While the new way of lean manufacturing and distribution has led to many benefits for getting your products to consumers, recent world events have shown the risk of consolidating your distribution too heavily. In this article, we explore how you can increase the resilience of your supply chain while planning for the future needs of your customers.
Why your supply chain may be broken
Supply chains go largely unnoticed by consumers, as they work seamlessly in the background. With the focus on lean supply chains and globalisation, consumers have come to expect receiving their deliveries as they want and need them, with minimal delay.
The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of this process, with ‘just-in-time’ deliveries adding complexity to stretched supplies of raw materials that are then needed to complete the finished product. This supply-side disruption has been compounded by global weather events such as the Suez Canal blockage and transportation difficulties with the HGV driver shortage.
With many services needing to close, consumers turned their budgets to increase their spending on durable goods such as work from home accessories and DIY supplies. This led to sellers dealing with significant challenges as consumers demanded more and supplies became harder to deliver.
While the disruption from the pandemic has passed, the challenges of the global supply chains remain. The highly lean supply system of yesterday needs serious upgrades if consumers are to continue to receive the level of service that they expect from your business.
Resolving the problems of the modern supply chain that these events have highlighted will be challenging. Read on to find out the steps that you can take to protect your business from any future disruption and make your supply chain more resilient.
Fixing your supply chain
The increased logistical problems highlighted recently has taken away many of the advantages of shipping products from far away factories. Reshoring to the West has started to become more commonly seen in the news, with new gigafactories for car batteries in the West Midlands and Intel’s plan to invest in European semiconductor manufacturing.
The solution is to have more local and regional hubs closer to your consumers. This not only adds resilience to your supply chain but also allows you to offer enhanced services to consumers. This includes quicker delivery options and easier order management for consumers, especially for returns and greater sustainability in your supply chain.
While technology is already used extensively for organising ‘just-in-time’ supply chains, these now must be weighted to consider the risk of centralising supplies. The traditional response of buying more stock and having greater supplies in case of disruption has shown to not always be the most effective solution.
Instead, enhanced visibility of the current stock via greater software connectivity may be a more helpful long-term solution. This allows for early detection of problems in the supply chain that can be routed to other suppliers where required and enables greater supply chain resilience.
The supply chain of the future could not be achieved without considering the role of sustainability. Consumers are increasingly aligning themselves to businesses that show they are considering their impact on the environment and sustainability.
By planning your supply chain effectively you can benefit from the increased focus on sustainability while building your supply chain’s resilience. You can also consider your business’s role in the circular economy. For example, Nespresso’s recycling programme allows consumers in the UK to return their used coffee pods when new orders are delivered. Without a UK based delivery partner, like QMS, this sort of initiative would likely not have been practical for the brand.
Getting Supply Resilience with QMS
At Quantum Marketing Services, we have over 30 years of experience delivering 3PL services for our clients through our 20,000 sqft of secure warehousing in the UK. Our experts have a deep understanding of the logistical challenges in supply and distribution and can help you work around them, no matter how complex. We are focused on providing sustainable options for distribution as part of our Handling with Care commitment. By investing in the latest technology for inventory control we are able to provide fully automated order management and inventory control in real-time. No matter your 3PL needs, QMS has the answer.
To learn how your business can build supply chain resilience with our 3PL services, talk to our team today!