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Steps to Move Forward After a Supply Chain Disruption

Any number of causes can lead to major breakdowns in the production or distribution of your products. Whether the catalyst is a terrorist attack, fire, storm, unexpected surge capacity or global pandemic, the results can be devastating for any Silicon Power Corporation distributor. While there is no silver bullet that will eradicate bottlenecks or interruptions altogether, taking these actions will help.


Unpredictable incidents are the very reason that you and your team devoted so much time to devising an emergency preparedness plan. When calamity strikes, you can simply activate it by contacting your alternate suppliers, re-routing components and raw materials to circumvent problem areas, using stockpiled inventory, etc. If elements of your contingency plan seem shaky or disorganized, examine and bolster it when times are relatively calm.


Mapping the supply network is a necessity for modern technology-based manufacturers, who often interface in some way with hundreds and even thousands of vendors and governmental entities. What’s more, those third-party suppliers have their own unique relationships that may place your business at additional risk. Although a thorough scrutiny of your network is time-intensive and costly, the information you glean is crucial in dealing with supply chain bottlenecks or interruptions. Understanding in detail where the process broke down is the first step toward moving forward and preventing a similar event from happening in the future.


During a crisis, teams tend to focus exclusively on putting out the fire, often putting communication on the back burner. Unfortunately, that short-term approach can have long-term negative consequences. During and after a disruption, everyone in your network must be kept in the loop about what happened, how it affects them, what steps are being taken and how they can help. There should be no surprises when it comes to actions such as outsourcing, rerouting your distribution team or changing your supply chain priorities.


Your end users must not be neglected during the chaos of a crisis and its aftermath. Through it all, be sure to let your buyers know what is happening, including any changes to delivery times

Transparency from you is far better than if they were to learn about your issues from a different source.


After the dust settles and you have breathed a collective sigh of relief, it’s time to conduct a postmortem via a formal audit. Either in-house or with the assistance of a consultant, examine all of your systems and procedures with a fine-toothed comb to learn what caused the interruption and to determine how the measures you put in place helped or hindered your ability to handle the situation. Use the data to hone your response strategies so that the next one has less impact on your organization.


After living through a crisis, it may seem permanently imprinted on your team’s mind, but time marches on. It won’t be long before the lessons you learned will fade into the background, replaced by other priorities. Before that happens, document the incident and how you responded, included which steps proved to be effective and which were not. Then make relevant adjustments in your emergency plan, and disseminate it to all stakeholders.

Your complex supply chain network can be rocked by a host of human-made or natural disasters. While occasional snags and all-out interruptions cannot be totally avoided, planning, transparency and communication can soften the blow.

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