The COVID-19 virus pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to supply chains across industries, highlighting the problems that arise from a lack of inventory visibility and control, as well as the importance of utilizing an agile inventory management approach equipped to meet unexpected challenges. Fortunately, major advances in big data have helped solve many of them, such as helping brands understand customer trends with data analytics.
During the early days of the pandemic, shortages of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals became all too apparent. In many cases hospital workers lacking the appropriate inventory resorted to reusing masks and gloves to try to keep themselves safe from the virus. More recently, U.S. automakers facing a shortage of computer chips were forced to shut down manufacturing operations, putting workers on furlough.
In response to the supply chain challenges that the pandemic has brought to light, President Joe Biden has issued an executive order implementing a 100-day government review of potential vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains for critical items, including computer chips, medical equipment, electric-vehicle batteries, and specialized minerals. The goal of this review is to identify strategies to increase output and efficiency and reduce shortages in U.S.-based manufacturing operations. While a review of supply chain vulnerabilities is a major step in the right direction towards this goal, this review needs to translate into action. DSI®, a leader in innovative inventory management solutions, is well-positioned to meet this need with Cloud Inventory®, a mobile-first and cloud-based platform that provides real-time inventory visibility and control.
Supply chain disruptions can result from a lack of access to inventory and visibility into existing inventory. So much depends on having visibility into the location, state, and authenticity of inventory at all points of the supply chain. It just requires the right supply chain management. Inventory shortages caused by the pandemic demonstrated how a break or delay in just one link in the supply chain can quickly compound into disastrous shortages if an inventory management strategy is not equipped to quickly adapt. Traditional inventory management approaches, such as manual assessment of spreadsheets and paper-based methods, lack the flexibility and speed of communication required to immediately react to unplanned inventory challenges and ensure that shortages are recognized and addressed in time to meet demand.
Cloud Inventory minimizes human error and enables real-time mobile inventory visibility and control across the supply chain, from the warehouse to the last mile of delivery. Empowered with accurate data on availability, companies using Cloud Inventory can anticipate shortages before they arise and proactively make the necessary adjustments to ensure an optimally efficient supply chain.
The order to review the U.S. supply chain for vulnerabilities demonstrates a broader goal to increase domestic production of critical materials in the U.S. To achieve this goal, it is imperative that U.S. manufacturers implement inventory management solutions that can scale to meet increased production while avoiding costly and time-consuming overhauls of existing systems. Built on a low-code platform, Cloud Inventory is designed for infinite reconfigurability, meaning that the platform can be quickly and easily integrated with a company’s existing systems while retaining the flexibility to handle increases in production as they arise.
While reviewing U.S. supply chains for vulnerabilities may lay the foundation for significant improvements in the resiliency, diversity, and scale of U.S. manufacturing, this foundation must be grounded in accurate inventory visibility. Furthermore, shifts in supply chain strategy that result from the review will require flexible, responsive approaches to inventory control that optimize efficiency and minimize costs for U.S. companies already facing significant challenges due to the unexpected impact of a global pandemic. In short, U.S. supply chains require innovative solutions, and Cloud Inventory provides those solutions with agile, accurate inventory management tools powered by the cloud.