Rebecca Jasper, our director of global supply chain, offers seven tips for companies struggling to survive in the current supply chain crisis, as well as looking to cope with future disruptions in a recent article in SupplyChainBrain.
First is “don’t sweat the small stuff.” In coping with inevitable price increases, companies should consider the total cost of ownership, and select those instances where action is most important. Alternatives to an immediate price increase include postponing it until the next deal, extending the date of increase, or increasing order quantities.
Second, choose the right communications tool. When troubleshooting a major issue, it’s important to get every relevant individual in the supply chain on the call. Text and chat applications can be used to obtain quick answers from both domestic and international suppliers. E-mails should be limited to instances where it’s important to summarize or communicate project plans to a large audience.
Third, employ a RACI chart, an acronym that defines the roles of those individuals who are responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. The information should be incorporated into a spreadsheet for driving immediate action.
Fourth, be prepared to search for alternative and backup sources of supply, in accordance with customer requirements on testing and quality of materials.
Fifth, deploy visibility tools that can help to offset staffing shortages throughout the supply chain. The information can be obtained internally as well as from outside entities such as third-party logistics providers. Answers to queries should be couched in terms that are understandable to the target recipient.
Sixth, obtain digital solutions for quoting terms and responding to customer queries on a real-time basis.
Seventh, look outside the U.S. if domestic supplies are lacking. Material shortages ebb and flow, Jasper says, and supplies that are lacking in a given region might be available elsewhere.