6 supply chain challenges companies face today and how to solve them

February 08, 2021

Supply chain challenges and how to solve them

Technology has advanced tremendously, solving many of the supply chain challenges bugging companies today. Nevertheless, it would be naive to claim that the challenges of supply chain management have decreased compared to past times. On the contrary, the globalization, and then trade sanctions, Brexit, eCommerce revolution, pandemic – these are all factors that overcomplicate the already complex supply chain management, especially for small and medium companies lacking the resources of big corporations.

Being aware beforehand of the most common supply chain issues can save you a lot of headaches if you’re entering the game just now. Even if the pandemic ends tomorrow, it’ll take time for the society and economy to stabilise. As a matter of fact, even at perfectly prosperous times, supply chain issues would still exist.

6 supply chain management issues and their solutions

First and foremost, it’s important to identify the supply chain challengesyour company faces and not turn a blind eye to them. Then it’s imperative to work on fixing them. Some of these challenges will persist but if you learn to keep them under control, you’ll minimise the damage.

Let’s take a look at the most common supply chain management issues and how they can be solved.

Excess inventory

Excess inventory is one of the most common supply chain issues. But with product philanthropy, you can turn a losing situation into one that benefits both those in need and your bottom line. In other words, by donating your excess inventory, you can both help charities in need while taking advantage of a little-known tax break.

You can seek out free help from a gifts-in-kind organization. These groups are 501c3 nonprofits that act as go-betweens for companies with inventory to donate and qualified nonprofits in need.

The way it works is that a corporation ships their items to a gifts-in-kind organization. In turn, charitable access as much of the gifts-in-kind’s available products as they want, picking up the cost of shipping the items to them. The only stipulation is that the charitable groups have to either use the items themselves or give it to those in need in their community. They are not permitted to sell it.

Gary C. Smith, NAEIR

Miscommunication

The most common supply chain issue I see time and time again is miscommunication or misunderstanding of requirements leading to client needs not being met.

This can be solved by providing a written specification or work instruction that both client and supplier have read and agreed to ahead of time.

The specification should state, in clear language, what the client requires and the supplier should be given the opportunity to provide feedback or raise questions on its content prior to order placement.

We have seen a significant reduction in errors and issues with our supply chain since implementing specifications at the quotation stage.

Craig McCord, Founder & Editor of Powerlifting Perfection

Shipping capacity

Shipping capacity, especially during surge periods, can bring supply chains to a grinding halt. Many industries are currently feeling the pain of disruption caused by capacity shortages in last-mile delivery as the global pandemic has created a surge in online ordering and contact-less delivery requests.

It’s important that businesses create plans in advance of capacity challenges to ensure there is no disruption to their supply chains. Crowd-sourced solutions are an effective way to address capacity shortages, as they allow businesses to quickly scale up their capabilities quickly and seamlessly with networks of vetted, independent professionals.

 Businesses should look for a crowdsourcing logistics partner that thoroughly vets and background checks all referred contractors and supports projects with comprehensive insurance coverage, load tracking, proof of delivery, and billing support.

These on-demand solutions can provide essential services and keep supply chains moving, even when traditional carriers are stretched.

Shaun Savage, CEO and Founder of GoShare

Staying behind the curve

The #1 challenge of supply chain management is that it is constantly evolving.

Advanced technologies certainly help to improve the modern supply chain. It is critical that we are not only keeping up but that we are staying ahead of the curve. We solve this problem by finding scalable solutions that allow flexibility for anything the industry throws at us. 

For example, Ro-Ro, or Roll-on Roll-off, is the traditional method of shipping finished vehicles. This method can be challenging due to time, shipment, and volume constraints. Instead, we adopted containerized shipping which broadened our reach in the market and has allowed us to service more lanes safely and at increased efficiency.

Joseph Giranda, Director of Commercial Relations at CFR Rinkens

Speed to market

We often see customers focus closely on the amount of time their shipments are processed through our warehouse and logistics centres, instead of the entire supply chain. Our processes could take 24-48 hours while the time from the source to our facility is upwards of a month.

Our experience is that to improve speed to market it is imperative that one takes a holistic view of the entire supply from origin to the goods final destination. In our experience with some process mapping, along with some critical analysis of the timelines, we can usually find a day or two in the supply chain long before the goods arrive at our facility to improve this speed.

William McKinnon, President of Canadian Alliance

Lack of data integrity

A common supply chain challenge is a lack of data integrity and the solution is blockchain. Specifically, DL Freight, created by DLT Labs, is the world’s biggest implementation of industrial blockchain to date. This award-winning and market-leading technology seamlessly enables the flow of goods, information, and fees along any supply chain – with less than 1% disputes and a 97% increase in accuracy. It establishes transparency, auditability, and trusted facts which enable smart contracts to automate processes to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. 

Whether it is for frictionless trade finance, factoring, invoicing, automated payments, SLA compliance, OTIF fines and penalties, or other multi-party information exchange, businesses need to know that they are reducing risk, reducing administrative processes, and reducing costs with the best technology on the market.

Loudon Owen, Chair and CEO at DLT Labs

Find the right partners to operate

Conclusion

One could easily conclude that it takes a holistic approach, the right technology, and partners to resolve supply chain challenges . Moreover, it takes constant work to hold the reins and prevent an avalanche of negative reviews, clients screaming at you, and a bad reputation.

More must-read stories from Enterprise League:

Related Articles