Published Monday 5th July 2021

The last year has been dominated by supply chain turbulence to a level not before seen.

Britain’s exit from the European Union – a process begun in 2017 – still continues to cause a whole myriad of problems for businesses. When coupled with an evolving global pandemic, it’s understandable that companies feel like this is one of the hardest periods in living memory.

However, there is light on the horizon. As the UK and countries around the world begin preparations for life alongside COVID, rather than in the shadow of, businesses must ensure they have their own exit strategies in place.

Understanding New Supply Chain Challenges

Over the last year, much of the focus has been on Brexit and COVID. While these are the key talking points for many, businesses can’t let these issues overshadow the larger changes before both of these events, those which will outlast both issues.

As has been mentioned a lot in the retail sector, consumer demand has been changing for many years – COVID just increased the volatility of change.

Online demand is perhaps the single biggest issue supply chains need to control. Compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, the world of online allows consumers to change their product source at will, with a speed never before seen.

COVID and Brexit have convinced many businesses to streamline and simplify their supply chains. However, to ensure businesses can keep up and satisfy changing demand, they need to develop more complex and efficient inventory management, which requires excellent communication and planning with a multitude of suppliers.

Building a Future-Proof Supply Chain

The relief for businesses that overcame a turbulent Brexit followed by the COVID pandemic may be palpable, but celebrations cannot lead to complacency. Long-term changes need to be considered to ensure supply chains are ready to combat further modern problems.

One of the first steps recommended for businesses right now is to take stock. Companies have a wealth of data that is often stored but not properly analysed, especially over turbulent periods.

Take the time to analyse and quantify your supply chain performance. Include the cost of sales through different channels, the cost of opportunities missed and the potential additional cost of diversifying your supply chains. This wealth of information can prove invaluable when planning for the future.

Beyond analysis, one of the biggest recommendations is still to think local. A lot of focus in the last year has been about shortening supply chains to help avoid risks associated with global issues like COVID and international disagreements such as Brexit. However, local supply chains offer much more than just safeguarding.

The closer your products or materials are, the more agile they, and you, become. A local supply chain is more able to deal with the rapid changes in markets and sales channels that come as a result of our increasingly digital world.

Leverage Supply Chain Expertise

New supply chain issues can present adaptation challenges for big businesses. As the world begins to look beyond the last twelve months, now is the opportune time to begin what can be a lengthy process of resetting supply chains in preparation for the future.

Here at Expense Reduction Analysts, we’ve helped many major businesses look beyond the pandemic. Our consultants have expertise across many different industries and can help you make sure of your supply chain long-term.

If you’re interested in finding out what we could do for you, why not get in touch with our team today?