The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the supply chain, leading to shortages and delays in nearly every industry and across numerous products including ground straps, wires, cables, and more. Adapting to these changes in a post-COVID world will be essential for businesses to survive and thrive. Here, ABL Electronic Supplies explains the coronavirus supply chain and how you can stay resilient with your operations after the pandemic.
Supply Chains Post-COVID
Over the years, supply chains have been carefully streamlined to save time and money. This has created a system with no built-in buffers to account for delays or other disruptions, which was fine—until it wasn’t. COVID-19 highlighted the incredible delicacy of this system, a delicacy many companies weren’t aware of until it started to impact their production, sales, and bottom line.
China has long served as the “world’s factory,” and companies that rely on products and materials from China are especially vulnerable. The pandemic wake-up call and their experience with the coronavirus supply chain has made many of them rethink the way they do business to avoid these types of disruptions in the future.
How Can Businesses Respond to Coronavirus Supply Chain Changes?
There’s no one answer. Instead, creating a resilient supply chain will likely require several changes within a company. These may include:
- Assess opportunities for automation: More and more companies are already taking steps to save money and redirect their employees toward more challenging tasks by automating simple or dangerous processes. This automation will streamline your business, and developing a digital supply chain with advanced technology will help all professionals along the chain access information, communicate, eliminate the use of paper, and optimize their time.
- Consider new energy sources: This may help you save money and maintain production in the event of a fuel shortage. It’s also an opportunity to build more sustainable practices into your operations.
- Map your supply chain: Where are the weaknesses? Where can you shorten the process? Get to know your suppliers and build a close relationship with transparent communication.
- Focus on production scheduling agility: Do you have the flexibility to change quickly? During the pandemic, the most successful companies were the ones that were able to produce different products on new timelines to meet changing consumer demands.
- Consider alternative options for outbound logistics: Streamline your warehouse and fulfillment center operations to get your customers their products as quickly as possible, and to ensure you know the location of each and every product you make.
- Consider nearshoring opportunities to shorten your supply chain: Shorter transport distances and a shorter supply chain in general can reduce the risk of delay.
- Develop sustainable processes: Reduce waste and give yourself a competitive advantage by working with recyclable materials, using efficient systems that reduce production errors, reducing your energy and water usage, and more.
The copper supply chain faces many of the same disruptions, and what we’re seeing now is a raw materials shortage, increase in demand, and rising prices. Copper has reached its highest price in years, and it continues to rise along with silver, gold, and plastic resin. Stock shortages and long lead times are becoming the norm. An item that used to take four to six weeks can take 10 or even 20.
Until the system finds balance, companies have to be prepared to work within this framework. This is how to get ready, so you can meet your wire and cable needs:
- Place orders now. Prices will continue to rise and factory lead times will extend even further. If you’re waiting for both of those factors to drop, you’ll be waiting a long time.
- Lock in your prices. Build a relationship with your supplier and work with your sales representative to guarantee an affordable price and a steady supply. Make sure they understand your future projects and needs.
- Protect your stock. It will become more valuable as the cost of precious metals goes up, and you don’t want to lose what you have to carelessness, production error, or even theft.
Building supply chain resilience is an overdue necessity. It will help your business save time and money even in the best of times, and it will ensure you’re as prepared as possible to withstand another global catastrophe.
ABL Electronic Supplies is an international manufacturer and distributor of price discounted wire and cable products. Based in Concord, NC, we specialize in cable design and fabrications for projects of all sizes, with friendly service and quick delivery. Contact us to learn more about our products or to place an order.