How COVID-19 could change the way we work with suppliers in the future

COVID-19 is forcing businesses to change the way they work with their supply chain. Over recent decades, supply chains have globalised, specialised and become much leaner, but has this potentially led to a more exposed breakdown of co-operation? 

A recent report suggests that Coronavirus Is a Wake-Up Call for Supply Chain Management with only a small number of businesses mapping out their supply chain network before the Pandemic emerged.

So, how could COVID-19 change the way we work with suppliers in the future?


Movement towards digital supply networks  

 A recent report from Deloitte details how COVID-19 has highlighted the need to transform traditional supply chain models and look ahead to the longer-term solution of digital supply networks.

Traditional supply chains can often be rigid, involving huge amounts of manual processes and make shifting suppliers a complex task. 

By making buyers and sellers digitally connected, all parties benefit from increased access to data, highlighting what is happening across the supply chain, whilst allowing us to learn from previous disruptions and switch to back up suppliers when needed.


Businesses will seek suppliers with decentralised logistics and stock keeping

When a crisis hits, customers want to know their suppliers are flexible enough to adapt. Businesses with decentralised logistics and stock keeping can do this, as they are not tied down to one area and if one location has problems with staffing or mobility, others can step in to bridge the supply gap.


Crisis management – critical suppliers on retainers

It is difficult for any business’s continuity plans to include the fast moving and unknown variables of an outbreak such as COVID-19. However, it is likely that in the future emergency and contingency plans will have a greater emphasis on health and safety. With many businesses opting to have a list of critical suppliers available on retainer contracts dependant on the emergency.


Reduced emphasis on cost savings

Procurement decisions can still very much be driven by cost savings. In hard economic times this is understandable. However, the service wrap benefits of working with a reliable supplier network, who you can trust to deliver the products you need, when you need them and is flexible to adapt to changes quickly and effectively is priceless, especially during a global crisis.


Businesses will develop trusted networks, made up of suppliers, customers and competitors

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that to get through times of global crisis we all need to work together. This means extending communication links to suppliers, customers and competitors in order to share ideas and innovate accordingly. This is strongly echoed by the recent move by the Government to allow retailers to share data, co-operate to keep shops open, share distribution depots and allow retailers to pool staff to help meet demand. 


How can OfficeTeam help?

As businesses respond to the operational and financial challenges of COVID-19, OfficeTeam is here to help. In these uncertain times, you may need a backup supplier that can help with essential PPE products that you can’t source from your normal supplier. Or you may be a retailer seeking products you have never had to procure before. As a business we are flexible to adapt to your needs. Contact us today.  

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