How does lean manufacturing prepare for supply chain issues like Covid-19?
For more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected just about every aspect of business operations. The global pandemic has also had an impact on the supply chain around the world, which has caused lengthy delays in production and shipment. Items that were previously relatively fast to manufacture and ship, such as bicycles, furniture, and appliances, now have lengthy wait and delivery times. Resiliency and learning to adapt to problems that can disrupt the global supply chain are key to preparing for supply chain disruptions, as C Tek Lean Solutions explains.
Plan for the Future
The COVID-19 pandemic caught many businesses unprepared. Although some businesses had disaster preparedness and planning strategies in place, many did not. Companies without disaster planning systems have learned that preparing for future supply chain disruptions will be essential for their businesses to continue operating even in challenging times. One way that companies can prepare for disruptions in the future is by making their supply chains more visible. That means identifying areas of potential vulnerability and developing defenses and improvements to make them stronger.
Supply Chain Diversification
While events like a global pandemic are rare, it’s not uncommon for certain parts of the world to be affected by disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, and other natural events. By diversifying their supply base, companies are in a better position to weather the negative effects of a supply chain disruption. A company that sources all of its supply materials from China, for instance, will be severely affected if China’s production operations are shut down due to a natural disaster. Having suppliers in various areas of the country or the world will help mitigate the impact to the supply chain if production slows in one area.
Product Line Innovation
Some companies have also explored other options and solutions when faced with supply chain disruptions. Companies that relocate may bring their supply chain with them. Alternatively, companies may bring some aspects of production in-house. By changing the product line to adapt to current needs, businesses are more likely to make improvements in their production cycle. A flexible and adaptable production cycle means that businesses have a better chance of keeping their customers happy and satisfied, which also plays a large role in the company’s success during and after a disaster.
Technology, particularly automation, is also a main ingredient in success when mitigating the impacts of a disaster. During COVID-19, when many workplaces were forced to adopt a work-from-home strategy, companies that used robots and automation technology were capable of functioning at a more normal capacity. Automation is viewed as an even more essential aspect of business now, as many businesses are still working either entirely remotely or operating with limited staff on site. Along with allowing businesses to continue operating during challenging times, automation is also attractive as a means to lower operating costs compared to human labor.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the world’s supply chain. Companies like C Tek Lean Solutions are continually striving to find ways to improve their processes and address shortcomings to fare better in the future.