To Temper the Impact of COVID-19, Your Supply Chain Systems Must Become Solutions
The more our world, business and operations expand, the broader our supply chains become. While larger, more globalised supply chains can lower costs and heighten efficiency, if you don’t have a handle on their associated risks, these benefits become negligible. When you haven’t identified and carefully planned for these risks, you leave your business vulnerable to significant loss. Today, with COVID-19 radically destabilising supply chains on a global scale, this had been made uncomfortably clear.
Organisations throughout the globe have waxed lyrical about the importance of staying connected to colleagues, clients and loved ones digitally throughout this new normal. But in an age of increasingly decentralised and digital supply chains, what should this connection look like? And how can we ensure that our risk management strategies are airtight for the remainder of this pandemic, and indeed future events of this scale?
In their recent report 2020 Disrupted, London-based strategic consulting organisation The Hackett Group outline the importance of safeguarding your supply chain amidst this unique environment. Though it may be difficult to plan for all scenarios that might arise mid-pandemic, the report stresses that companies must aim to counter demand shock by identifying and analysing “an array of scenarios” and to use that analysis “to plan and prioritize their response.” Much of this analysis, of course, involves understanding your most likely supply and demand scenarios so you can continue to plan for projected shortages.
When organisations already have automated systems in place that allow them to swiftly analyse, identify and tackle any risks associated with their supply chains, reaching this understanding becomes relatively easy. Yet simply relying on these systems to see us through COVID-19 is not enough. To truly develop and maintain a sense of security and risk management for the short-term and long-term, these systems should be solutions, that temper risk in the short and long term. They must facilitate remote collaboration between external and internal stakeholders, allow for easy integration with existing, relevant systems, and provide you with an in-depth look into all tiers of your supply chain, in real time – so you can act quickly if need be.
In the age of the pandemic, an effective supply chain solution should incorporate the following:
- A secure, cloud-based environment.
- The ability to support an increase in online, remote communication for internal and external stakeholders.
- A centralised contracts repository allowing for greater visibility of contractual documents and deadlines.
- Auto-alerts informing you of supplier insolvencies or de-registrations.
- Streamlined digital environments for pre-approved users who need to complete low-risk, low-value contract management and SRM activities.
- A centralised supplier database that identifies geographical risk and insecure supply lines.
Open Windows’ CONTRACTS and SRM modules work in tandem to facilitate such a solution. These cloud-based modules are designed to keep clients and suppliers connected and accountable through centralised, secure, and digital visibility of contractual obligations and supplier information, while providing ease-of-use for all users, whose tasks might vary in risk and value but who each have a part to play in strengthening their supply chain operations.
While some businesses have already experienced the brunt of COVID-19, analysing where the risk in your supply chain lies, and understanding how can aid you in tempering these risks, is crucial for now, and for next time. At worst, if a black swan event matching the scale of COVID-19 ever occurs again in our lifetime, you will be better prepared. At best, if such an event never again occurs in this lifetime, you will simply reap the benefits of a deeper, more visible connection to your supply chain.
Featured image via Pixabay.