Avoid Supply Chain Disruptions

May 02

4 Steps to Handling Supply Chain Disruptions

As the expression says, stuff happens, especially supply chain disruptions. And when it impacts a company’s supply chain, managers need real-time visibility into their own operations and those of others, including vendors and customers. Handling any one issue may require data about available capacity, modal schedules, carrier performance and customer delivery requirements. The faster you access and aggregate this information, the sooner you can address the problem, reducing its impact to your business.

Here are four steps that will prepare you to react quickly to resolve supply chain issues.

1. Find a technology solution designed for your needs
There are a multitude of websites that provide pieces of information – carrier capabilities, capacity, market rates, if you have the time and tenacity to research each carrier. However, having your own customized technology solution brings all of this carrier data into one manageable system. With some transportation management systems (TMSs), you can incorporate data about your actual shipments in motion and the service requirements associated with each shipment, as well as data about multiple carriers in all modes of transportation. This means you have all the information you need to make informed decisions quickly. It’s easier than ever before to select, propose and implement the right technology solutions to boost your business objectives.

2. Build business processes that support action
Technology can provide visibility, but business processes must support taking action. That may mean avoiding silos, ensuring supply chain systems interact with other departmental technology, or simply a corporate culture of collaboration. Just having information, but not a workflow that supports strategic or tactical changes, may make you well-informed, but will not help you avert a crisis.

3. Make sure you have a view of the “big” picture
True control tower capability across divisions and geographies is a must. You can achieve this functionality with systems that interact and batch information enabled by EDI or other sources of data. You are most effective when you have a view of the “big picture” and the related implications of every action or lack of action. Expand your line of sight, with the help of technology and business practices.

4. Have confidence in your systems
Finally, we must change our thinking about technology. That means letting go of the idea that excel spreadsheets and anecdotal information are sufficient to serve today’s supply chains. They are not. In fact, a recent interview with an industry analyst, Roei Ganzarski, President and CEO of BoldIQ, states his opinion that the greatest risk to operational efficiency in 2017 is human behavior – an unwillingness to trust technology to help you do your job.

Have confidence in your systems. With new and enhanced technology becoming available every day, find the system that works for you, align with your company’s business processes and take advantage of your increased business intelligence to react quickly to supply chain disruptions. Or better yet, be proactive and avoid them altogether.