufacturing.”
- Hone your inventory management process. For manufacturers and distributors, inventory is literally the lifeblood of their enterprises. Stock too much of it and your bottom line begins to suffer; find yourself in a stock-out situation and your customers will go elsewhere to get what they need. Achieving the perfect balance between these two extremes has also been challenging, but it’s even more onerous than ever in today’s disruptive business environment. “In the midst of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to have an inventory management system in place to help navigate your business through this pandemic,” advisory service Citrin Cooperman says, noting that ongoing physical inventory management, identification of slow-moving inventory, and an assessment of your customer base (and its current needs) are all good steps to be taking right now.
- Use WMS to create a touchless fulfillment environment. In the logistics world, operations managers were already well aware of the value of minimal touches within their own four walls, where the fewer times a box or item is touched (i.e., moved, lifted, stacked, sorted) the better the operation’s overall efficiency levels. Add the need for social distancing in the workplace and an overall heightened awareness of employee health to the equation, and the argument in favor of a more “touch-free” fulfillment environment is clear. Improving warehouse efficiency in today’s fast-paced operational environment requires advanced technology. Software continues to play a key role in every company’s mission of working smarter, better, and faster, with warehouse management systems (WMS) leading the charge in helping companies improve efficiencies while adhering to new workplace regulations.
Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. From Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and more, software platforms can deliver a wide range of benefits that ultimately flow to the warehouse operator’s bottom line. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.