COVID-19 action plan: Improving your contingency planning

COVID-19, Cold chain management

As we have witnessed, the COVID-19 outbreak sent shock waves throughout the world and disrupted global supply chains. While the full impact of the pandemic is still unknown, businesses are considering how they can better protect themselves—and their supply chains—in the months and years ahead.  

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t an isolated incident, considering that disruptions are increasing in frequency and magnitude, including geopolitical events, climate-related disasters, and public health crises.  

Flexible supply networks will enable companies to minimize the risk of disruption in times of stress. They will also help production teams pivot nimbly to meet changing market demand, which provides a significant competitive edge. Importantly, flexible supply chains cut costs and improve cash flow, through an increase in inventory returns. 

Investments in supply chain resilience can deliver improvements in delivery and increase customer satisfaction while improving supply chain efficiency. Contingency planning is a central component of building your supply chain resiliency. Deploying Controlant’s cloud-based software platform provides real-time information on products moving throughout the supply chain and offers control-tower visibility to help minimize disruptions.  

Insights generated by advanced analytics help businesses make the right decisions quickly, avoiding downstream stock shortages, which may negatively impact consumers and patients. This visibility enables companies to prepare alternative sourcing plans and relocate inventory.  

Working with partners, including suppliers and logistics providers, companies can visually connect their end-to-end supply chain networks for each segment. If disaster strikes, businesses can identify products or components that are at risk by leveraging these advanced analytics into their supply chains and industry data. Alternative suppliers can be identified, thereby decreasing overall risk.  

The frequency and intensity of shocks to the global economy are increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how vulnerable supply chains have become due to silos, a lack of visibility, and insufficient contingency planning amongst all of the uncertainty and constant changes. What has long been considered adequate flexibility no longer suffices. Businesses that invest today in greater flexibility and contingency planning will be best positioned to weather future disruptions.  

Next steps: 

  • Build network agility. Business continuity is vital in times of uncertainty. This includes the ability to respond adequately to volatility in both supply and demand. Complete an assessment of your suppliers to ensure they are not going to impact your business negatively. Identify alternative suppliers in non-impacted regions of the world to diversify your supply chain and limit dependencies on any one supplier within a geographic area.  
  • Mitigate your supply chain risk. Develop a risk-assessment plan that can be employed now and in the future that helps identify and continuously monitor a variety of risks that could impact the productivity, safety, and efficiency of your supply chain.   
  • Focus on digital collaboration. Cloud-based supply chain applications and collaborative platforms enhance information sharing. They also improve the quality of decision making within an organization and with partners and suppliers within a secure environment.  Manufacturers have demanded greater visibility into the partners’ supply chains, a practice worth continuing after COVID-19.   
  • Monitor your supply chain. Make sure that you are monitoring not only the risks associated with your tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers but that you can identify and respond quickly to unexpected delays and other disruptions. Real-time network visibility will be a central component of this. Control tower solutions that integrate data across the supply chain offer leaders unprecedented visibility into their supply chains. Companies can better calibrate supply with forecast demand by comparing internal production capacity data with real-time signals.  
  • Invest in advanced analyticsThrough a rapid generation of insights, quality and leadership teams can stay a step ahead of supply chain disruptions by improving their ability to rapidly analyze internal data and external sources of big data. Controlant’s custom dashboards can help track the key performance metrics (KPI’s) that are most important to you.    
  • Empower your teams. By centralizing your data, your teams can react quickly to insights generated by advanced analytics and help your business navigate smoothly in times of disruption. Collaboration will be vital to building stronger, safer, and more efficient supply chains.  
  • Continuous improvement. Periodically test and revise your strategy to account for organizational growth and environmental changes. Adaptability is key to building your supply chain resilience and ensuring business continuity moving ahead. 

Controlant is dedicated to lessening supply chain disruptions while providing visibility during this unprecedented time. Contact us to learn more.