On the third day of Christmas my supplier said to me “we’re running behind. COVID has caused delays in our own supply chain.”
It seems like COVID is all we’ve heard about this year. As countries all around the world went into lockdown global supply chains were interrupted. For some reason, toilet paper was the first to suffer. Shortly thereafter we experienced shortages of hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and even meat.
Common household items were not the only ones to suffer. While people were dealing white gold (toilet paper) in an alleyway, supply chain managers everywhere were receiving phone calls from their suppliers telling them that there were sourcing issues and that they should expect delays.
While the primary concern of keeping employees safe was behind the shortages, we ought to recognize that a whole host of supply chain vulnerabilities were made known as a result of worldwide shutdowns. We dealt with some of these issues in an article on global supply chain which you can find here.
Simply put, political upheaval, pandemics, and natural disasters can be huge supply chain disrupters. These disruptions cause delays and shortages that are nearly impossible to anticipate, yet they are a part of the human experience and sooner or later will cause problems. Not only do they affect inventories and logistics, but also, they can impact supplier communications across multiple levels in your supply chain.
This brings to light an extremely important concept. That is the ability to standardize supplier communications amongst the suppliers of your suppliers. That’s right. The suppliers of your suppliers. By thinking of suppliers collectively as a three-dimensional ecosystem with your organization as the hub, instead of a linear chain, you just opened yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities regarding supplier risk mitigation.
How do you deal with shortages and delays that are a result of unforeseen circumstances within your supplier network?