Plants and the Supply Chain post Covid-19

Maybe you heard in your career a company leader bragging, how he designed the new or rebuilt to have no room for inventory, to keep down inventory costs and yes, force a manufacturing discipline. Certainly I heard some of these type comments. Sometimes just viewing a production facility will tell you that was the way it was designed. While no inventory practices looked good then, times have changed.

No doubt the Covid 19 will lead to restructuring of the Supply Chain, when everyone can catch their breathe. Some of that effort should be spent looking at the operational facilities which your organization either owns or operates.

Certainly in the silo of manufacturing, it is darn easy to ignore other issues outside the basic production design, but supply chain should take a seat in the process (as well as other groups in the organization). Let’s take a look at inbound supplies, plant operation, and shipments to the customer.

One of the process change likely to occur is to go away from a single source supplier, which was urged upon us last century and early this. Does the single dock door for inbound supplies that many medium size facilities have work in an environment of multiple suppliers. Will there be a need to stock supplies in a nearby warehouse?

Production is likely to redesigned with physical distancing restraint’s in planning for labor operations in the plant. How will that affect dock space? If more inventory in needed in an uncertain environment, is worth the cost? How will it be handled?

Trucking today, spring 2020, is plentiful but that will not always be case. Many are predicted shortages in 2021. How do you make facilities driver friendly while maintaining security and safety? Signed documents probably will be a thing of the past except when there is exception which needs to be noted on the bill of lading. Computing power for electronic documents may need to be created.

How is customer demand likely to change? What service standards will be valued? What will be needed from a transportation

Certainly one wants to explore supply chain change outside your door of your operation. Plan also to take a seriously look inside to company production operation processes and determine how they need know be changed to reduce risk and decrease long term costs.

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