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Planning for the Future: 7 Strategies to Implement Today


The economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged supply chain leaders to re-think their supply chain and company-wide strategies. These days, organizations shift their focus from and market share to risk management, efficiency, and proactive tactics. Even so, customer expectations are far higher than ever seen in the past and currently driving fulfillment speed. 


Organizations now need to focus on flexible logistic models to adapt to high-impact unforeseen events quickly. Therefore, you must reinvent your supply chain by implementing the right strategies that allow you to seize opportunities, overcome the current uncertainties, and emerge in a position that gives you the edge over your competition. 


Here are seven principal supply chain strategies you should implement today to position your brand for higher winnings and ensure supply chain success. 


7 Strategies to Implement Today to Ensure Supply Chain Success


1. Find Balance Between Risky and Efficiency

Supply chain cost reduction is no longer the sole focus. It is now more than ever essential to balance cost control and guard against unanticipated events. The present pandemic has laid bare the vulnerabilities of lean supply chain models. Therefore, it is more viable to implement supply chain strategies that consider the full range of possible risks for a business while controlling cots. According to APQC, such uncertainties range from low probability, disastrous events such as the COVID-19 pandemic to high-probability, low-impact events. 


2. Improve Visibility and Transparency 


It is also vital to promote excellent visibility across your supply chain. Yet over eighty percent of company still lack even the most fundament supply chain visibility. Supply chain visibility involves tracking every component of your product as it moves from your suppliers through your logistics network to the last mile deliveries. Leverage technological solutions that can help you maintain an accurate and real-time over critical areas, especially inventory. That way, you can better understand the demand and supply side of the equation quickly to re-assess your position in real-time and plan for the future. 


3. Align With Organizational Strategy 


Flexibility to adjust your organizational strategy is also vital to your supply chain success. Even so, all partners within the supply chain must understand your organization's strategic priorities in real-time. A visible supply chain alongside additional communication and collaboration channels can help you achieve it. That way, all partners can immediately see strategic shifts such as changed business models, new partnerships, new products, and any other disruptions, without the distraction of back-and-forth. This will enable every key member assets and strategize autonomously, thereby increasing adaptability all around. An analysis by ABQC shows that organizations successful in aligning their supply chain planning performance to organization strategy had shorter customer cycle times, lower supply planning costs, and faster cash-to-cash cycle times. 


4. Maintain Laser Focus on Customers


Besides maintaining efficient communication channels with your suppliers, and team members, it is also essential to align your operations to your customer requirements. This no longer stops at being able to evaluate customers' demands. Today's customers want to be in the know. They expect real-time updates and can provide data on their spending patterns and preferences. Therefore, you should focus your process improvement efforts on increasing transparency, matching supply and demand, harnessing supply chain contracts, and protecting customer experience, even in the face of adversities. 


5. Thinking Globally But Act Locally 


Maintaining a seamless supply chain experience for your customers will also require a re-analysis of your sourcing strategy. It would help if you had a balanced decoupling strategy that considers global opportunities for procuring goods and services alongside your organization's global needs. Manufacturers must consider multiple sourcing channels and determine optimal inventory levels. Alongside, they must equally consider carbon footprint levels to maintain the greening of the supply chain.


6. Develop Decision Making Maturity 


It would be impossible to achieve a highly resilient supply chain without the use of advanced technological tools. Decision-making maturity requires in-depth predictive and prescriptive capabilities. Moreover, historical case scenarios suggest that supply chain managers relying on data and analytical insights have three times higher possibilities of improving decision-making than decisions based on institution. Therefore, your organization must focus on achieving analytical maturity by leveraging emerging technological developments such as predictive/prescriptive algorithms, IoT, AI/cognitive computing, robotic process automation, blockchain, and cloud capabilities. With many emerging technologies to be considered, your organization should create a systematic approach that identifies practical tools suitable for your organization's needs and maximize their benefits. This also requires planners to critically assess organizational needs, performances, capacity, current supply chain processes, and market demands to make the right choice. 


7. Focus on Core Strengths 


Many organizations try to handle many things simultaneously, to which the COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerabilities with such business models. To build the supply chain of the future, your organization must embody flexibility, adaptability, efficiency, and effectiveness. Therefore, you need to focus more on your core strengths because it enables a more practical way to assess risks and re-align organizational strategy as occasion demands. For instance, outsourcing fulfillment can help your organization leverage up-to-date logistics solutions, expand your distribution channels, multiple shipping partners, while leveraging industry expectations that can you scale your business effectively.


Overall, your organization should build a resilient supply chain that can navigate and anticipate unprecedented events while making improvements for the future. It is no longer enough to focus on lowering costs or achieving efficiency. Your organization's supply chain success can now depends on how adaptable, flexible, and effective it is. Survival and success now demand a multi-pronged supply chain strategy. 


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