Building a solid supply chain is essential for many businesses that handle all sorts of goods. Managing logistics, suppliers and inventory helps business owners to ensure they can keep things going and maintain smooth operation. But there can sometimes be problems in the supply chain that make it more difficult to keep your business running. When there are disruptions, you can find that everything becomes a lot harder. You might struggle to keep your inventory stocked and deliver your orders.
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent disruption and secure your supply chain. You can also make sure you're prepared to face any disruptions that you can't prevent, such as political situations or shortages that might affect your business.
The physical security of your supply chain is one of the first things you should address. This can include things like preventing theft and tracking shipments to prevent losses. There are various threats that your business can experience that could cause serious disruptions or cause a loss of stock and money. Some of the steps you might take to improve physical security could include using locks in appropriate places, including when transporting goods, inspecting factories and warehouses, and making sure to carry out background checks on employees. All of these things could help secure your business's supply chain.
As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, it's essential to be prepared for any disruptive events that could affect your business. These aren't necessarily easy to predict, but you can still try to prepare for them. These events could include social and political events happening around the world that might cause shortages of certain materials or products, or delays in the delivery of your usual goods. You might prepare for these in a few ways, from ensuring you have alternative suppliers available to knowing what materials you could use to replace one you're not currently able to find.
Relationships with suppliers and others in your supply chain are a crucial factor in keeping it secure. By building good relationships, you can make sure you're able to maintain an efficient supply chain, perhaps even during hard times. If you have found a silicone manufacturer or a delivery service you rely on, working on your business relationship can protect you in the future. You will have strong contacts you can reach out to when necessary and perhaps even vendors who will prioritize your business when it matters most. So work on ensuring your relationships with suppliers and other supply chain partners are positive.
As well as physical security, modern businesses need to consider threats to the digital security of their supply chains. When you are using a number of digital tools to help your supply chain run smoothly, you have to consider what vulnerabilities could exist. It's important to consider things such as IT vulnerabilities, malware attacks, unauthorized access to your ERP and other threats that could cause disastrous problems. Securing your organization's data and ensuring any software developed by another company remains safe are two key steps your business needs to take to secure your supply chain from digital threats.
You might have your preferred supply chain partners who are providing a service you're happy with. However, if these were ever not available to you, it's crucial that you know how you would keep your supply chain going. Having backup supply chain partners will help you to plug any gaps that could be left unexpectedly. For example, perhaps your preferred logistics company isn't able to provide you with their usual services. You should have another approved company that you can turn to so that you can keep things going without too much disruption.
Cash flow management is a big part of protecting your supply chain too. The two things are interlinked and you need to think about how one can affect the other. For example, if there was a disruption in your supply chain, how would that affect your cash flow? How long would your business be able to keep going? Carrying out cash flow forecasting can help you ensure you have a good idea of what your business's future looks like. You might also benefit from considering how you would address issues with your cash flow, such as obtaining a line of credit or taking out a loan.
Securing your business's supply chain will help you to futureproof your company. There are multiple ways to do it, so explore what you need to do.