Supply chain crisis management – Importance of communication

    Covid19 Pandemic crisis has hit the world economy like no other event in history and businesses across the boundaries have struggled to owe to lockdowns and restrictions. The biggest responsibility has been on Supply Chain folks to make sure that businesses are kept running and don’t allow the crisis to cause major disruption. This is easier said than done, as you have a scarcity of resources both internally and externally, moreover this environment poses a unique need to manage both demand shocks and supply disruptions.

    The current situation is high on all counts of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) and the scale of the impact eclipses anything most supply chain leaders will have anticipated. This unprecedented crisis has bought a lot more limelight on Supply Chain and one of the Key differentiators for effective crisis management will be the handling of “INFORMATION FLOW” and “COMMUNICATION”.

    It is important for Supply Chain that during the crisis, lines of communication are
    open with all Stakeholders so that all are informed of developments and challenges;
    this helps the team to avoid scaremongering, and focus is on developing and successfully implementing action plans for risk mitigation.

    Conventionally Supply Chain community has been well versed in transaction-specific communication with direct partners but communicating emphatically highlighting business-related challenges with other stakeholders is critical during such a crisis.
    Communication that is timely, transparent and two-way is essential to manage any crisis, Poor communication can create obstacles to collaboration, relationship building and knowledge sharing within the total value chain and adversely impact the crisis management.

    Critical communication Channels for Supply Chain during this crisis will be as below:

    #1. Engaging Suppliers & Logistics partners

    Everybody in the value chain is going through a crisis and has limited resources at their disposal. Key differentiation for any supply chain is going to get the priority from their partners and this can be made possible by strong relationships and continuous dialogue. Business partners would like to know on business priorities and can also update on their challenges as well as the ability to contribute so that activities can be planned for seamless execution.

    #2. Updating Sales & Business Development

    The most difficult task is for customer-facing teams as they need to assure customers on fulfillment of their requirements as well as continue to generate new business opportunities. If they understand disruptions in business, then they can apprise customers & customer priorities can be understood for the optimum utilization of resources.

    #3. Channelizing team Intelligence and Efforts

    The most important aspect of Supply Chain communication will be with its own team and ground force. Working within virtual teams and communicating from afar requires a different approach. It means new communication methodologies and techniques to be fully connected & to get the best out of each other, whilst improving organizational and personal performance.

    Effective communication & information flow will help companies to respond swiftly and aggressively in collaboration with all stakeholders to counter each disruption while anticipating the next challenge.

    Supply Chain community will have to adapt to this change and along with high levels of execution skills also need to develop skills that will make them perceptive, inclusive, and communicative. Technological solutions and infrastructure can further facilitate communication improvement. This approach will also build greater responsiveness and resilience into supply chains to protect against future disruptions and managing future crisis much more effectively.

    Everybody who is out today and putting his responsibilities ahead of his safety is Corona Warrior. I would like to thank & express gratitude to all Corona Warriors who are leading the fight against Covid-19 Pandemic and wish that we all recover from this crisis at the earliest possible. Till then let’s be responsible for fulfilling our duties towards Nation, Organisation, Society & our family. Be Safe & encourage Safety.

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