Supply Chain Management Risk Mitigation
A functioning supply chain is essential for getting your products from the initial manufacturing stage to the end consumer. However, even small disruptions to the supply chain can have a huge ripple effect, causing delays and negatively affecting your bottom line.
Risk mitigation strategies can help you avoid supply chain delays and other issues. Implementing these strategies is essential for keeping your customers happy and your reputation intact.
Unilog is an innovative 4PL company that can help you take control of your supply chain. Our software allows global companies to view their entire supply chain, find optimal suppliers and shipping partners, and minimize costs. By managing the entire supply chain in one place, we help clients optimize the supply chain and minimize risks.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common supply chain risks as well as key risk mitigation strategies and why they’re important.
Common Supply Chain Risks
There are a variety of different factors that can negatively affect your supply chain. Some of these factors are things that are in your control, while others are not. While risk management won’t completely prevent these things from happening, it will ensure that your organization is prepared to handle these problems if they do arise. Here are some of the most common supply chain risks.
- Natural disasters: Even if they’re happening on the other side of the world, extreme weather events can disrupt your supply chain.
- Political unrest: Unexpected political events can also negatively affect the global supply chain by making certain countries or states inaccessible.
- Supply and demand risk: When supply or demand fluctuates unexpectedly, it can result in a lack of available product, which results in long-term delays. Supply issues can happen when specific necessary materials aren’t available, while demand issues often happen as a result of changing market conditions.
- Internal and external business risks: Changes to your business or the businesses you partner with can also cause changes to your overall supply chain. For example, staffing issues in any part of your business can cause long-term delays. Acquisitions or changes to important business process can also inadvertently affect your supply chain.
Why Risk Mitigation Is Important
Risk mitigation efforts should be a key part of any supply chain strategy. Implementing risk mitigation strategies early on will prevent unwanted expenses later on. Supply chain delays often come with hidden expenses such as customer refunds, additional shipping fees, and overtime for employees, just to name a few things.
Additionally, risk mitigation helps you create a reliably good experience for your customers. When your orders are consistently delivered on time with no quality control issues, you’ll build a reputation as a reliable organization to work with.
Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Strategies
While there’s no strategy that will completely eliminate the risk of delays, there are steps you can take to prevent problems and stay on top of your supply chain.
1. Conduct regular risk audits.
In order to prevent disruptions to your supply chain, you will first need to identify which parts of your organization are most at-risk for problems. Conducting comprehensive supply chain audits at regular intervals will help you stay on top of potential problems. A comprehensive audit will help you uncover potential risks with suppliers and shipping partners, as well as risks within your own operations. Working with a 4PL provider like Unilog is an easy way to conduct regular risk audits with the help of shipping experts to ensure that you don’t overlook anything.
2. Have a diversified pool of suppliers.
When building your supply chain, it’s important to identify a diverse pool of suppliers to work with. Consider environmental and political factors when choosing your supplier pool. This way, if social unrest, natural disasters, or other issues render one supplier unavailable, you’ll have other options. With a diverse supply chain, you won’t lose out on revenue even during challenging times.
3. Ensure you and your suppliers have appropriate insurance.
Reliable insurance coverage protects both you and your customers in the event of a supply chain emergency. Your organization should have cargo insurance and trade credit insurance, and you may also want to consider broader supply chain insurance to protect you in the event of global supply chain disruptions. Your suppliers should also have appropriate insurance coverage to minimize any potential liability to you.
4. Plan for the most probable risks first.
It’s impossible to plan for every potential supply chain risk, so you’ll need to prioritize your risk mitigation strategies. Identify which supply chain disruptions are most likely to happen and create a contingency plan for them. For example, if you work with a material that is heavily impacted by environmental conditions, decide what you’ll do if that material becomes unavailable for any reason.
5. Implement cybersecurity measures for digital supply chain solutions.
In addition to preventing physical supply chain disruptions, you’ll also want to prevent digital supply chain disruptions. Many organizations use software programs and even AI technology to manage various aspects of their business. While technology makes supply chains more efficient and can help prevent shipping errors, it’s also vulnerable to cybercriminals. Implementing cybersecurity solutions like firewalls, anti-virus programs, and remote systems monitoring can protect vulnerable shipping data.
6. Be transparent with your suppliers and partners.
Communication is key for smooth supply chain operations. Be completely transparent with all of your suppliers and shipping partners to avoid unexpected confusion and delays. Communication is also an important factor to consider when selecting partners to work with. Building trust with your suppliers will make it easier to solve problems if they do arise.
7. Consistently monitor delivery metrics to identify problems.
Meticulously tracking your shipping and delivery metrics will give you a detailed look at your business and help you identify which problems to fix. This includes average delivery times, inventory management metrics, financial metrics, and more. Monitoring these key metrics will help your team identify problem areas and make effective changes.
Mitigating supply chain risks on your own can be challenging, especially in today’s rapidly changing market. Companies that ship sensitive equipment or materials are particularly vulnerable, as even the smallest change to your supply chain could cause delays or problems for the end customer. Unilog’s global supply chain solutions gives you the tools you need to reduce risks and make your supply chain more efficient, all with guidance from our expert team.