The COVID-19 outbreak has been a tragedy for humanity. Amongst its many impacts is the global economy and the global supply chain. The impact of the pandemic will extend to companies’ supply chain operations and their ability to service their customers for years to come.
A recent ISM Survey looked at the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains, and the results show just how far-reaching the pandemic has been, even in just the first couple of months: “Perhaps the most telling takeaway of the ISM survey was in looking back to the first survey, which found that more than 80% of respondents indicated their companies would see some type of COVID-19-related disruptions. But, by the end of March, when the second ISM member survey was conducted, that tally jumped to 95%.”
In just a matter of weeks, nearly every phase of the supply chain as we knew it was impacted. Some companies were able to adapt quickly, as we’ve seen with distilleries around the world pivoting from making spirits to hand sanitizers in a matter of days. Their ability to switch not only provided a need for a market struggling to meet customer demand; it also provided much-needed product to first responders. Additionally, because of ecommerce, the switch allowed them to distribute their products via partnerships with local stores or directly to the customer via curbside pickup.
The big questions that remain are: how can companies quickly react to these changes, and how can they prepare for disruptions in the future?
Companies need to take this opportunity to see where inefficiencies and challenges exist in their supply chains. Some key factors to consider include:
Now more than ever, it’s clear that paper processes won’t cut it. Inventory information has to be digitized and readily available at anytime from anywhere.
The demand for transparency and efficiency has never been greater. For example, if a business can more quickly provide the correct tools to workers in the field, they can maintain high productivity even when there are fewer workers available to work.
Once organizations have better access to important data, the next step is to ensure it’s secure. It’s not enough to just track of a lot of data–you’ve got to keep it private. Blockchain will continue to gain speed in a post-COVID-19 world. Leveraging secure solutions to track data will be key to achieving compliance.
Automation and the collection of data at the point of execution is key to reacting to changes. Supply chain information needs to be as real-time and accurate as possible, plus captured where is work occurs—regardless of whether it’s inside or outside of the warehouse walls.
Having real-time information on inbound materials, manufacturing, distribution and production not only empowers field employees to get the job done faster; it empowers the back office to make key business decisions that will optimize the movement of inventory and productivity.
Organizations with last-mile locations, forward stocking locations or localized spots to store and track inventory are better able to react to changes with complete visibility of their supply chain.
Once organizations are equipped with the solutions that enable real-time visibility and better fulfillment processes, the entire supply chain will be more efficient and thus more profitable.
The cost of doing nothing is greater than the cost of updating your organization with efficient new technologies. For companies looking to survive and thrive in future supply chain disruptions, the need to digitize their supply chain has never been greater.
Looking to prep your supply chain for the unexpected? Discover how DSI Cloud Inventory® empowers organizations with reliable, adaptable solutions to boost productivity, achieve compliance, optimize inventory and increase revenue generation.