Like most of us, the global supply chain has never seen an event quite so severe and far-reaching as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Previous major incidents – including the SARS epidemic and earthquakes in Taiwan and Japan – may have presented challenges to worldwide businesses, but the scope of this particular crisis is bigger than anything we have witnessed before in terms of the number of people and countries affected and the length of time it is likely to demand ‘special measures ’be kept in place.
What does this mean for the global supply chain?
Well, in short, it’s experiencing major disruption. The past few decades have seen much of the world’s supply of raw materials, components (and in some cases finished goods) being sourced from Asia – and China in particular. The pandemic hit this corner of the world earlier than anywhere else and manufacturing facilities here were therefore amongst the first to halt production. The majority of the goods the factories made were not destined for domestic consumption and were therefore on their way to other businesses based elsewhere.
How does this affect UK businesses?
The main issue is that even those businesses can continue operation throughout the crisis need a fully functioning supply chain to allow them to serve their customers. Regardless of whether they are manufacturers or retail organisations, they need the parts and goods which go into their products or make up their offerings. Any disruption in the availability of raw materials, components or stock will leave them unable to fulfil orders or, in some cases, continue to trade.
What can be done to overcome this challenge?
There are undoubtedly learnings for the future which should involve a focus on resilience within supply chain management – i.e. the early identification of challenges and the building in of contingencies to allow a much faster response time. This may simply mean greater diversity in the range of suppliers, but it will most certainly also involve an improvement in transparency and visibility so that everyone knows where their stock is coming from, where it is and how it is being managed.
Effective stock management is what PLM Global are all about
We help our clients to supply their customers. More than that, we ensure that they can provide them with real-time data and give them a true picture of stock availability, location and lead times.
This, in turn, allows the kind of planning which effective supply chain management is all about. We may not be able to entirely solve the gigantic challenge which something like Coronavirus presents, but we are here to support business continuity in whatever way we can. Even when normality seems like a dim and distant memory, we’ll make sure that we are available to provide, repair and maintain the handheld capture devices, mobile print and EPoS software of all critical workers and allow at least some degree of ‘business as usual’.
If you would like to find out more about PLM Global and the range of products and services we are able to offer then visit contact us here or call and speak to one of our team today.