Adapting your Operation for the New Normal
Using What Good Looks Like Framework
COVID & The New Normal for Supply Chains
Change is Coming
There have been many improvements made in supply chain operations over the years and indeed recent initiatives like Outsourcing, Offshoring and LEAN, all principally driven to reduce cost, will not be the most important element in the new “ways of working”.
Supply chains as we know them will undoubtedly change, no longer will it be all about cost.
The reality is the cost of an item can be constantly reduced by operating in the environments mentioned above, but if you do not have the specified item you need because the supply chain is compromised then the cost of the item is irrelevant.
Many major players will now incur the cost and time to create end to end supplier network mapping so that they can have visibility and understanding of where their goods are in the delivery cycle at any point in time. This new way of planning is known as concurrency planning and basically means end-end connectivity.
Redundancies will be built in and added to the cost of the item as businesses potentially create dual sourcing channels for the same critical items to ensure supply.
Global Level Companies
Starting with Global level companies, their biggest challenge will be averting risk, relative to supply.
This will involve the review of Nearshoring, meaning to bring production and supply closer to home, sometimes called Re-shoring. Reviews will be undertaken to compare additional cost versus availability.
Reality is, if the cost of an item is incredibly low it does not matter if you cannot get this item because the supply chain is compromised.
Closer to home
Operation of distribution centres, clearly this will vary depending on size. There is no one size fits all, but there are some similar practices that will and should be considered by all players.
Starting with hours of operation, it is highly likely that shift start times will be staggered, allowing people to be socially distanced and human to human interaction be minimized. With special attention to locker rooms, canteens/cafeterias and at prayer.
The new protocols MUST become habit.
- These protocols until we get a vaccine are:
- Temperature Checks for incoming personnel
- Medical support staff on site during working hours
- Wearing Face covering in public.
- Safe distancing.
- Continued hand washing and disinfecting
Protocols will cost
- Increased consumables – PPE – Masks – Hand Sanitizer
- Addendums to existing contracts & SLA’s
- Discussions will be required on who pays
- Doing this up-front will be important.
Physical activity will be driven by warehouse operations
- Put away picking
My view is that not much will change with these activities unless there is a change in store order patterns. For example, if there were more each picking versus case picking versus full pallet picking.
In the case of increased each picking, investment will likely be made in automation with Robots & Cobots limiting human interaction and minimizing potential for mistakes.
- RFID picking should eliminate the need for person to person checking and improve efficiency.
- Deliveries to Outer Islands and stock transfer orders Warehouse to warehouse should all be full pallet transfers. This eliminates person to person interaction between despatch staff and porters and improves loading time and truck turnaround times.
- Smaller loads with higher frequency deliveries need to be co-ordinated with receiving destinations, with new SLA’s to reflect contactless deliveries.
- Goods in the form of totes or equivalent should be confirmed by electronic proof of delivery (ePod) via smartphone and that picture should be uploaded to the customer’s order interface.
- The implementation of tech-driven portals enabling customers to track progress of goods end-end the term is Concurrency.
The process of making and managing synchronized plans across time horizons – business processes – and organizational boundaries, all at the same time.
Eliminating volatility is impossible, managing it does not have to be.
Smart businesses will have learned what their customers pain points are because of COVID and adjust their processes to accommodate.
COVID has caused a lot of businesses to review their on-line presence, a lot of businesses have not been keeping up with relevant information on their products. A lot of effort has been applied to update their information to ensure customers are aware of their status, and in some cases, their changed hours of operation.
More and more employees working from home (WFH) means that the business cybersecurity house need to be in order.
Lessons learned today will likely be the way the business operates in the future.
Keeping connected with your employees who are WFH, one way to do it is by sending out simple surveys, these serve as a check-up.
An Acronym worth noting
VOLATILITY, UNCERTAINTY, COMPLEXITY and AMBIGUITY.
Businesses should be thinking about:
V = Vision, the path may be different, but the end game is the same.
U = Understanding, your people’s emotions are high.
C = Communicate, be clear and concise.
A = Agile, changing things is OK, but do it quickly and accurately.
Pictures of deliveries taken by driver’s smartphone will be uploaded to customer sales dept./order desk providing electronic proof of delivery (ePod) and linked to invoice payment.
The smartphone will have a pre-loaded cash wallet to enable payment of Fuel, Parking, and Meals, eliminating the need for petty cash.
This is also a chance for businesses to think about how they implement all the important initiatives that they have been meaning to do.
Again, there is not one size fits all, but a lot of businesses have been thinking about sustainability in the new normal.
How do we work greener? How do we work smarter?
How about our employees, is there a way to address “Life Work Balance”?
Are 4-day work weeks possible?
If you know where you are, it’s easier to get to where you want to be.
- Understand your baseline
- What are your concerns?
Sometimes you just need to talk to an independent person, share thoughts ideas and concerns.