When a new year starts, people are determined to make things better, and they set about to discuss the ‘New Year’s resolutions’ that will act like some form of a roadmap henceforth. Supply chain management is no exception; it also calls for new strategies that should make the management of operations from sourcing raw materials to consumption of the final products easy, successful, and productive. As such, better supply chain strategies need to be put in place. This is really important, especially now that the Covid-19 pandemic showed the world, and the supply chains, by extension, the other face of things they never knew about.New strategies in the supply chain planning approaches will go a long way to boost the success rates of the supply chains. That said, here are the six top strategies to implement in any supply chain in 2022 and beyond.
1. Improve supplier and customer visibility
Visibility is like a prerequisite in any supply chain since, without it, the chain is likely to collapse. In the context of the supply chain, visibility describes a state whereby the managing team of the chain ensures that every step of sourcing to delivery operations are open to all the stakeholders within the chain. As such, the suppliers and those in the processing department can track where raw materials are at any point. Besides, once a client orders goods and the items leave the processing site and starts the journey to delivery, the customer should be able to see every step that follows and even know the exact location where his order is. As much as most supply chains had this strategy before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not quite efficient, leading to backlogs, frustrations, losses, and bad reputation, especially on the side of the supply chain and its management team. As such, part of the 2022 supply chain strategies should involve making operations more visible to scale down the backlogs and losses previously experienced.
2. Embrace digital transformation in the supply chain
It’s always been said that digital transformation is the new face of business that every supply chain should embrace. However, not many businesses embraced it despite the great hype and haze behind it. In fact, some people even felt that digitalizing business operations was being overemphasized. However, as it is right now, it is the only way to make supply chain operations. The basics about it include having an online ordering and tracking systems. Still, it needs to go beyond this and feature many automated processes to make business operations successful, which became particularly important during the lockdown. Things could look fine, and we might even think that we will soon resume business, but this might not be the case, considering that more resistant Coronavirus strains are discovered every other day.
3. Widen your supplier base
Any business that wants to succeed out there should widen its supplier base as one of its 2022 supply chain strategies. When the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, businesses had to learn the hard way the importance of diversifying a supplier base. Instead of relying on one raw material, supply chain component, or supplier, there is every need to have plans A, B, C, D, or more, for each of these, and even a backup vendor. What about if your core supplier has his country under lockdown and no import or export is allowed? Will you close down the business? You might have to scale down on one supplier and even reduce his purchasing power. However, this is worth the step, and it will allow you to be more flexible, agile, and dependable and will expand your profit margins even during times of crisis.
4. Work on agility
Whether local, regional, international, or global, any single supply chain out there needs to embrace agility to improve its success rate. Agility in the supply chain context describes the special ability of a business to absorb the shock that hits it and make the needed adjustments in real-time to regain its equilibrium. Supply chains that tend to be equilibrium might be unsustainable and even flop in the long run, especially when they take forever to change some hard-held techniques. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic in place and the growing need for digitizing operations, embracing agility remains one of the top supply chain strategies. Businesses are now shifting to the ‘survival for the fittest’ model, and the fittest are the agile ones. They will stand the test of time and sustain the chain in the face of crisis.
5. Simplify raw materials and product development perspectives
The other thing the pandemic helped us realize is that many businesses processes require thousands of raw materials, and most of these find their way into and break the chain, especially during the most critical times. Does this describe your ideal chain? In 2022, consider revising the chain to eliminate what you don’t need as part of your supply chain strategies. This may sound a bit taxing, especially when you have a complex system with many stakeholders and operations, and you don’t know where to start. However, bringing an expert on board to analyze your operations and processes will help you realize what you don’t need but have in the chain. Of course, this will have some financial implications, but isn’t it worth it? The chain will not only be simple but more resilient.
6. Prepare for government regulations
The world is taking a different face, primarily because its scene is changing in the political and perspectives and other aspects. As such, you need to prepare the supply chain to embrace the regulations as they come, whether you want it or not. For instance, imagine that the US government decides to involve itself with the global supply chain more actively; will you comply? You have no option but to dance to the music. Still, good preparations that leave leeway for government regulations make the transformation smoother and more seamless. So then, start preparing your supply chains now to make your tomorrow easier and sustain your business operations.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still in the picture, there is every need for every business to adopt better supply chain strategies. Such will not only help them stay in the market but also widen their profit margins and not break the chain, even in the face of crises. Embracing digital transformation, preparing for government regulations, widening the supplier base, being more agile, and improving supply chain visibility are the top six strategies to hold a chain’s success in 2022 and beyond.