Sr. Supply Chain Manager
There hasn’t been a single event that we can recall that has impacted every business globally in our lifetime in the way the Covid 19 Pandemic has. Businesses have had to display acute agility in order to adapt and respond quickly to an increasingly unstable environment. This article is not to underestimate the efforts made by all functions of the organisation but to highlight the specific challenges within the Supply Chain function.
The SCM team set out to ensure and maintain NorthStar Pillar for Supply Chain Excellence which is ”The team is responsible for maintaining the supply of fully compliant, high-quality products and meeting our target business service levels”.
As a team we have faced many hurdles, but the most difficult came with the challenges of working from home. We all experienced network challenges or interruptions from kids, partners or even pets invading our space during worktime. It’s also challenging not having the social element of being able to step over to our colleagues to ask for advice or to avail of general collegial support and problem solving. To continue maintaining a sense of team and cohesive working rapport we had to avail of several communication mechanisms to ensure no one on the team felt isolated and so collective support and collaboration was readily available.
The following overview outlined the challenges and actions the teams undertook to ensure business delivery and service level agreements were met.
The SCM team focused on the following activities to support the business needs:
- Sourcing – The objective was to ensure the supply of all critical products to our customers. The Planners worked and continue to work with suppliers to identify any constraints and provide solutions.
- Logistics – The objective was to establish our ability to ship the goods on time
The logistics team worked tirelessly collaborating with our freight forwarders & CMO’s to ensure dispatches were on time, meeting commitments and supplier demands. Team faced several challenging issues and constraints where decisive and progressive action had to be taken to ensure business continuity with all the stakeholders.
- Airline Delays, congestion & increased Air costs
- Sea Sailings cancellations & congestions to PO
Actions taken to offset Constraint:
- Daily communication with freight forwarders
- On boarder new airlines to increase capacity for air shipments
- Developed a weekly comms for senior management
- Developed a logbook for Sea shipments to monitor critical products
Our objective was to assess impacts on our Demand Plan to ensure the business progressed as normal. SC Team collaborated closely with all entities in the chain (quality, commercial, manufacturers, distribution) to ensure any changes to customer demand was supported, ensuring that the end customer received the product on time.
The objective was to establish our ability to fulfil orders and serve customers during the crisis, which we did successfully, maintaining a high service level to our clients.
As a team we should all feel very proud that we have been able to overcome and manage the challenges that faced us, while continuing to support the business vision and strategy. The pathway to beyond Covid 19 will be a long journey, however as a team we will continue to adapt and change to support each other and the business and customer requirements, showing commitment, drive, innovation and dedication.