It’s not often that supply chain management is in the national consciousness, but with everything from baby formula to silicon chip shortages, it seems like supply chains are on everyone’s lips these days. The pandemic has created unforeseen difficulties and long-lasting ripple effects in many aspects of manufacturing. It’s important to recognize and embrace agile, resilient supply chain best practices to shock-proof your business against future upsets.
Supply Chain Leaders: Best Practices
The annual Supply Chain Top 25 recognizes leaders in supply chain management and cites best practices as well as emerging trends. Gartner cited many companies, but among them, two stand out for great supply chain management practices and a third made the news for creative problem solving.
Food maker Nestle recognized that their supply chain issues wouldn’t go away. So, they launched a crowdsourcing effort among their internal teams to solve complex supply chain problems. The teams came up with many solutions including ethical sourcing of farm-produced raw materials, which is a key to their commitment to supporting farmers and ethical sourcing. By tapping into their company’s internal strengths and leveraging employee insights, Nestle was able to solve a problem and please their customers by sourcing ethical raw goods.
Cosmetics giant L’Oreal faced unique challenges as they ship 7 billion products per year worldwide. These products vary widely from town to town, store to store, and country to country. L’Oreal expanded its network of delivery methods, adding distribution centers and transportation methods as needed to handle the constant demands.
King Arthur Flour
King Arthur Flour isn’t on the Gartner list but is also a great example of supply chain agility. The 230-year-old company shifted production methods from their wholesale 50-pound bags to manufacture consumer-friendly 5-pound bags as the pandemic shut restaurants and commercial bakeries and home baking became more popular. The ingredients industry uses specialized machines that can only fill specific bag sizes, so this shift was challenging for the company. Their commitment to customer service enabled them to find creative ways to meet the sudden increases in demand.
Make Your Supply Chain Management Agile and Resilient
You may think supply chain management problems can be solved more easily by big companies like Nestle and L’Oreal, but every business faces their own unique set of problems. It’s only by exploring creative solutions to the existing problem that these problems be overcome.
The experts at MIT Sloane Management have several tips to offer companies of all sizes when they face supply chain issues. Their advice:
- Be honest. Face the issue head-on and don’t ignore it.
- Establish a crisis management center. One center to manage all aspects of communication can help reduce confusion.
- Open lines of communication. Allow everyone on the team to hear the same facts and offer solutions
- Ensure that key decision makers are at the helm. These should be people who know the supply chain in your company the best.
- Keep the C-suite informed. Make sure everyone from the top down understands the issues, solutions, and ramifications, and communicate frequently with the team.
ERP Helps with Information Sharing
Systems such as Acumatica allow you to add additional users as needed, in some cases paying only for use, rather than a site license. This enables you to add your suppliers to the system so they can provide updates on shipments, supply levels, and more. Enhancing communications throughout the system will improve your ability to proactively respond to potential supply chain disruptions and stock shortages.
Access to the data from your ERP system can enhance creative problem solving. Agile, creative thinking around supply chain problems results from people having access to the same shared data.
All companies face unique supply chain issues, but the right software can help you face them head on and collaborate to find solutions. With accurate, timely data, anything is possible.
Emerald TC provides software and consulting for manufacturing companies. We can help you choose the right accounting software, ERP system, payroll, or other software for your needs. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 for more information.