It’s the second consecutive year where COVID-19 continues to have an impact on the businesses around the globe. World economies have never faced such uncertainty before and traditional supply chain mechanisms have been completely impeded.
Historically, supply chains were viewed to be cost centric. They were designed to draw out the progression of raw materials to final product in a systematic manner and mitigate risks and reduce costs in the process. However, the rise of Covid-19 cannot be categorized as a typical risk event.
The scale and speed of this calamity has been gigantic to knock companies off-balance. Responding to this pandemic requires end-to-end assessment, optimization and monitoring by the companies. The impact is not only limited to the human health but also to global supply chains, consumer markets and behaviors.
Through this blog, I aim to highlight the challenges in the global supply chain faced by companies and a prospective response mechanism towards it.
Let’s begin with the risks and challenges:
- Lack of visibility in the supply chain
For decades, the excellence in supply chain operations used to be about moving products and tracking the financial transactions but in a digital era, information is the value. During pandemic, it was realized that majority of the companies (69%) do not have complete visibility to their supply chains. Many of them tend to rely on numerous excel spreadsheets, phone calls or emails from their different trading partners on different data systems. The entire approach is labor intensive and requires active interpersonal coordination and communication. The work from home (WFH) model in the face of multi-country disruptions fractured this process to its core. Lack of communication and absence of unified digital platforms for database management created havoc in the transparency of supply chains.
- What can be done?
Well, the answer lies in mobilizing the management of entire supply chain. The need of an hour is an intelligent supply chain. Instead of working with a traditional model, complete reinvention of the process is suggested.
Let’s start from creating an integrated logistics control tower to get real-time visibility into the continuous supply chain. In simpler words, work on a collaborative platform minimizing many email threads, PDFs and hundreds of spreadsheets.
Now, if I say that companies can reinvent supply chains while being cost-centric, how does that sound? The answer is simple: companies can look for outsourcing agencies. In this decade, the outsourcing industry has become more technology driven, leveraging on applied analytics and providing end-to-end data secured systems with a responsive risk mitigated operations.
They, not only provide a dedicated staff but also optimize data to improve visibility across demand, inventory, capacity and supply in all ecosystems. A revolutionized supply chain will result in lower operational costs, more sales and improved forecasting. Outsourcing companies invest heavily in the IT and data security of their clients; nevertheless, it is always recommended to check their websites and ensure all security measure certifications are in place.
You can begin by smaller tasks- choose from wide range of their service desk such as data management, inventory management or material ordering and listings. Secondly, begin by opting for small activities by the outsourcing partner. This will help in identifying the profitability of your partnership. Start with small before going into deep waters.
- Talent gaps across omnichannel platforms for customer support
Along with disruptions in travel and logistics supply during 2020, significant gap in communication with customers across all platforms was highlighted. In majority of the cases, either the point of contact (POC) showed incompetence in accessing existing networks or the entire ecosystems collapsed due to shutting down of warehouses and passages. In either case, the company suffered from both ends, failure to preserve the continuity in supply chains and greater disaster in effective communication to its customers, producers and other stakeholders.
Non-visibility in the supply chain was the preliminary cause, additional would be the lack of an exclusive team to handle customer communications and omni-channel support, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
- What can be done?
Along with an intelligent supply chain, companies need to build an exclusive wing whose sole purpose is to orchestrate responses to the customers over multiple platforms. They also must be capable in providing actionable insights from analyzing their supply chains to prevent future losses. They need to function in multi-dimensional platforms handling all sorts of customer inquiries such as order tracking, smooth deliveries and returns whilst managing availability across all connected platforms for inventory management, applications and processes. Lastly, the skillsets for such roles must be distinct and eminent.
Not all companies can afford each listed quality in-house, but smart businesses know to leverage- ‘outsourcing’. BPOs are the virtual experts in providing omni channel support to customers 24/7 round the clock with a highly skilled and dedicated team. Their years of experience in managing customer tickets, phone, chat and email support by utilizing the latest technology and tools make them highly competent. Not only adapting the customer centric approach but also systemized and data-driven forecasting will ensure a streamlined supply chain for greater profitability.
Let’s begin by exploring some of these services today FBSPL