Once a full list of suppliers has been created, the next step for managing in the pandemic is to prioritize the most important of those on the list. This exercise should be based not so much on the volume driven by a supplier, but rather how critical they are to the health of your supply chain, says Lisa Anderson, founder and president of LMA Consulting Group Inc., a supply chain consultancy in Claremont, Calif. Identify what materials are absolute must-haves and who is providing them.
“Make sure that you are intimately familiar with their operations, how agile they are, how quickly they can ramp up with volume,” she says. “Understand their finances to the degree of knowing whether a large disruption will run them out of cash quickly.”
If time and resources permit, firms should even consider visiting with these critical suppliers’ own suppliers. It would be time better spent than investigating other tier-one entities that might not be as crucial to the immediate health of your supply chain.
Examine your typical workflows and shed any non-critical activities, Anderson further advises. “Stop doing things that were just nice to have and focus on what’s critical now.
So stop doing reporting that’s not essential to managing your business during these times, for instance.”