The pandemic caused by the new strain of the coronavirus has struck various
industries, affecting them in different ways. A major facet in all industries that was
certainly hit hard is the supply chain. Hence, businesses all across the world are
experiencing difficulties with their operations, especially with fulfilling customer orders.
A supply chain is a network of people, organizations, and activities that move a product from a supplier to a final customer. This pandemic is what we would call a disruption. A disruption of this magnitude is difficult to deal with because you cannot exactly predict when it will pass or when it will occur.
If your business is still operating and is currently feeling the impact of the COVID-19
outbreak, then you must be thinking of strategies on how to keep your supply chain
flowing smoothly. You might find this article helpful, as it will provide advice on
protecting your supply chain amidst the pandemic.
Communicate with your customers
As aforementioned, your ability to fulfill customer orders will be negatively affected by
this global disruption in the supply chain. Being transparent with your customers is
essential to get through these times. If you inform them upfront that you are
experiencing trouble, then they’ll most likely understand.
If you are low on stock, modifying your shipping on US freight forwarder to Singapore, or limiting your purchase amounts, then a commercial real estate consulting firm may advise that you share that information on your website or send them to your customers through email.
Evaluate the critical components of your supply chain
Determine which products are necessary for you to continue operating going forward
and the origin of their supply. Prioritize looking for alternative suppliers for critical parts and products. This should not only encompass your supply chain but every aspect of your business as well. When your business is disrupted, it is important to take a step back and clarify what is most important to optimize for. Keep in mind that you are facing a crisis, which means you will most likely have to make tough trade-offs.
Estimate available inventory
During this crisis, it’s particularly important to have a good account of your available
inventory. You may want to do a physical inventory and audit of the finished products
available and the components and spare parts that can keep production running.
Assess buyer behaviors
Supply chain disruptions such as this pandemic are also compounded by changes in
demand. This crisis has definitely changed the purchasing behavior of consumers.
Thus, it’s essential to keep track of which of your products are being affected by the
consumer’s change in buying behavior, so you can do the necessary steps such as
pivoting your products to match the current demand.
Optimize distribution and production for safety
The safety of your employees and your fulfillment partners are of utmost importance
amidst this pandemic. Optimize your production and distribution strategies to ensure
that your products are being made and delivered in a safe manner to protect everyone
Stay up to date from trusted sources to know the latest developments regarding the
situation. In addition, practice caution. If you can continue to operate with your
employees working from home, then do that. If you have a team that is still travelling to work, make sure you are taking appropriate measures to keep them safe.
Identify flexibilities in logistics
Pinpoint areas where you can afford to slow down and accept slower delivery and
alternative modes of transportation. This is where communicating with your suppliers
comes into play. Make sure that your supply chain relationships are strong and that you
are appreciative of the effort that your suppliers are putting in so you can still work as
efficiently as possible.
Evaluate the impact on cash flow
Disruptions such as a pandemic can have an impact on your bottom line. Run stress
tests to see where the possible financial impact caused by the disruptions in your supply chain are so you can plan accordingly. Make adjustments to your overhead as the situation requires.
In order to protect your supply chain amidst the pandemic you have to communicate
with your customers and partners accordingly, assess changes and the impact of the
crisis on how it affects your operations, identify flexible aspects in logistics, and practice safety. Managing your supply chain at this time is not easy, but stay optimistic and focus on the task at hand and you will get through.
Princellaine Alibangbang is a freelance digital marketer aiming to help businesses promote their brands.