Borgholzhausen, June 11, 2021 – Since last year, one word has often come to the fore when it comes to supply chains: resilience. The specialist medium Logistik Heute has declared it to be the focus topic of the year 2021. But what is behind this and how do companies achieve a resilient supply chain?
Resistant to external influences
Manufacturers and retailers in all industries – from food to pharmaceuticals, from e-commerce to the automotive industry – seem powerless against some force majeure: the Covid-19 pandemic was one of these forces. But not just them. Brexit, the new supply chain law, the Ever Given accident and international trade barriers also posed challenges for both small and large companies. However, it was precisely these challenges that led companies to rethink their supply chains and prepare for future disruptions. Resilient, i.e. resilient, supply chains: the goal of new logistics strategies.
Hard and soft factors promote resilience
But how do you achieve such robustness? Various factors play together here. Some of them can and must even be tackled internally, others require an external logistics partner. One of the first is rethinking one’s own corporate culture. Companies that want to position themselves resiliently have to …
… want to rethink the traditional. “We have always done it this way” with regard to the supply chain will no longer work in the future.
… be ready to make decisions quickly. When a disruption occurs in the supply chain, there is usually no time to discuss decisions at all levels. Flat hierarchies and a healthy level of trust in decision-making executives accelerate decision-making.
In addition to these soft factors, there are others that require a restructuring of one’s own assets and organizational structure:
Rely on digital processes
Change requests in the supply chain usually happen quickly. The response time can be massively shortened through digitization, especially when passing on information to those involved in the supply chain. In addition, digital processes ensure the necessary scalability in the event of spontaneous or severe fluctuations in demand.
Build decentralized supply chains
It was not only clear in vaccine production that relying on the flow of goods from just one direction involves risks. It is therefore important to diversify the supply chains both in terms of procurement and distribution – through a network of production facilities and locations, a large number of suppliers or different procurement sources.
Use flexible logistics space
One’s lull is another’s peak. Covid-19, for example, has given e-commerce providers a boom in demand. Other companies were forced to switch their production to new items – disinfectants, for example. In both cases, it is important to be able to quickly adapt the logistics areas to changes in volume or product type.
Resilience without a partner? Impossible!
Since only very few companies can make use of such extensive in-house logistics capacities, the absolute majority cannot do without logistics partners who support them in building resilient supply chains. Because such partners have the necessary capacities in terms of suitable logistics space, additional staff and scalable technologies that a single company can only build up with difficulty.