Just in Time or Just in Case?

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash 

Are you reconsidering a just in time approach to your supply chain with the recent impacts of the global pandemic?  Global production halts and disruptions have caused many supply chain professionals to consider moving to more of a “Just in Case” approach to help mitigate risks.

Per Industry Week, components of a “Just in Case” supply chain include simplification, collaboration, resilience, redundancy and innovation as summarized below.

Simplicity: Simplifying supply chains through production, outsourcing and number of suppliers. For example, Harley-Davidson recently announced their “Rewire Playbook” that will lower production volumes in reaction to reduced demand, while also eliminating models. By simplifying, they’re sharpening their focus on the products that matter most to clients. Outsource activities that aren’t core to your business. Reevaluate your suppliers and reduce to those most critical.

Collaboration: Prioritize partners who have skills, tools and knowledge that will enhance your company’s capabilities and minimize your risk. Suppliers who operate in multiple markets or who can flex up or down increase your company’s agility. Factor that value into all sourcing decisions.

Resilience: Consider producing closer to the selling market, holding a larger inventory of sensitive items or double sourcing key products. Build insights and visibility to change by eliminating layers between manufacturing and the final customer.

Redundancy: To protect your business from disruption and to combat price volatility, design – and put into action – a Plan B for each of your main supply chain providers.

Innovation: The risk of change goes way down in a crisis. If something’s not working today, there is little risk in trying something new. Many of the marketplace changes we’re experiencing now – the continued migration to e-commerce, the growth of new delivery services and working from home, to name a few – will probably remain with us. Think of ways your business can benefit from the changed environment. Speed company decision-making and try out something new to meet the changing circumstances.

At APICS Milwaukee, our mission is to ensure supply chain professionals have the needed information to succeed in our ever-changing world.

Looking for more insights and tactics on how you can better manage your supply chain? We offer virtual Supply Chain Workshops and globally recognized supply chain certification courses taught by experts to provide you with the knowledge to help your company grow revenues and reduce costs.

APICS Milwaukee is the premier professional association for supply chain management, helping over 180 Milwaukee area companies represented by our members, with educational and networking opportunities.  Learn more about how we do this on our website at www.apicsmilw.org.