Industrial technology concept. Communication network. INDUSTRY 4.0. Factory automation.

Contributed by AFFLINK

Some experts in the global supply chain are calling the current crisis – in which virtually all consumers and businesses are grappling with supply chain issues – a black swan event.

“A black swan event happens very quickly, impacts many parts of the world, countless numbers of people, factories, and industries, all at a scale that is hard to grasp,” says Michael Wilson, vice president of AFFLINK, a distributor-member sales and marketing organization representing several industry sectors.

Wilson says it’s too soon to talk about lessons learned from this black swan because it is still ongoing, “But we are starting to learn some ways to deal with all the supply chain disruptions.”

Wilson shares his advice:

Centralize communication: All communications between suppliers, distributors, and end-customers must be between the same people or teams. “We have to have all the same players involved. There is no time to start over with new people” 

Quick decision making: Right now, make purchasing decisions quickly. “Putting things on hold to get purchasing approvals may prolong supply chain disruptions.”

One voice. Have one person discuss supply chain issues with everyone in the company. “You need one voice telling everyone the same thing; what is going on and what to expect next.”

Map your supply chain. Know how your supply chain works. This includes knowing factory locations, what each factory makes, locations of suppliers to these factories, and who delivers the finished products.

Make it yourself. Suppliers have outsourced product manufacturing to suppliers overseas for years. “Now is a good time to manufacturer products at home if possible. This puts suppliers in the driver’s seat, making and delivering their products directly to distributors and end customers."

Plan for the recovery. Eventually, this Black Swan will disappear. “Remember, ‘a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.’ There is much we can learn from this predicament.”