May 21, 2020

Managing Supply Chain Shock

As our nation and the world grapples with coronavirus, consumers have been faced with new realities that may be the norm for the extended future. Empty shelves, event cancellations, and local store closures are just a few of the many commonalities that we have been experiencing since the coronavirus pandemic changed our everyday lives.

Our consumer spending habits have been disrupted and global supply chains have been shocked. But, unless you’re intellectually curious, passionate about operational efficiencies, or work in a related industry, supply chains are probably the last thing on your mind – until your favorite items are out of stock or on backorder.

Businesses are operating under new protocols meant to protect their workers and limit the potential spread of the virus, which creates a disruption in output and forces them to re-evaluate their inventory practices. Now, more than ever, businesses need to focus on managing the viability of their operations and improving the overall resiliency of their supply chains.

The situation we are in is not something we could have ever fully planned for or anticipated. Even businesses with well thought out risk management and contingency plans are feeling the pressures caused by the pandemic, and the resiliency of their supply chains are being tested. Although we are in knee-buckling times and may be looking for quick ways to “stop the bleeding,” businesses should treat this as an opportunity to proactively evaluate the current resiliency of their supply chains and adopt new practices or strategies to bolster that resiliency in the event of future crises.

Performing a quick pulse check on these basic supply chain factors can help businesses work toward ensuring their supply chains are resilient and potentially mitigate some of the challenges that are being faced today. Following are some things to consider:

  • Supplier Flexibility: Diversify your supplier base to enable adjustments, if needed.
  • Mapping and Monitoring: Understand the location of your suppliers and their supply chains to ensure geographic diversity.
  • Build a Buffer: Plan your inventory in advance and work with your suppliers to ensure correct levels of safety stock.
  • Supplier Due Diligence: Assess any potential risks associated with onboarding a new supplier to your operations and conduct periodic reviews of already integrated suppliers to catch issues and resolve them quickly.
  • Insurance Protection: Purchase or renew insurance to cover any profits that may be lost.
  • Supplier Relations: Build trust-based relationships with your suppliers and identify opportunities for mutual benefit, in order to enhance the ability to create value to each other.

The unexpected happens, and it will continue to happen. Being able to adjust during times of uncertainty and respond to potential risks is easier when businesses are operating with resilient supply chains. Take this time to treat the coronavirus pandemic as a wake-up call to evaluate your business’ operations viability and supply chain resiliency, rather than hope for a future that is crisis free.

Our mission at Kenway Consulting is “To Help and Be Helped.” If the current pandemic has left you or your organization with a desire to improve inefficiencies, we would be happy to listen and lend a helping hand.

We understand that businesses are currently assessing immediate impacts, but what’s even more important is capitalizing on those learnings and being better prepared for what lies ahead. Kenway can help you with a successful recovery or plan for the next disruption. Reach out to us at and let us know how we can be of help.

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