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How To Handle Inevitable Supply Chain Disruptions

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

No matter how prepared you think you might be for a typical day at work, there are always at least one or two variables that you aren’t expecting to encounter. Nowhere is this more apparent than in your business’s supply chain. One moment, you may be chugging along as smoothly as ever, but the next you could find yourself struggling to keep up with demand. There is no shortage of potential disruptions that could throw your organization for a loop, from labor issues to natural disasters. Whatever the commotion, being able to react appropriately to the situation is of the utmost importance.

Unfortunately, many companies still can’t grasp how critical preparation can be for their success. In fact, 44% of companies didn’t have a contingency plan for a disruption involving vendors from China. Needless to say, these enterprises are setting themselves up for a rude awakening the next time a cargo ship sinks or a port closes.

Protecting Your Company From Supply Chain Disruptions

Although the risk of disruption is high, the good news is that there are several steps you can take to ensure that your business can bounce back from a snag in your supply chain. You may never be able to prevent every surprise along the way, but with a little forethought, you should be able to spare yourself the worst of the effects.

For instance, one of the most important things you can do to prepare for the unexpected is to create an emergency plan. This involves looking at a worst-case scenario regarding your logistics for raw materials and products and finding alternatives. This type of planning can make it much easier to switch gears in the event of a significant problem.

Diversifying your supplier base is another important step that too few businesses take. If, for example, all your suppliers are based in one part of the world, a disaster such as an earthquake could wipe out your pipeline in a single day. Spreading out your vendors for materials and components means you can continue working, albeit in a slightly reduced capacity. You at least would have more flexibility to keep your operations rolling while you find a more permanent solution. Developing relationships with backup suppliers also means you can avoid missing a beat if issues occur.

Failure to plan is a plan for failure, and your supply chain is a very expensive place to learn that lesson. For more tips, you can use to avoid disruptions, take a look at the accompanying resource.

Infographic created by WSI

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