The supply chain is a meticulous and fragile structure. A disruption at any spot can derail the entire operation. Even one hiccup in the flow of raw materials, components, or personnel in a service industry can catastrophically cripple a company.
Considering that grim scenario, it is critical to evaluate your business plans and operations to find the potential weak spots. In the event of a disaster, what pieces will be affected first? Ask yourself what changes may need to occur for operations to continue under these restrictions or other scenarios.
Overseas vendors may be one root cause of disruption. If this supplier shuts down or is unable to transport products, you may run out of inventory. Having a surplus on hand could be a good buffer. When it comes to manufacturing a product, missing a part can be devastating. But what happens when the material you counted on is no longer readily available? With strict deadlines to meet, you must have a plan B for vendors and materials.
Here are some action items to help avoid disruption:
- Buy ahead to avoid being short on raw materials. There are both pros and cons to maintaining materials on your shelves. Your business model must weigh those risks and decide on the best course of action. If keeping a stock of materials on hand is not possible, update clients about potential delays while brainstorming other solutions.
- Adopt a platform that shows real-time production information as it relates to your vendors. If you can predict the demand and production time for each product, it will be easier to move to a more resilient supply chain style.
- Learn how restrictions will affect your business model and your employees’ abilities to do their jobs successfully.
- Examine how you need to adapt your business processes to meet your goals and help your employees.
- Take time to think about the fallout if your employees must follow future stay-at-home orders or spend time in quarantine. Consider out-of-the-box ideas to ensure continued operations even in a crisis.
The potential for supply chain disruption can feel overwhelming, but it all comes down to risk– where does the threat come from, and how much is acceptable? It may be beneficial to have a third party help your firm assess and plan for potential disruption and adjust accordingly.