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If there’s one thing that the last few years have taught us, it’s that the supply chain can be fragile.

Global pandemics, inventory outages, worker unavailability – these are but a few of the factors that the supply chain can face, and even one of them can cause disruptions to warehouses, retailers, and customers the world over.

Facing these issues can be frustrating at best, and it can start to feel like you don’t have any way out or around these problems. However, with a little proactive planning, there’s a few ways you can make your supply chain more resilient to any issues that may arise, no matter how imposing it all might seem.


How To Prevent Supply Chain Disruptions


Create a multi-source strategy

One of the fastest ways to avoid disruption or timing issues in your supply chain is to create multi-source strategies for your most important inventory. Locate and identify potential suppliers or sources for high-profile, high-volume items to create redundancies in the event of an outage or an issue sourcing product, and work with them to develop a backup plan for your most necessary items. Focus on geographical relevance for these items – finding several suppliers supporting the same base in different regions can help prepare you for supply chain issues that might only affect one area where your customers live.


Improve data sharing with vendors & partners

While every warehouse will have internal data that needs to be kept confidential, increasing the amount of information you can safely share with your partners will keep everyone on the same page, and may help you identify potential disruptions or inventory issues ahead of time.

Whether with your vendors or with a third party analytics firm, create ‘clean teams’ inside your management staff that can share appropriate data on inventory levels, sales, and the like to help analyze the supply chain and provide recommendations back and forth. This can help you get out in front of any potential issues and may reduce the likelihood of problems like stockouts.


Create (or re-evaluate) just-in-time inventory strategies

“Just-in-time” inventory was a huge part of warehouse management for several years prior to 2020. As customers continued to demand shorter shipment times and greater visibility along their order’s journey, just-in-time inventory became a common solution to solving potential shortage of popular items.

These days, however, as the supply chain continues to rebound from the previous few years, just-in-time inventory isn’t as viable of an option as it used to be. Instead, review the suppliers you most frequently turn to, and begin to assess their vulnerabilities and/or the impact a shortage could have on your business. Instead of totally abandoning just-in-time, this could lead to you adopting new strategies for safety stock on your most successful items, or sourcing more locally/regionally to provide backup inventory in the event of a shortage with your primary supplier. This may also require the installation of more warehouse storage and bulk storage racks to manage the changing inventory levels, but the ability to respond better to customer demand will go a long way.


Focus on the day-to-day issues

Having an agile response to the smaller, everyday problems that can crop up in inventory management can go a long way towards preventing bigger issues in the supply chain. Increase communication between your teams and your suppliers in order to more quickly get a hold of things like emergency stock can cover the more day-to-day issues – and when you combine this with the preventative measures we’ve outlined above, your supply chain might be ready for just about anything.

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