Supply Chain

How to Navigate the Supply Chain Mess

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Have you visited your local Starbucks recently, anticipating the delightful first sip of your favorite coffee or tea only for the barista to tell you they can’t make it due to supply shortages? Or, maybe you’ve been in the market for a new car, but every dealer you’ve spoken with says you’d have to place a special order to get your desired make or model, and that even after doing so, your new ride could take months to arrive?

Although these inconveniences seem like “first-world problems,” such inventory shortages caused by worldwide supply chain fractures contribute to big woes for both consumers and businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the weak points of supply chain structures out from under the rug and has prompted a need for supply chain transformations across all industries.

Supply chain management deals with the centralized management of the flow of goods and services and includes all processes that transform raw materials into final products. Traditionally, the supply chain function has presented organizations with an opportunity to cut unnecessary costs, improve the customer experience, and prevent expensive recalls. But today’s climate is very complex. You can’t read the news without seeing an article that headlines the supply chain. And you still can’t forget the impact Amazon has had on customer expectations; from easy ordering to quick deliveries, the e-commerce giant is still the gold standard! But right now, even Amazon is struggling because of worker shortages and supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic.

What can a company do to meet these hefty customer expectations in the middle of this supply chain mess? End-to-end supply chain visibility and business operating models can transform businesses tremendously.

Companies should know the state of their products in the supply chain, whether it’s raw materials, suppliers, manufacturing, distribution, or retailers, and they should prioritize collaborative planning. This means that there should be support and communication from various business functions rather than having a “laissez-faire” approach to the manufacturing process. Everyone should share insight on forecasts and trends, giving them a better idea of demand.

While COVID-19 made many manufacturing conditions unsafe initially, the pandemic has shown us that companies that have adopted and implemented certain strategies have been able to better navigate the crisis. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, on October 20, 2021, Tesla announced a third consecutive quarterly profit, despite the industry wide chip shortage. Tesla uses more vertical integration strategies than other automakers, which has enabled them to be more immune to parts shortages, thus producing more inventory.

How Perficient Can Help

“Our goal is to help organizations develop supply chain capabilities and processes that deliver on business priorities—from building a compelling business case for transformation to implementing top-shelf technology.”

 -Bob Vanek, Chief Strategist, Supply Chain

Perficient’s supply chain management team can offer personalized guidance that is tailored to maneuver the specific challenges your company may be facing. We work with you to build supply chain core competencies and identify initiatives that align with your corporate strategy, streamline operations, and reduce costs.

We can help modernize and mature your end-to-end supply chain. Supply chain transformation opportunities include:

  • Supply chain strategy and organizational effectiveness
  • Technology and data enablement
  • Supply chain performance and analytics
  • Strategic sourcing and spend control
  • Procure-to-pay process improvement
  • Cycle time reduction
  • Inventory and materials-management
About the Author

Madeline McDermott is a Marketing Coordinator, focusing on the financial services industry.

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