Supply Chain Strategy - Navigating an Uncertain EconomyWith the economy experiencing historic trouble, it’s up to supply chain managers to plan for an uncertain future and secure their supply chain for whatever may come.

After months of dealing with a pandemic, the economy has taken a serious hit. What’s more, it’s hard to tell how long it’ll remain depressed. On top of that, there’s the added factor of uncertainty. Perhaps the worst of this pandemic is over, our economies will continue to open up gradually and everything will be back on track sooner than later. On the other hand, a second wave of COVID-19 might come, pandemic measures might be put back in place, and the economy might once more struggle.

All of this is not to promote pessimism but rather to present some possibilities of what the future has to hold for the economy. With an acceptance of these possibilities, there’s the chance at empowerment. In the face of uncertainty, it’s up to organizations to be proactive. To ready their supply chains for whatever’s to come. So that they can be comfortable and confident in the fact that come rain or sunshine, they’re good to go.

This article by Morai Logistics highlights several steps supply chain mangers should be looking to employ in order to prepare their supply chains for the future.

Review Suppliers

Many suppliers are in a tough position. Many of their preexisting contracts will be useless and their customers will want to renegotiate. Moreover, they’ll experience a notable decrease in demand from them. It’s critical for companies to then review their suppliers and strengthen their relationships with the ones that survive that review. Key to this is building trust and openness. Which, in turn, can lead to collaborative risk assessment.

As an article by Supply Chain 24/7 puts it,

Companies that have already invested in creating transparent, high-trust relationships with suppliers, and that put in place supply chain risk monitoring systems, are already reaping benefits. Others must now redouble efforts to reassess risks within their supply base and work jointly with suppliers to develop and implement risk mitigation strategies.

Renegotiate Supplier Agreements

With the market having changed so drastically so quickly, companies will have to look at their contracts with their suppliers. If there is a possibility of renegotiation, they should pursue it. However, what they almost certainly should not do is try to force their supplier’s hand.

Acting in bad faith and not receiving their supplier’s delivery while pursuing a price decrease is not the way to go. Instead, companies need to work with their suppliers for an equitable new contract. While it’s important to act quickly and deliberately, it’s just as important for companies to maintain strong relationships with their partners.

Reinforce Supply Chain Resilience

Now more than ever, the areas of weakness within a company’s supply chain are being exposed. It’s up to companies to review their supply chain, analyze it, and shore up its most vulnerable links. Not only will such a review be useful now, but it will generally prove beneficial going forward.

As explained in the previously mentioned Supply Chain 24/7 post,

During periods of growth, many companies find themselves moving too fast to carefully analyze their supply chains and eliminate suppliers that add little value or introduce unnecessary risk. Now is the time to scrutinize distributors and brokers, and aggressively pursue dis-intermediation.

Collaborate

It’s already become a common theme in this article, and there’s a good reason for that. Without working hand in hand with their suppliers—their partners—companies will only experience further disruption and turmoil down the line. Now is not the time to be short-sighted and narrow-minded. Companies with a vision know they have to build healthy, long-lasting relationships for success. Especially in times of hardship. Through a more transparent, collaborative relationship, supply chains will find it easier to spot risks and areas of cost reduction.