This article was co-written by Peter Armaly and Vijay Virmani. Peter heads up training and enablement for the North America Customer Success organization and Vijay is his peer in the same org. Vijay's role as a supply chain management SME (Subject Matter Expert) is to create and execute strategies for improving the ability for Oracle's customers to achieve their desired business outcomes through Oracle SaaS applications.
Consumer spending choked, business travel hobbled, restaurants trying and often failing, and sporting events operating with no semblance to their previous forms. These are Covid-19 business outcomes. And although less visible, weakened supply chains are arguably experiencing the biggest impact of all. Demand for some goods and services has sky rocketed creating shortages while demand for some goods and services has declined as stores struggle to adapt to the need to sell in an environment where you cannot conduct business in person.
As the pandemic plays out at different speeds and ferocity around the globe, companies find that suppliers may not be available or are only able to supply at much lower capacity. Trade tariffs and the constraints of established trade agreements have complicated the ability for businesses to respond.
The flip side
A hockey mask manufacturer diverts resources to make protective medical shields. A running shoe manufacturer converts a factory to making non-surgical grade masks. An athletic apparel manufacturer goes all out and makes masks, face shields, medical fanny packs and protective gowns. A couple of automobile manufacturers start manufacturing ventilators. A toy company redirects resources and supplier capability to manufacture disposable surgical masks. Distilleries and craft breweries start making hand sanitizer.
How to approach societal challenges if you’re a business
Should these real examples inspire businesses to transform their products and services as a way to survive the pandemic’s significant disruption? Should companies transform not simply for the survival of their business but, also, for a greater societal good? And if they decide they should change, for whatever reason, would they know how to start?
First, they should ask themselves the following questions:
A robust supply chain software application should be capable of addressing all the changing requirements for such challenging times and help prepare a company for the future.
Short, Medium, and Long-term
Start with a supply and demand evaluation using the application. It should help company executives identify the shortages and overages in the next 4-8 weeks for short term action plan and a further 8-24 weeks out for a medium term plan. Anything outside of 24 weeks out can be treated as a longer term plan.
The short term action plan would include:
For the medium term plan:
In the long term plan:
Is this operating rhythm the new normal?
The supply chain is both a wondrous and fragile apparatus. Normally, it delivers efficiencies and lower cost but our normal way of conducting business has been disrupted. The supply chain’s fragility has been exposed. Things may not be the same again and if you’re a business leader, you must now move fast to survive and to hope to meet customer expectations in the same way you effortlessly managed to do before the pandemic.
But some things are true outside and inside of a pandemic. You can still plan. You can still choose how you respond. You can execute with intelligence if you assess and leverage your strengths. Consider those flip side examples mentioned earlier, the companies that pivoted and managed to transform their business to varying extents in response to the crisis. They didn’t wait for things to clear and get back to normal. They moved.
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