How do you define “supply chain”? We consider the supply chain to include product creation to delivery to the end user and all the steps in between.

Since the pandemic, we have experienced a lot of disruption to the supply chain. This is particularly true if you source products that land in the West Coast harbors. How can you protect yourself from these disruptions whether they are once in a lifetime or the occasional missteps that befall all organizations from time to time?

1. Make supply chain a priority for your organization.

  • Integrate it with a multidisciplinary approach. Not just purchasing, but finance, marketing, sales etc.
  • Monitor your suppliers to understand their risks and ability to recover, plan accordingly
  • View your suppliers as a major resource and work with them to overcome any temporary setbacks

2. Create/cultivate a team to deal with ongoing issues

  • New product introductions, plan for initial inventory, plan for arrival of said inventory, plan for promotion in marketing, plan for focus in sales
  • Invite suppliers to meetings so they understand your process and their responsibility

3. Look first to technology as your solution

  • Leave behind the current paradigm or be prepared to be left behind in the marketplace
  • AI can help with many facets of distribution
    • Customer segmentation
    • Product segmentation
    • Demand planning
    • Product movement in warehouse

4. Conduct industry analysis

  • Do you know the potential for the products you sell in your market?
  • Do you know what your share of that market is?
  • Can you readily identify new products that your existing customers might need?
  • Any existing vendors that can be used for new products, or must new relationships be established?

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