5 Steps for minimizing Supply Chain Disruption
Empty shelves and essential maintenance parts and material shortages visible to consumers show the impact of supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic but stoppages and import shortages are the unforeseen backstory. Since the global outbreak of COVID-19 more than 90% of Fortune 1000¹, companies have already suffered supply chain disruption.
Supply chain disruptions also draw attention to our supply chain dependencies that we are otherwise not aware of when everything is operating like a well-oiled machine.
Sometimes these disruptions are small and localized and may affect only a few businesses or industries. Other times they are felt globally, especially when a hard-hit region is the source of a diverse range of supplies.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused a major upheaval in the supply chains of many businesses in the United States, North America, and the world.
Supply chain disruption causes uncertainty and crisis for businesses and consumers. There are an infinite number of factors in MRO (maintenance and repair operations) supply chain disruptions which may affect the cost, timing, or risk.
Below, we highlight five steps to reduce supply chain disruptions:
1. Reserve Inventory
Maintain a balanced inventory level of critical components and essential supplies higher than the necessary required to provide a buffer for any future disruptions. You can use forecasting techniques available in CMMS or EAM software. Make sure that inventory is in available to reduce the impact on operations
2. Have backup Suppliers
Take time to do a risk analysis to identify the weakest links in your supply chain. Then, focus on where you need to find alternative suppliers or products. It will be helpful to assess potential environmental, social, and political conditions that may impact your supply chain and delivery methods.
Diversify the suppliers you use. It is a good idea to have alternative suppliers identified when your current supplier is not able to provide you with the materials or parts you need. The supplier location is suddenly important. if possible, use local suppliers that are not affected by delivery disruptions.
3. Develop a Supply chain emergency plan
It is critical to have a contingency plan in place for the unpredictable. Develop scenarios and plan how you can overcome these. Being prepared for any disruption that might occur will lower the level of disruption in your operation. Make sure you have allocated a budget to carry out the plan in case of an emergency.
4. Risk Analysis
Finding the weakest link in your supply chain will show you where you need to focus on and find alternative suppliers or goods. Consider cybersecurity risks for software used in your facility. Ask your software vendor to provide you details.
5. Use Technology
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Using technology to analyze potential threats. Identify the supplier’s performance and on-time delivery record. AI can help with forecasting needs under different scenarios.
Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) – A well-implemented CMMS will have vendor performance data, use alternate parts suppliers, help you eliminate duplicate parts, identify material/parts not used, and obsolete parts. Parts usage projection capability will help you forecast needs and optimize costs, quantities, and delivery times.
Supply chain disruptions are the new normal. With planning, you can prepare for it and minimize costly disruptions.
¹ Sherman, Erik. “94% of the Fortune 1000 are seeing coronavirus supply chain disruptions: Report.” Fortune. 21 February 2020.
Barbara van der Walt
Eagle Technology, Inc.