Business Automation and Software Blog

Minimizing Supply Chain Operation Disruption During COVID-19

Posted by Robert Baran on Wed, May 06, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

On March 11, 2020, The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This has had a major impact on the exchange of goods across the globe. Social distancing has disrupted labor-intensive processes that rely on people working in close contact with each other. Raw materials are in short supply because of closed borders and labor shortages.

It’s difficult to predict where the disruptions will be felt most. Consumer packaged goods are in shorter supply due to panic buying, or an imbalance now between residential and professional grade product supplies. Lockdowns in China and India are impacting the availability of prescription drugs in the US.

Supply chain operations are experiencing “shifting bottlenecks,” which is not a new concept for supply chain experts. With multi-tiered supply chains that operate in stages, correcting one bottleneck in the process often creates a new bottleneck at the next weakest link in the process. In times like this, it’s difficult to know what the next concern area will be. There’s no precedence for this scale of disruption.

But even as global supply chain operations struggle, local manufacturing and distribution sectors have never played a more important part than now.

Diversify Supplier Support

In response to supply chain operation disruption, many organizations are now beginning to diversify their supplier base by partnering with local suppliers. One way to get started is through a digitalized supply chain, which allows organizations to invite suppliers to tender for the supply of local goods and services through a supply chain portal.

SYSPRO offers such a supply chain portal, an interactive web self-service ERP platform for customers that resides within their ERP. The Supply Chain Portal minimizes document handling and other manual activities, while facilitating internal cross-functional collaboration. It improves corporate governance by enabling online engagements with customers and suppliers, which have further governance functionalities as well as traceability of the participants. Any inappropriate behavior can easily be identified by auditing the system.

Alleviate Bottlenecks by Refocusing Production

Other countries are looking to more creative ways to alleviate shifting bottlenecks. For example, Australia has urged companies to re-tool and shift to a “war-time” style of manufacturing. This style of manufacturing dates back to World War II when factories were tasked with producing critical supplies needed for the war effort, such as war materials and equipment. Only for COVID-19, the government is offering financial packages to incentivize factories to manufacture more critical supplies for this “war,” such as masks and hand sanitizer, in addition to their standard products

ERP Technology Helps Maintain Business Continuity

While the WHO is calling for businesses, governments, and individuals to be vigilant and change the disease’s trajectory, many businesses are looking toward social distancing and the possibility of remote work. Complete remote working strategy may not always be feasible for the manufacturing and distribution sectors. But by investing in technology, such as an enterprise resource planning solution, organizational users can easily connect at any time, from anywhere, and still ensure that the organization continues to operate successfully. With SYSPRO Avanti, SYSPRO’s Web Interface, choose the device that best meets the task at hand—whether in the office, on the shop floor, or from home—and continue to work just as before.

Due to the pandemic, additional receiving and manufacturing process steps can be temporarily added over and above the current process steps in your ERP system to include further quality assurance activities like wiping down surfaces or spraying goods with chemical cleaners before allowing them into the warehouses or manufacturing floors.

PositiveVision Puts the Right Technology in Your Hands

With the appropriate use of technology, adaptable solutions exist for business continuity in this fragile economy. However, the wellbeing of people needs to be the priority, and this should serve as the primary motivation for the use of any technology. The right technology partner can get you started—and from a safe distance appropriate to the current landscape.

Let’s start a conversation. Get in touch with a PositiveVision software consultant today.


Topics: supply chain operations