A resilient supply chain is one that has learned to adjust itself to constant changes, even when conditions are difficult. These supply chain networks are those which are able to quickly and reliably scale to fulfill new market demands as and when consumer demands change. In this article we will discuss the characteristics of resilient supply chain and how these features can help companies in their quest for increased profit.
There are several characteristics that we must first understand and then to consider when determining if a supply chain is robust or not. First and foremost, a resilient supply chain would have a high degree of flexibility, being able to respond to sudden changes in demand by easily establishing a pre-canned buying pattern (or a delayed one). The second characteristic is resilience to external disturbances and interference. In a robust supply chain, internal in nature, the barriers to change are effectively nullified by the successful operation of the network. This is not the case in a supply chain with limited capacity for flexibility.
Another characteristic to consider is the absence of a single-point failure or outage that ties down the entire network. Mapping, operational tempo, inventory management, forecasting, and forecasting data are some of the critical inputs in a robust supply chain. The absence of any of these factors would lead to the likelihood of operational glitches and the consequent loss of momentum and business.
An additional point that characterizes a resilient supply chain resilience is the absence of sudden shocks to the system. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes cannot disrupt the supply chain overnight. Even when they do, it does not last long enough to cause major disruptions. Likewise, disruptions caused by human error do not last long enough to have a significant impact on the business. Delays, mistakes, missed calls, and other such events take place every now and then, but they do not translate into large-scale interruptions.
A final aspect of resilient supply chain technologies relates to the timeliness with which they are introduced. In the face of sudden changes, companies are typically reluctant to make changes. The introduction of new technology should be gradual so that the effect is felt gradually over time. For this reason, the best strategies for improving supply chain resilience are those that embrace forward planning so that business leaders can adapt the system as it becomes more effective.
To enhance supply chain functionality, supply chains need to adopt rapid implementation strategies that take the shortest path between points of breakdown. This ensures that key processes are kept working smoothly. It also facilitates the smooth flow of information between all stakeholders, allowing logistics providers and manufacturers to address issues easily while avoiding delays that can be disruptive to business operations.