Building Supply Chain Resilience
The focus on risk management in logistics has taken a significant shift in recent years, for obvious reasons. Central to risk management strategies is the goal of safeguarding supply chains to ensure continuity in the face of unexpected challenges.
These challenges can obviously come in different forms, as we know it could be a global pandemic but also more frequent risks such as natural disasters or supply shortages. Whatever the challenge, building supply chain resilience will help your business have the advantage in troublesome situations.
What is Supply Chain Resilience?
Supply Chain Resilience should form part of your wider business management strategy, showing how well your supply chain operations can predict and withstand unexpected changes in weather, supply and global events.
Supply Chain Resilience is different depending on the industry, however any business that could not withstand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could well be said to have had low supply chain resilience. There are many factors that play into this from the relationships with your suppliers to the amount of stock you hold.
So how can we build a more sustainable and resilient supply chain?
1. Identify Vulnerabilities
We can identify the weak points in our supply chain by carrying out a risk assessment to understand where those vulnerabilities may be. Things that may make you vulnerable could be relying on one supplier, lack of storage, low stock levels and skeleton staff.
2. Enhance Supplier Relationships
Resilience is highly dependent on your relationships with your supplier. Keeping communications open and knowing the capabilities and capacities of your suppliers will help you to be flexible in your approach and make appropriate change.
3. Stock Supply
Keeping on top of inventories and monitoring sales fluctuations will give you a greater understanding of which stock you need to hold more of and which you can keep at a lower level. Is there a product which is your bread and butter? Then consider holding much more than you ‘need’ in order to allow for outside risk.
4. Near over Offshore
Instead of using offshore production or supply, perhaps consider relocating these processes closer to home. This would be a significant vulnerability should problems arise at ports with delays or restrictions.
5. Diversify Your Network
Diversification will help to mitigate risk from disruption, so as well as production you should consider having additional suppliers whether it be products or warehousing to ensure you have the products but also the space to house them in times of shortage.
Of course, these methods come with a cost, but the cost of loss will be much more significant should these strategies not be implemented. We must consider efficiency and resilience when planning for longevity within the supply chain.