Ensure your firm is ready to optimise its supply chain this coming year

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Sarah Woodrow

November 1, 2023

As 2024 looms, what should your organisation be doing to optimise its supply chain? 

Over the last few years, businesses and organisations of seemingly all types and sizes have had to get accustomed to ever-increasing talk of supply-chain friction, and the need to loosen that friction to ensure continued smooth operations. 

Since the onset of the 2020s, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had much to do with that situation. The crisis brought about port congestion and staffing shortages, with these effects serving to imperil some organisations that depended on uninterrupted supply chains. 

Yes, we’re now into the concluding stages of 2023, and the coronavirus crisis is not at the forefront of the news headlines in the manner that it once was. But a variety of geopolitical tensions around the globe certainly have been on the agenda lately, introducing fresh challenges even as many companies have sought to recover from the pandemic. 

3 things your firm can do right now to keep its supply chain healthy 

On a certain level, supply chain management might seem like a disarmingly straightforward concept; it simply relates to the process of getting goods from one location to another. 

But of course, with so many stakeholders involved in the operations of cross-border supply chains, the actual process of keeping your own company’s supply chains functioning in a relatively slick and smooth manner, can be arduous and headache-inducing. 

With that in mind, you might be looking to take any of the following steps to help “futureproof” your firm’s supply chains for the further challenges that 2024 will surely bring: 

  • Embed resilience into your supply chain 

There was a time when, if a given organisation approached a supply chain consultancy such as KTL, this was probably with a view to the particular firm making its supply chain leaner, including through keeping inventory levels relatively low. 

Times, it is fair to say, have drastically changed. Today, there is much greater awareness of how vulnerable the leanest supply chains can be to unanticipated disruptions – so, “resiliency” is a much more prominent watchword than it used to be. 

And how might your own organisation incorporate greater resiliency into its own supply chain operations in readiness for 2024? Well, you might instigate a variety of changes, such as basing the production of your organisation’s goods closer to where the demand for those goods occurs, and/or developing a broader supply network, in order to lessen dependence on a small number of suppliers. 

Your firm may also be seeking to optimise the management of its inventory at this time in accordance with a “just-in-case” model, whereby inventory is kept in larger quantities at different “hot spots” along the supply chain. 

  • Continue to make the most of the latest relevant digital solutions 

No business should be upping its commitment to the use of digital tools simply “for the sake of” doing so. However, it is undeniable that many such digital solutions are constantly coming on stream that could be highly relevant to the objective of supply chain optimisation. 

Perhaps your organisation could be doing more to enhance supply and demand predictability, for instance, through the implementation of digital planning tools? Or maybe you should be taking a closer look at whatever supply chain management software your organisation is presently using, and considering whether it is still the right solution for keeping your supply chain suitably integrated? 

Then, there are such other potentially relevant technologies as the Internet of Things (IoT) for the purposes of shipment tracking, and artificial intelligence (AI), which could play a profound role in the ever-greater automation of your firm’s supply chain. 

2024 looks set to continue demonstrating that “digital transformation” is far from a mere buzzword when it comes to how a company can best improve its supply chain and logistics processes. 

  • Strive to make your supply chain more sustainable 

Something else that is not of merely superficial importance as far as a company’s efforts to improve its supply chains are concerned, is sustainability. 

Sustainability might seem to be something that a business is advised to pursue for purposes of environmental friendliness alone, but there are many more reasons why it should be an uppermost priority. These include the opportunities that it brings to help drive down an organisation’s costs, increase productivity, and enhance profitability. 

So, if you are considering sustainability-focused changes across your organisation and how it manages its supply chains – such as the use of “green” solutions to improve your logistics processes, and working closely with carbon consciousness organisations – 2024 could be the moment to redouble your firm’s efforts towards it. 

That priority ought to be especially great, given that the supply chain typically accounts for the largest chunk of an organisation’s carbon emissions. 

Is your own business on the lookout for supply chain consultancy services and expertise that could be instrumental in its ongoing transformation for a rapidly changing world? If so, our team at KTL would be pleased to extend to you the benefits of our own knowhow and experience as 2024 draws ever-nearer.  

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