Improve Visibility Over Supply Chain

If your business is in an industry which is impacted by grace periods it is essential to enhance the level of visibility over the entire supply chain i.e. being able to track all raw materials and components from their original suppliers through an organisation and onto the end customer. By doing this businesses will be in a stronger position to anticipate and prevent any disruption which may occur later in the year.

To enhance visibility over supply chains it is essential that businesses consider the following:

1.      Where your materials are manufactured

2.      Where imports are coming from

3.      How they are getting to your premises

4.      Where your goods are going

By having full visibility over their entire supply chain businesses should be able to identify and therefore put in place strategies to mitigate the impact of any future disruption.

Even if a business does not import or export it is vital that they consider if they may be impacted indirectly by the end of the grace periods. If a supplier is unprepared for the changes, then this can have an adverse impact on businesses along with the rest of the supply chain. With this mind it is vital that even businesses who do not import or export consider the implications of the end of the grace period on their Supply Chain. There are several steps that businesses can do now.

Bulk Purchasing of Inventory

Businesses could consider buying in bulk. By buying in larger quantities now it will allow businesses across Ireland to oversee any initial period of disruption caused when grace periods end. This will ensure that businesses will be able to continue to service their customers with minimum impact. However, this may not be suitable for all industries. It is therefore important to consider if this would be possible for your business.

Enhance Communication throughout the Supply Chain

With the current challenges around the UK’s exit from the EU and the pandemic communication across the entirety of the supply chain has never been more important. It is vital that businesses seek clarity over shipping times and any additional costs which are likely to incur in advance of making orders for goods. Any changes should then be clearly communicated with customers at the earliest opportunity.

Reconsider Purchasing Strategy

Businesses across Ireland should reconsider their list of suppliers. With the additional customs requirements on trading with GB and delays on many goods coming from outside of the EU particularly the Far East businesses should consider if there are any suppliers located locally who could supply them. Whilst some local suppliers may be more expensive, businesses will benefit from drastically reduced transport costs and lower lead times. This should not only help minimise any risk of disruption but also increase flexibility making it easier to respond to changes in demand.

Increase Use of Local Suppliers

Lastly, businesses across Ireland should reconsider their list of suppliers. With the additional customs requirements on trading with GB and delays on many goods coming from outside of the EU particularly the Far East businesses should consider if there are any suppliers located locally who could supply them. Whilst some local suppliers may be more expensive, businesses will benefit from drastically reduced transport costs and lower lead times. This should not only help minimise any risk of disruption but also increase flexibility making it easier to respond to changes in demand.

There has been significant disruption to many supply chains over recent months. However, by being proactive and following some of the steps set out above businesses can be in a strong position to not only mitigate any possible disruption but also to take advantage of opportunities to maximise efficiency and ensure that they can continue to fulfil demand in a timely and cost-effective fashion.