How to future-proof your supply chain

An agile supply chain means your products can keep moving despite disruptions. It’s an important investment, and there’s a healthy appetite for the tech required, but South Africa’s SMEs lack funding. Genfin’s unsecured lending solutions provide up to R5 million in business funding based on your company’s performance. Unlike traditional institutions, we don’t require collateral. 

The past three years have been an exercise in supply chain challenges. Recent history has opened up a battery of potential risks, from global crises like COVID-19 and geopolitical turmoil to localised strikes and shortages. And in a world where customer loyalty is no longer guaranteed, it’s vital to stress test your supply chain and ensure disruptions are easily absorbed. Now’s the time to invest and fortify vulnerable links across your entire network.

Stabilise your supply chain

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, on average, companies experience a one- to two-month disruption every 3.7 years. Over a decade in business, that amounts to 30% of the annual EBITDA. While the world is uncertain and problems are inevitable, it’s how fast you act to keep products moving that counts. The same goes for companies at every stage of the growth curve, especially given rising preferences for smaller producers.  What’s more, hikes in demand are tricky to predict, and SMEs can get overwhelmed when a glowing endorsement goes viral.

Battle test your supply chain

Supply chains buckle when unexpected events meet vulnerabilities. The first step is understanding which suppliers or processes are at risk. A surprising number of companies neglect to probe their supply chain beyond the first line. Looking into deeper tiers for a more thorough assessment is highly recommended given this is where the majority of disruptions originate.

Ask the right questions across all organisational levels to identify vulnerabilities, including financial health, regulatory liabilities, end-to-end operations, digital infrastructure, reputation, organisational maturity, and exposure to external events. Prioritise suppliers with flexible core assets and skills that swiftly adapt to changing demands. Given the vast number of moving parts, testing your supply chain’s resilience is an ongoing responsibility.

Futureproof your supply chain

Get smart

Digital technologies are the backbone of agile operations. From automated processes to robotics, smart manufacturing leverages tech to improve efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an increasingly popular solution that embeds sensors in business machinery to collect data and optimise production. The resulting data means vastly improved decision-making, including anticipating machine maintenance to prevent downtime.

Other solutions also on the rise include process automation to handle repetitive tasks that take up manpower and AI analytics to identify patterns and opportunities. The same goes for improving visibility at traditional blind spots along the supply chain, including last-mile delivery, via tools like digital freight matching and more accurate tracking of shipments.

Tech investments should always be backed by technical advisors as part of a wider strategy to maximise success.

Diversify

Spread your risk by diversifying product sourcing. Lean into local suppliers or nearshoring to gain more control over your supply chain and bolster its stability. It not only cuts shipping team times but also supports the regional ecosystem and improves sustainability.

Upskill

Prioritise effective labour planning and ongoing training to create a more fluid workforce. A pipeline of leadership candidates and a pool of employees with cross-functional skills make sudden departures or prolonged absences much easier to absorb. Employees can more easily move between tasks as the company’s needs change, vastly improving resilience.

Let us help you get it done

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