Navigating Global Supply Chain Challenges
Ask any business owner today, and they will tell you that business today is harder than it was even a year ago. 2023 has brought about immense disruption in the global supply chain industry. While many of these disruptions result from the COVID-19 pandemic, such problems have become commonplace for years. As a business, though, you cannot afford to have delays to your supply chain. It can cause you to lose out on business, customs, partnerships, and profits. Therefore, finding ways to navigate global supply chain challenges is very important.
Supply Chain Challenges: What Is Causing Global Disruption?
Various reasons have all come together simultaneously to create this deadly cocktail of disruption. The most important place to start is increased demand and constriction within logistics. For example, since 2019, it is estimated that global container shipping rates have quadrupled. In fact, in some of the most prominent trading routes in the world, the rates have increased even more than a fourfold jump.
Another huge impact on the supply chain system is the shortage of labour. Many companies are caught in a vicious cycle: they cannot fulfil their obligations due to staff shortages, so profitability drops. When profitability drops, staff are often the first place where cuts are made. This, in turn, means that service quality and speed are hampered. Over time, these shortages create bottlenecks that mean companies expect staff to work harder for the same pay level as they did beforehand.
As any employer knows, they can only work for so long before productivity decreases and staff fatigue. The global disruption, then, is a side-effect of bottlenecks caused by the pandemics and increasing costs in day-to-day operations thanks to soaring energy and transport costs.
How Can Companies Overcome Global Supply Chain Disruption?
As a small business, you can often do little to make a supplier move faster. If there are mass bottlenecks and delays, then there is usually not much to be done to expedite the process. You could, of course, probably pay more to get the company to prioritise your order – but that hurts your bottom line, which many companies cannot afford to do anymore.
With that in mind, many organisations are turning to automation through AI. The use of AI can help with things like optimising inventory. Suppose there is going to be a natural delay in everything. In that case, the companies that can remain best stocked are those who push harder to get ahead of the uncertainties with AI and automation, which is made much easier through software solutions.
For example, many companies today are using AI to help them avoid two critical problems:
- Over-investing in inventory stock that is not selling at the level it should be
- Under-investing in the inventory goods that are running out of stock regularly
Companies can avoid this annoying bottleneck by having automated inventory adjustments and ordering to ensure that products in demand are ranked ahead of time and out-of-favour products are not re-ordered. They can stay ahead of the competition by re-ordering essential stock before they even close to running out. This can ensure that the items selling, like hotcakes, are always delivered on time, even considering the delays becoming so prominent across the field.
Improving Staff Efficiency Through Automation
Thanks to AI and automation software, companies can free up their staff to do more tasks that require human intervention. AI can be implemented to handle things like inventory management with only minimal human oversight. This frees up staff members who can spend more time on the tasks that need a human touch: order preparation and shipping, dealing with suppliers directly, and customer support.
This makes a business more efficient as its human staff can operate on matters that an AI cannot yet handle. AI can also be extremely useful for forecasting what is and is not popular and deciding what should and should not be ordered. This can give companies the time they need to make an order, get the items they require to sell in the warehouse ahead of time and avoid shortages.
By aligning the inventory purchases to what customers are buying – something that can be automated – in-house staff can get on with their other tasks. This saves time, boosts productivity, and means that the AI inventory purchases only need brief human oversight to look out for potential rounding errors and mistakes.
Overcoming global supply chain challenges can be as simple as being prepared for the events set to arrive soon. Companies who are efficient in their time and planning can ensure that the goods they need to sell arrive on time. AI can ensure that products are ordered to replenish inventory long before the supply runs out; this means that the goods are still there and ready to go even with a delay due to supply chain issues.
For almost any business, implementing tools to automate inventory management can be the most effective way to overcome global supply chain challenges.
Need Help Improving Business Operations?
Thanks to the above, you can hopefully understand the severity of the situation of modern businesses. To help your firm sustain growth in the long term, it helps to partner with companies that can help you overcome logistical headaches like those described above.
One of the best ways to do this is to improve automation while your business operates daily. Investing in a fully managed service from our experts at BlueHub could be just what you are looking for. We provide scalable software solutions that make it much easier to ensure you have the information needed to resolve supply chain disputes.
From ensuring you know that you need to re-stock to giving you insight into your most important products and sales, we make finding essential information much easier. Instead of being caught cold and then let down by suppliers, we can help you build a system that makes tracking every aspect of your business easier. Contact us today to discuss your options and the solutions most suited to you.