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Now is the time for ecommerce companies—especially for those with sophisticated supply chains—to ensure business continuity by rethinking their crisis response strategies.
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Businesses and industries worldwide have already faced tremendous disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are continuing to adapt to an evolving business climate. Now is the time for ecommerce companies—especially for those with sophisticated supply chains—to ensure business continuity by rethinking their crisis response strategies.
Keep reading to learn more about what is causing the ongoing ecommerce supply chain crisis, how it has impacted global business, and how learning from these disruptions can lead to better overall business performance.
It’s no secret that efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 accelerated ecommerce in 2020 and 2021. Many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers started expanding their ecommerce offerings to keep their businesses profitable. In 2021, online sales increased by over 120% over 12 months and logistics service providers experienced 200% growth.
Alongside this growth came extreme supply-side disruptions across many industries, caused by:
Globally, companies continue to face challenges related to supply chain disruptions.
Unfortunately, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is not a short-term crisis. It will affect how people work and how the supply chain functions for a very long time. There is an urgent need for businesses to incorporate long-term resilience into their processes for managing future challenges.
To navigate the ongoing crisis, organizations must address the needs of their employees, customers, and suppliers while balancing new financial and operational challenges. Businesses have the opportunity to turn massive complexity into new best practices and meaningful change if they take the right actions.
Specifically, leaders in ecommerce can focus on investing in advanced analytics and technology to build a responsive, resilient, and flexible supply chain.
Every resilient supply chain is built on trusted, rapid, and actionable insights. By using advanced analytics on internal and external data sources, businesses can be better prepared to handle disruption.
Advanced analytics use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide predictive suggestions and forecasts—valuable tools during uncertain times.
Businesses must have end-to-end visibility into their warehouse and sales channels. They must also know which products are selling where, so they can react accordingly to changing consumer behavior and needs. Therefore, it’s essential to have a unified database that provides seamless visibility across channels.
With this visibility in place, businesses can reduce inventory overspending by enabling their teams to make agile decisions related to replenishment.
Businesses affected by supply chain disruptions may benefit from combining advanced data analytics with multiple sources to fully comprehend how demand will fluctuate now and after the pandemic. These data sources might include:
Reducing stockouts will be a main concern for supply chain leaders during uncertain times. It’s essential that businesses work to:
It’s essential for ecommerce sellers to look closely at government regulations and how they might affect the functioning of specific manufacturing facilities.
By continuing to analyze and monitor their suppliers’ financial state, businesses can help mitigate these problems.
A crisis management team can make quick and agile supply chain decisions when needed—a necessary skill when navigating the supply chain’s current volatile state. A crisis management team might focus on:
Finally, crisis management teams should test supply chain availability when possible. They might perform emergency preparedness drills that include the potential for significant supplier disruptions to determine which alternative or existing suppliers they can turn to in a pinch.
Clean and accurate data is another vital component of supply chain management that often gets pushed aside in times of disruption. Supply chain executives surveyed by EY said end-to-end visibility is critical to a thriving supply chain. However, only 6% reported feeling confident in their capabilities and solutions for total supply chain visibility.
Previously, retailers, manufacturers, warehouses, and delivery services operated in silos–focusing solely on their individual areas of responsibility. However, this made it nearly impossible to obtain information accurately or on time, resulting in periodic shortages of goods and overproduction. Pairing this with increased customer expectations for seamless omnichannel experiences, companies must centralize data from all stakeholders into one central location—creating a single source of truth for their supply chain.
We know now that the COVID-19 pandemic is no short-term crisis. No one knows when the pandemic will end or when it will stop wreaking havoc on the global supply chain.
What we do know is that ecommerce is still on the rise. Companies that invest in their supply chain infrastructure today may have an increased ability to solve future fulfillment issues as they happen, ensuring seamless delivery of goods. Advanced analytics is critical in the journey of building a resilient and responsive supply chain.
Contributed by the Editorial Team of Miva Partner Flxpoint
The Miva ecommerce platform powers some of the web’s most spectacular online stores—stores that benefit every day from our relationships with our partners and other valued providers. We work with our network of experts to create fresh, insightful content for all independent merchants. Interested in contributing to the Miva blog? Click below to learn more about our co-marketing opportunities.