The past year has shown more than ever that supply chains must be responsive and flexible in order to deal with market fluctuations and unforeseen issues. In a world where toilet paper can sell out overnight, KFC can run out of chicken and fidget spinners can have a demand of 50 million in two weeks, it’s crucial that wholesalers have the ability to grow or reduce capacity to meet shifting demands.
In the past, the goal was to minimise expenses, control waste, and better match inventory requirements. However, the days of reducing inventory to the smallest possible degree are ending. To respond to unpredictable volatility in the market, businesses need to instead have an Elastic Supply Chain.
In essence, this means having the ability to expand and contract fulfilment capabilities to meet relevant demand at any given time. When successfully implemented, Elastic Supply Chains can scale up or down, even with the most unpredictable patterns of demand.
So, what are the essential elements for an Elastic Supply Chain?
Overall, having a lot of quality, proven, accurate data is critical for an elastic supply chain to work successfully. It is with this real-time information that artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and warehouse automation can also work more effectively. For example, AI can help predict and forecast risks, costs, and demand, whereas machine learning is the best way to expect the unexpected and forecast demand in detail.
However, creating real-time information requires wholesalers to have an end-to-end IT infrastructure where all systems integrate seamlessly. It is only then that processes become more streamlined, fulfilment becomes more agile and businesses have the flexibility they need to survive and thrive.
To find out how Accord can give you an Elastic supply chain, please contact us.