The story line for last year was all about covid, social distancing and product outages. <toilet paper!> The disruption to the supply chain happened fast and turned everything upside down. As companies were reworking their processes to ensure employee safety, they were also tasked to moving the supply chain along under a different set of rules. Those who were most effective learned to step up their game in flexibility and resiliency. Companies who showed agility in their workflows and approaches were able to minimize the disruption to their customers and consumers.
While supply chain disruptions are not unusual, this global event challenged every supply chain philosophy of tight inventories with low-cost solutions. However, based on an article by Bain & Company, companies with resilient supply chains grow faster because they can respond to changing market demands and meet customers’ needs. While manufacturers who create these flexible supply chains increase their customer satisfaction, and inventory turns, they need to build buffers to reduce risk throughout their network that will give them a competitive advantage. As manufacturers invest in resilience in their supply chain, that strategy also applies to their partners within the supply chain.
FLEXIBLE PARTNERS: Having a 3PL partner that can handle sudden disruptions to the supply chain will provide one element to a resilient supply chain. It’s not about being perfect but imperfectly perfect responding with high level communication, quick responsiveness, creative solutions and vendor relationships that can step in as needed to help clients in the supply chain.
Pacific Coast Warehouse prides itself on its customer care. The “Plan the Work, Work the Plan” philosophy becomes the mantra during supply chain disruptions. The year 2020 was no different just more intensive with employee safety thrown in. Instead of reacting without thinking through the process, the leadership team at Pacific Coast came up with a very specific plan and worked that plan daily. Since Covid provided constant changes, the plan was re-evaluated constantly and tweaked. PCWC ensured employees were safe, processes were changed, and client needs were addressed.
REAL-TIME VISIBILITY: A high level of responsiveness and communication is necessary to the ever-changing requirements during a disruption. While verbal and written communication is the standard, having a warehouse management system that allows customer portal access, alleviates stress and anxiety by getting answers through a portal. Technology allows real-time access, any time of the day and is not dependent on working hours or a person on the phone. Having a strong digital approach allows sufficient visibility to the supply chain and the risks that may occur.
The Pacific Coast Warehouse PORTAL that is provided to clients from their WMS has been invaluable during the covid disruption. PCW provides value by gathering critical time elements to the process and makes it available through the portal. While information is only a slice of the larger client network, it provides coordinated actions of PCWC and its partners that are used to satisfy the needs to each client.
Depth of leadership became a prevalent aspect of the disruption recovery process. Having strong members of teams (or partners) allowed decision making a more decentralized process with handling volatile demand situations.
Leadership at PCWC, who is very familiar with the California climate, was able to provide direction and solid decisions in how to enable a crippled supply chain some success creating customer and consumer satisfaction. Determining a plan of action for multiple scenarios were played out and directions were decided upon. Most importantly, those decisions were continuously reviewed and modified as the situation changed. Nothing was set in stone except for minimizing the risk to customer orders.
The 2020 storyboard resulted in understanding that the approach to supply chains need to be agile and resilient to establish a competitive advantage even during disruptions. Having strong partners, especially 3PL partners, who understand the need for resiliency is critical for long-term and sustainable success. Can your supply chain handle disruptions with a strong proactive approach? If not, re-evaluating your 3PL partner can help minimize the risk to your customer satisfaction.
READ MORE OF OUR STORYBOARD 2020 SERIES: