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Best Offense is a Good Defense: Surviving Supply Chain Disruption

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is on the way, according to experts and news reports, which means that no one has the luxury of burying their head in the sand. When the pandemic first hit, everyone had an “aha” moment. Still, now as we try and overcome the disruption and prepare for further interruption, undoubtedly, the best offense is a good defense?

Steps To Take In Response To Supply Chain Challenges 

Whether you would describe the pandemic as a “wake up call” or a “game-changer” for the fashion industry, there is no denying that it has exposed vulnerabilities within our supply chains. Now with the threat of a second wave and the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that the coronavirus “may never go away,” here are specific steps that you can take if you are not already, to help you stay in business.  

Be Transparent 

The first thing every business should have done is to communicate with their customers and business partners. COVID-19 is affecting pretty much everyone, so the chances of people understanding are pretty high. Remember, at the moment, there is no such thing as over-communicating, because open dialogue will keep your supply chain relationships healthy and keep your business operating as efficiently as possible.

Leverage Technology

As technology continues to be the tool of choice for forward-thinking businesses, it makes sense to leverage advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, and 5G. With multiple fashion businesses brought to their knees, the adoption of specific technology solutions could mean that more companies will be able to anticipate and meet future challenges head-on.

Figure Out How To Continue (realistically)

To continue successfully, you need to evaluate all aspects of your business. Take a step back and decide what is essential, because it is pretty likely that you would have to make some tough calls. Also, come up with a decision making criteria that can help you with problem-solving. The criteria you come up with should be able to be useful in the future because you can use it to help you next time when an unforeseen disruption occurs in your supply chain.

Have A Good Account Of Your Inventory

Yes, your supply chain was disrupted, but does it mean that you should not have a good account of your available inventory? It makes good business sense to know what physical inventory you have, including an audit of the components and spare parts that you have available to keep your production running.

Assess Changes In Demand

It is no secret that the pandemic has changed what and how consumers are purchasing. It has affected their buying behavior, meaning that the likelihood is high that the products your customers seek have changed. To respond to this, you can consider pivoting your products to match demand, in this instance, you can make facemasks like Proenza Schouler or hand sanitizers like some LVMH brands.

Make The Safety of Your Employees Priority

Workers mustn’t feel unsafe at their jobs. Therefore if you are preparing for their return in the coming weeks, then deep clean and testing everyone before reopening could ensure your products are being made and delivered in a way that is safe for everyone involved.

Adjusting The Bottom Line

Evaluating your cash flow is essential because the likelihood that your bottom line is affected is very high. Therefore, make sure you know where supply chain disruptions are most likely to have a financial impact. Doing so will allow you to plan better and make adjustments where required.

All in all, the best you can do is to create a robust crisis management strategy that will help you with current and future supply chain disruptions. Remember, you can never be too prepared, so if you are going to take away anything, let it be these two tidbits; not all supply chain disruptions are created equal, and you must try to diversify your suppliers.

Contact Suuchi to learn how the Suuchi GRID can be a tool for your supply chain management strategy

Written by Muchaneta Kapfunde

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