4 Things for EMBA Students to Know About Managing Supply Chains During Uncertain Times

July 28, 2020

Manage supply chains through COVID-19 and other challenges

Pic of a supply chain as studied in business executive university
An EMBA can help manage supply chains, if external factors cause major disruptions.

In the business world, everything is connected. Before reaching a consumer, a product will pass down through multiple stages, from manufacturers to retailers and everything in between. Disruptions to the supply chain can be devastating for businesses, and executives should be prepared to navigate any unexpected problems. The organization of a supply chain can have a huge impact on profits. A streamlined supply chain can help a business to operate more efficiently and save time and money. According to Deloitte, 79% of organizations with superior supply chain capabilities are able to grow their revenue well above average. With this in mind, how do EMBA graduates manage the supply chain to keep their business running smoothly during uncertain times like a financial crash or a global pandemic? Read on to find out what you need to know.

Managing the Workforce

One of the things that you will quickly learn at business executive university is that business revolves around people, and a crisis can impact many people across different roles. In response to the pandemic, the majority of non-essential workers have been forced to work from home. This has created huge disruptions to supply chains, as factories and laboratories may have had to stop or delay their usual activity. Managers and executives need to introduce safety measures to ensure that workers can return to work safely. In a factory, for example, this may include staggering start and finish times to limit the number of people on the work floor so that people can adhere to social distancing protocols. You may also need to ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided to employees.

Pic of a meeting with employees and an EMBA executive
Work Environments like factories may need to introduce new safety measures.

Change to a Local Supplier

Global emergencies like COVID-19 can lead to huge delays with shipment and delivery. If you normally have a product or material imported from overseas, you could be waiting weeks or months. In order to adapt to the current situation, you and your business may need to explore other options and suppliers. A local supplier might be able to provide the same or similar product temporarily. Whilst it may be a higher cost, it will enable your business to continue operating throughout the pandemic. It’s important to be flexible and adaptable in order to navigate a crisis in business. As part of the EMBA program at WU Executive Academy, executives will have the opportunity to study operations and supply chain management in depth. This means that graduates will be well prepared to manage supply chains throughout a crisis.

Learn About Distribution Channels in an EMBA

Shipment and delivery issues won’t just affect your suppliers – it will also hit your customers. COVID-19 forced many retailers to close their doors and move online instead. A surge in online orders could be challenging for a business that normally relies on in-person sales. This means that many organizations may need to rethink what distribution channels they use. Businesses could consider a variety of delivery options including in-store pick up, pick up lockers, home delivery, contactless delivery, and more. As well as this, make sure to communicate with consumers about any expected delays.

Pic of a post guy
Executives should prepare for issues around shipment and delivery.

Use Supply Chain Management Software to Your Advantage

There are a number of different software options out there to help businesses streamline their supply chain and navigate any challenges. This is particularly useful if you need to manage a warehouse, office, or transport system remotely. Some software can even identify what elements of the supply chain is creating inefficiencies or delays. Businesses can use tools such as Camelot or Infoplus to manage supply chains in warehouses, Spendwise to manage company accounts and invoices, or RoseRocket to manage transport and deliveries.

Do you want to advance your career with an EMBA?

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