As a professional in the logistics industry, you likely already know that even the best-laid plans often go awry due to forces well beyond your control. However, something that you can control is your response to these issues. In fact, it's generally recommended that you not only have your initial plans, but also a host of contingencies to which you can pivot if (or, more often, when) something doesn't go as you'd expected.

Especially in recent months, you have no doubt experienced supply chain holdups that would have been largely unforeseeable before the pandemic hit, and therefore quickly learned this valuable lesson, according to Vending Market Watch. The good news is that during this time, everyone was on the same page: Many of the supply chain problems being encountered were universal.

Don't let your supply chain efforts be derailed by substandard planning.Don't let your supply chain efforts be derailed by substandard planning.

But what about after the pandemic is reduced to a low-level threat and, eventually, a memory? Even now, supply is "extremely tight" in many corners of the global supply chain, the report said. As such, you likely need to continue looking at and refining your backup plans for some time to come, because while many parts of the world are in recovery mode, there are others — such as India — where it's still very much a problem that can delay manufacturing and shipment times by longer stretches than normal. 

Seeing it from both sides
Often, if you are toward the tail end of a given supply chain, you may not think much about the problems your suppliers or even initial manufacturers are facing, but many of the same freight headaches reverberate up and down this ecosystem, according to the Sourcing Journal. If a manufacturer has too much product on hand because of shipping problems, but your preferred shippers are plagued by issues beyond their control, then this isn't necessarily something you could have avoided.

However, that means you may have to find more efficient ways of getting what you need (including shifting to different suppliers or shippers as required), the report said. For manufacturers, it's also possible to improve forecasting with more efficient production processes that reduce lag times and create something more akin to an "on-demand" model.

Coming together for supply chain planning
With all of the above in mind, it's clear that companies would do well to make sure they are collaborating closely with their various partners up and down the supply chain, according to Supply & Demand Chain Executive. Volatility is something of a given in the logistics industry, but if your company and all the companies depending on it for any aspect of procurement or shipping can do more to get on the same page, the risk that you will run into difficulties on this front are at least somewhat reduced.

Indeed, the more you can do to build out a variety of contingency plans, and then possibly some contingencies for those contingencies, the better off your logistics efforts will be moving forward. The realities of the industry were brought into sharp relief by the ups and downs of the pandemic, and now is the time to address some of the shortcomings you have experienced in recent months.

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