Just as with most other things in life, getting ahead as a company in the supply chain requires quite a bit of help. For that reason, as your operations grow, shift, change course and improve, you need to make sure your supply chain partners come along for the ride. Moreover, you have to be able to play that kind of support role for them when they need to do the same.

As you might imagine, there's a lot that goes into that kind of nimble approach, on all sides of your professional relationships - and especially now, with so many companies changing course amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to Lou Longo, a partner at Plante Moran and leader of its International Consulting Practice, writing for Industry Week. In times like these, that means companies should look both inwardly and to their partners to figure out what they need to do to get back to full operational capacity at as many steps of the supply chain as they can.

As you re-open your operations, or re-expand them, assess how ready your partners are to do the same, and what you can do for one another to collectively get back to full capacity, the report said. If you can all proceed on a similar path at the same time, it may be easier to avoid shortfalls in inventory or misaligned shipping needs.

Making connections with supply chain partners is a must.Making connections with supply chain partners is a must.

What can you do?
While you might be able to quickly and easily determine your own in-house concerns for growing - either in normal times or as you recover from the COVID-19 shutdowns - it's not always easy to do the same when it comes to your partners, according to Vend. It may as a result be wise to put together an in-house team to regularly assess your needs, and then also collaborate with your partners to have similar efforts under their roofs. That way, you can all choose one or two representatives to come together and discuss your shared or unique needs on an ongoing basis.

These discussions - whether internal or outward-facing - could include decisions on staffing, technology investment and implementation, how to foster better relationships beyond your immediate council members, sourcing and so on, the report said. Regularly reviewing your efforts to determine how effective they have been could also be a major help.

Getting it right
With all this having been said, companies have a few things that could become important guiding principles that they can keep in mind, according to Strategy & Business. The need to develop strategies with a clear end-goal in mind is a big one, but so too are analyzing potential pluses and minuses - for all involved - as well as making sure these efforts are supported both within and outside your company.

When there's more collaboration, data sharing and transparency, everyone involved in these efforts will have a far better idea of what everyone else is doing. When this happens, the odds of all those partners finding success may increase dramatically.

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