Organizations are dealing with high levels of supply chain fatigue right now. Here are six strategies for minimizing it.
Running efficient supply chains is hard work, and the task has gotten even more complicated and risky over the last two years. Where in the past the supply chain may have run in the background like a well-oiled machine, nearly all aspects of it have come under some level of scrutiny since the pandemic emerged in early-2020.
This has put new pressures on supply chain leaders, who are reassessing their strategies, developing new approaches and applying more technology in this critical area of their operations. As a result of the extra time, energy and resources being allocated to the cause, supply chain fatigue has undoubtedly already set in for many of them.
“Two years into the pandemic and the supply chain issues it has caused, businesses of all sizes are weary of the added complexity around maintaining stock, experiencing shortages and dealing with price increases,” PYMNTS says.
“We hear people talk about the global pandemic, the ‘Where is my order?’ — WISMO — the Zoom fatigue,” Logicbroker’s Niki Antonelli told PYMNTS, “and now people are talking about supply chain fatigue.”
What is Supply Chain Fatigue?
A term used to describe an overall feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, fatigue can take its toll on a smooth-running supply chain and impact everyone that comes in contact with it, runs it and/or relies on it. Here are six ways your company can reverse the trend and either eliminate or relieve any supply chain fatigue that it may be dealing with right now.
- Don’t work in a vacuum. Companies are putting more emphasis on communication and visibility with their suppliers, customers and employees. They’re also keeping each other up to date on order statuses, opening up the lines of communication between trading partners and utilizing supply chain visibility platforms and other technology tools to drive the friction out of the supply chain management process.
- Support your employees. Creating a great employee experience is an important part of avoiding or eliminating supply chain fatigue during uncertain times. It’s particularly important when there’s a labor shortage in full effect and the national unemployment rate is hovering just under 4 percent. “[This] builds loyalty at a time of labor shortages,” PYMTS notes, “and creates a trickle-down effect that contributes to the customer experience.”
- Lean on technology for help. Companies have millions of dollars in equipment and freight that’s constantly on the move. When those assets stop moving, both the company and its customers need to know about it. The IntelliTrans Global Visibility Platform℠ includes multi-modal command and control features that provide unprecedented visibility into fleet and non-fleet equipment. This allows companies to proactively manage shipments from origin to destination, with a focus on exceptions and enhancing the customer experience.
- Accept the fact that supply chains are in the spotlight. “During the past two years, even those who had never heard the term ‘supply chain’ have seen—and personally experienced—just how much transportation and logistics affect our daily lives,” DC VELOCITY points out. “It’s become clearer than ever that when the going gets tough, smart strategies supported by advanced technology are critical for tackling transportation and logistics challenges.”
- Put your people first. If you’re not already encouraging staff wellness, it’s time to start. Cognitive behavioral training (CBT), for example, teaches employees to identify and name their stressors, notice the consequences of stress, and identify the relationship between stress and self-awareness. “It also offers alternative ways to think about stress and negative emotions,” Becker’s Hospital Review “Instituting simple suggestions such as mindfulness meetings and words of encouragement can go a long way toward improving how staff feel at work.”
- Always be thinking ahead. Whether they’re ordering ahead from their suppliers in anticipation of future orders, keeping inventory on hand for specific internal customers (who are ordering via blanket POs, for example), or simply keeping their warehouses more stocked than they usually would, companies that adopt proactive supply chain strategies can avoid the last-minute scrambling that, in turn, creates even more stress and fatigue.