A four-step guide to global supply chain visibility and risk management

6/10/2020
A Four-Step Guide to Global Supply Chain Visibility and Risk Management

Recent events likely have affected your global supply chain – but you’re not alone. Almost every industry and business is struggling with one or both of these scenarios:

  • The inability to get the raw materials needed to create products
  • An overabundance of products gathering dust due to decreased demand

No matter which scenario your business is facing, it’s likely affecting your bottom line. Whether it’s changes to profits and losses, erosion of margin, or difficulty managing working capital, you need the ability to handle uncertainty. These four steps can help you manage the current uncertainties and enable proactive decision-making.

Assess

1. Assess

Ask yourself: Where and to what extent are your global supply chain and margin affected?

  • Segment and risk rank your supplier base by considering key factors, including contributed revenue, country, and product line.
  • Identify those suppliers that are affected by volume changes, both increases and decreases.
  • Develop risk mitigation plans and actions for working with high-risk suppliers.
Strategize

2. Strategize 

Ask yourself: What options do you have to monitor and lessen the impact of a disruption?

  • Understand any potential impacts to high-risk products, including supplier overlaps, the supplier’s financial viability, and country or political risk.
  • Define key risk performance measures to monitor for suppliers that are defined as high risk or critical.
  • Determine which key contract and service-level agreements might be affected by changes in volume and demand.
  • Identify necessary action items during a disruption, making sure to consider different types and categories of disruptions.
  • Understand if technology could support risk monitoring and what supplier data you need to implement that technology.
  • Implement the right technology to support risk monitoring.
Execute

3. Execute

Ask yourself: How can you evaluate solutions, manage supply chain risk, and address roadblocks?

  • Encourage organizational support of plans and needed changes. You need to have support from leadership, as well as each department, to execute across the organization.
  • Drive the “heavy lifting” while managing unintended impacts. Although challenges may surface along the way, make sure they don’t derail your overall goal.
  • Implement processes with metrics to sustain benefits. The more you can prove that what you’re doing is working, the better chance that your organization will continue to implement changes.
  • Deploy proactive processes for resiliency and visibility. It’s not enough to react to events; you need to go on the offensive and make sure you’re prepared for any future disruptions. You must know your downstream supply chain and where you are vulnerable.
Optimize

4. Optimize

Ask yourself: When can you assess your plan to address other affected areas and further improve?

  • Plan for future improvement, including identifying resources and developing strategies.
  • Monitor and develop change management activities and procedures – updating them regularly based on current circumstances and past outcomes.
  • Use supplier changes to develop or update a business continuity management plan.
  • Provide visibility to the plan and consider the impact throughout your global supply chain.

Most organizations never could have expected the current disruptions, but now you can learn from them to both manage the challenges of today and effectively plan for next time. If you’re looking for more assistance with supply chain visibility and risk management, we can help.

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Mike Varney
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Adam Pajakowski
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