The unprecedented emergence of COVID-19 caught companies around the world by surprise. Whether or not your business was deemed essential, the coronavirus outbreak has transformed the way you interact with your customers, run your day-to-day operations, and manage your supply chain.
According to a study conducted by the Institute for Supply Chain Management, almost 75% of Canadian and US companies reported various forms of supply chain disruptions as a direct result of pandemic-related shipping and transportation restrictions. In addition, just as society is beginning the return toward more familiar conditions, some experts are warning of a second coronavirus wave this fall, along with the sharpest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The truth is that the COVID-19 outbreak did not break supply chains, but rather exposed the cracks that already existed within them. In order to weather the current economic storm, and prepare for challenging times in the future, companies need supply chain management that can effectively pivot in response, without causing any major interruptions in getting their goods to market.
This is especially true for producers of essential goods such as food and medicine, but non-essential businesses can also benefit from a strategic refocus. The key is to create an “optimal” network that supports the “optional” scenarios that provide proactive solutions to new market realities.
Supply chains built using integrated 4PL solutions are designed to withstand times of economic volatility as they allow you to seamlessly add or adjust suppliers as needed. Unlike the “one-size-fits-all” approach that limits scale, integrated systems allow you to solve some of the more pressing supply chain needs during challenging times, including:
- Access to/integration with quality suppliers: Your supply chain requirements are matched with reputable suppliers who have the dexterity to maintain their service levels during both good times and bad
- Ability to flex capacity: Easily integrate suppliers into your supply chains to meet changing demands, or simply when you feel your system could benefit from additional optimization
- Respond to events with agility: When unforeseen events occur, such as finding a recovery truck quickly or your having goods stuck due to customs or border delays, your provider will be able to respond with a dynamic solution that gets everything moving again
- Make faster decisions: Your 4PL logistics provider has the ability to help you understand incremental costs in response to changing needs, allowing you to make fast, informed decisions that mitigate risks or issues
- Improved access to information: Get access to real-time information that allows your team to quickly gather insights into system performance, supply chain diagnostics, and market intelligence
- Increased inventory control: Intelligent 4PL systems help you have better control over inventory levels and storage space
- Experienced, seasoned consultation: Integrated supply chain providers are on hand to not only give you the guidance required to get through economic downturns, but also to co-ordinate and implement their strategies
Read More: How 4PL Helps You Reach Your Sustainability Targets
Without question, the expected economic downturn from the COVID-19 crisis will prompt companies to adopt more intelligent, strategy-based supply chain solutions that go beyond handling everyday tactical procedures. Technology-enabled models have become imperative in supporting the definition of strategies that allow us to quickly and decisively respond to increasingly unprecedented times.
Partnering with an integrated supply chain provider can also help when cash flow becomes a concern. 4PL logistics companies such as Cedric Millar utilize Lean Six Sigma principles and develop effective people, process, and technology-enabled solutions based on your KPIs. This allows you to optimize your system performance, drive operational efficiencies, and eliminate duplication. It also affords your company significant opportunities for improved data-driven decision-making, outstanding cost reductions, and noticeable service improvements.
If any long-term business benefit of the COVID-19 situation can be ascertained, it’s that it forced many businesses to take a good hard look at their supply chain management, and leverage opportunities that will help them become more resilient and capable to withstand unforeseen crises in the future.
As we move closer to a post-COVID world, forward-thinking companies that make the switch to integrated supply chains will be well-positioned with innovative technology, lean systems, and a partner provider ready to help them thrive in a forever-changing marketplace.
Of course, the current focus for all businesses is on responding to the evolving COVID-19 situation in ways that continue to protect our families, colleagues, customers, and the public at large. However, there is still real value in exploring a larger supply chain strategy that will help your business navigate the future social and economic challenges that will inevitably arise.
If you’re interested in learning how Cedric Millar can significantly transform your current supply chain into a more sustainable, flexible model, we’d love to chat with you. Just contact us at 1-888-998-1009 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime for a no-obligation discussion.