Supply-chain flexibility and responsiveness have never been more important as they are at present. Even before COVID-19, supply-chain managers considered how to cope with supply-chain disruptions — from natural disasters like the 2011 Japanese tsunami to political developments such as the U.S.-China trade war — by building greater resiliency into their operations.
Companies are looking for ways to not only survive, but to gain competitive advantage in a prolonged environment of uncertainty and disruption. The capacity to cope with black-swan events translates into that competitive advantage.
How can businesses secure the upper hand over unanticipated challenges to managing a global supply chain? The answer lies in identifying discrete challenges and responding creatively, strategically and dynamically as situations continue to evolve.
This report identifies and explores a number of “growing edges” where companies can meet pressure to respond competitively in unsettled environments by: regionalizing the supply chain, leveraging digital innovation, emphasizing e-commerce capabilities, sharing supply-chain assets, and taking a strategic approach to introducing automation.
Flexibility and speed afforded by taking a regional approach to manufacturing, distribution and sourcing is one way to build more resiliency into the supply chain. Another emerging practice is asset sharing – whether it’s sharing trucks or warehouses – as an important strategy for managing business peaks and variability.
A resilient supply chain also takes full advantage of digital technologies that promote visibility and business intelligence. For retail companies, implementing tools that promote visibility and flexibility can provide insights into proper inventory levels, the positioning of SKUs and the best mix of distribution operations. There is a level of finesse required, however, to introducing automation. Companies must continue to value their people as their most important assets. Automation is unquestioningly an important trend, but it should be introduced in such a way that makes peoples’ jobs easier and more rewarding — even more fun.
Download this report to read in-depth about top strategies for becoming increasingly resilient, creative and flexible in uncertain times.