Need for an Agile Supply Chain post pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains around the world. As the pandemic caused lockdowns on a global scale, consumers’ attitudes, behaviors and purchasing habits shifted quickly, leaving companies and their supply chains scrambling to adjust. In the days, weeks and months that followed, a spotlight was put on companies’ ability, or lack thereof, to quickly adapt to external factors. Admittedly, not every supply chain challenge will be as extreme as the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing worldwide lockdown; however, the fact remains that an agile supply chain is critical to react to sudden changes in supply and demand.

What is an Agile Supply Chain?

Agility is the ability of an organisation’s supply chain to adjust to consumer demand changes, market fluctuations, and the shortening lifespan of products. Agile supply chains emphasize flexibility and receptivity, responding quickly to changes in demand, customer preference, and industry. An agile approach balances current data with short-term forecasts. Industries such as fast-fashion have adopted an agile process to introduce new trends as quickly and affordably as possible. Production needs to keep pace with changing and emerging trends. Flexibility and efficiency are both essential to get a product onto shelves and into consumers’ hands before the next big thing comes along.

The need for an Agile Supply Chain

With the disruptions caused by COVID-19, it’s clear an agile supply chain can be beneficial to any industry. Keeping essential supplies such as medical supplies, food and other key necessities moving continues to be vital to our pandemic response. Adding contingency plans and agility to supply chain operations is imperative in situations like this and should be a priority for companies. In my experience as a supply chain expert, here are the ingredients to build an agile supply chain:

  1. Collaborative Relationships: Work together with carriers, suppliers, and logistics providers to develop and execute strategies that help companies grow their businesses, provide innovative solutions, improve efficiency and optimise supply chain.
  2. Build an agile team: While defining the S&OP policies to integrate the agile supply chain, ensure that an accountable team is assigned to drive process changes and ongoing change management. To effectively implement an agile supply chain, the team must exchange information with their suppliers, be alerted to external changes and market trends, and be aware of impending disruptions.
  3. Information Integration: Visibility is a crucial element of an agile supply chain. Using real-time data, companies and employees must be able to react and change course quickly. To achieve this, it is important to track and display critical data points using the right technology.
    4. Demand Management Forecasting: Advanced analytics with multiple data sources is crucial to stay on top of customer demand patterns. Invest in these tools to better predict market fluctuations.

Pankaj Bakshi is the Chief Operating Officer of Freight Systems’ Middle East region, where he oversees the company’s GCC Locations (UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and KSA). He is an international logistics expert with more than 22 years of experience. Linkedin Profile:

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