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As far as supply chain management goes, this is about as bad as I have ever seen it. It is an incredibly difficult situation.

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We are seeing things like enormous demand peaks, very tough resupply situations, and some businesses have seen huge demand drops. Inventory imbalance is an issue. We are also seeing runaway costs, laying off of staff, and, in some instances, not enough staff.

We recently held what turned out to be a very popular webinar to discuss these and other supply chain issues that are affecting us all. We also looked at what steps you can take right now.

The webinar is available for replay and, although no longer open for interactive participation, it encompasses valuable advice on how to meet the challenges being thrown up by COVID-19.

3 Things You Will Learn From the Webinar Replay

While there are scores of issues that business managers are dealing with due to the COVID-19 disruptions, we identified three core areas that you need to focus on right now to ensure your supply chain remains intact during the crisis.

The three core areas are:

1. Customer Disruption

We are seeing customer disruption everywhere. For grocery retailers, demand has gone through the roof but other businesses have suffered incredibly and demand has just dropped off.

Some extreme effects of the disruption:

  • Massive demand fluctuation has led to stock-outs
  • The increase in demand for home delivery exceeds capacity
  • People are over-purchasing to compensate for shortages
  • Retail store replenishment just can’t keep up.
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Inventory and transport costs are increasing by 1-2 percent as a percentage of sales, which translates into a 10-20 percent increase in supply chain costs. I explained in some depth how we can manage those costs so that we still have a business.

2. Supply Disruption

Shipping is still a very difficult part of the supply chain to manage. Very often you can’t get resupply from overseas suppliers, or you are getting very inconsistent supply.

You’re going to have excess inventory, or not enough inventory. You have insufficient, or too much warehouse space. Things will only get worse. Your service will suffer, your costs will keep going up.

During the webinar, we explore various ways that you can get around the problem of supply disruption.

3. Business Disruption

Some of the business systems just aren’t coping very well. Maybe you don’t have enough staff to deal with increased volumes, or you have too many staff and need to downsize. Maybe your call centres are overloaded.

There is a lack of demand-management skills or systems. And a lot of companies are struggling to manage assets in a downturn.

All this leads to poor customer service levels, a drop in staff morale, and a massive decrease in the ability to deliver—with the result that you may lose significant market share. You may even go out of business.

Preparing for a Changed Business Environment

We are going to have a very different business environment after this. How are you going to fare in that? The smart companies are planning ahead. Everyone will be scrambling, as business starts to normalise, to get their market share back.

Some businesses will survive the pandemic crisis only to crash in the aftermath, or be buried by competitors that are better prepared.

Watching this webinar will not only help you find ways to survive the COVID-19 crisis with your supply chain intact, it will also help you prepare effectively for when the upturn comes.

As well as the webinar, we are offering additional resources and one on one support at no cost. This is our way of supporting the industry with which we have been involved for more than two decades.

The webinar replay is available free of charge, so there is nothing to stop you from accessing its insights. Why not register right now? We will be holding more live webinars in the future, covering different topics, so do keep a watch out for those as well.

Rob O’Byrne is a supply chain consultant, coach and author with 40+ years experience in Supply Chain management. He is the expert making the blog called Logistics Bureau.

Photo: Pixabay

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