Supply Chain Resiliency on a Micro Level

Lots has been written about Supply Chain Resilience since the Covid Pandemic started in 2020. Yes, it is important for the overall supply chain to be resilient. Planning for alternate production and supply sources is a good process.?Things fall down is on the local, individual level.?You can have the product you need and no way to get it to an “A” customer faster than normal. There is system resilience in the big picture but sadly the actual system delivery process is not designed for resiliency.

Let’s create a scenario to make this clearer. An “A” level customer has an emergency order from one of their “A” customers. Before ERP’s, TMA’s and warehouse systems were created, the sales person upon hearing from one of the assigned customers has a rush order, might call the plant supervisor, who can create the product by rescheduling some of the production facility in the plant to product the needed product. Maybe it is known a “C” customer shipment can be delayed. Transportation upon learning of the need, can call his biggest and most important carrier and say we need extra truck which needs an expedited delivery. For the volume business regularly tended, they will work to deliver the special need. There would likely be a higher than average cost, but for “A” customer this can be worked out. Plant shipping management would be advised and they would schedule their dock accordingly. The customer receives the product on timely basis. Their business is maintained and when a competitor to shipping organization comes in with a few pennies savings per SKU, the receiving customer remember the service received and says no the competing supplier.?

Today, in our digital world, there are organizations where this is impossible unless you operate out of system, which is not a desired process. When massive systems are created, resiliency on microlevel is many times blocked by the software system design. Plant schedulers cannot reschedule. Transportation cannot expedite. Buyers of the product often can see the big picture, which is incredibly important but may not have visibility to the day-to-day business issues occurring on the local level. Systems need to be designed to allow resilience and responsiveness to business needs.

Those organizations which allow resiliency on a micro-level have this ability will be marketplace winners.

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