Lessons Learned for the Post-Pandemic Supply Chain

It’s hard to name a business that wasn’t impacted by supply chain disruptions during the pandemic. Now is the time to re-examine our supply chain management, so that we won’t be caught out again if or when another such disaster occurs.

Include supply chain management in your business continuity plan

Since the supply chain is usually a means to an end, it often gets overlooked in planning your crisis strategy. How will you obtain raw materials and distribute finished products when your normal suppliers aren’t available?

Organize back-up sources of supply

This may not sound economically feasible during ordinary operations, but there should be at least some thought invested into alternative suppliers when your primary ones fail. For example, you could use a third-party platform (such as SAP Ariba) to locate suppliers in parts of the world that are still functioning.

Renegotiate carrier contracts

Right now, shippers are slammed and telling customers they can’t handle the load at contracted prices — forcing you to pay through the nose out of desperation. Prevent this situation in the future by adding a premium price escalator clause, with clearly defined circumstances, to your contract. Another idea is to join a shipper co-op to pool your volumes with other businesses and gain more clout with freight companies.

Increase transparency in your supply chain

Ensure that everyone in your company who needs access to the data has it. Salespeople, buyers, accountants and production managers all too often are using different systems within the company, creating silos and blocks to information flow. Investigate installing a centralized business management system that can easily collect and deploy data, as well as interact efficiently with vendors’ systems.

Rethink inventory levels

Not surprisingly because of its cost-effectiveness, maintaining “lean” inventory levels is the method of choice for most businesses. However, the pandemic exposed its weakness: lack of flexibility when faced with sudden surges in demand. Depending on whether your products are critical to the nation’s life and health, you may decide to create stockpiles of key items.

Plan for escalated hiring

During the pandemic, essential businesses — especially those in the logistics and delivery sector — suddenly needed to bring in dozens, hundreds or even thousands of extra employees as fast as possible. In-house HR departments weren’t staffed or equipped to source, screen, hire and onboard such large volumes of workers in such short timeframes. The solution for many was to bring in an RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) provider.

Integrity Staffing Solutions delivers RPO services, as well as high volume temporary staffing, to many of the nation’s leading businesses — including supply chain and logistics operators. To find out how we can customize a solution for your business, visit our website, email us or call 1.888.446.1300.