In our survey of 100 manufacturing professionals during the first lockdown, 66% reported that they had found it harder to get hold of the materials they needed as a result of COVID driven closures or capacity issues. To address this, greater visibility of the supply chain and a more diverse supplier network were selected as the primary solutions. With a second lockdown now in force, we explore how manufacturers can get the visibility they require to insure against material shortages.
Rapidly Increase The Visibility of Your Supply Chain
Whilst instantly broadening your supply chain might sound like a big ask, it is achievable and without the need for investment in new people or IT systems. If conducted manually this will involve hours of supplier, product and pricing comparisons. But with digital technology, this can be done instantly.
There are several digital services available that increase access to market information and simplify the procurement process at the same time. They can range from online webshops to recommendation sites all of which use technology to make products and pricing easily accessible and make sourcing and ordering simpler and quicker. However, most are focused on a single source of supply which still limits a true market view.
To get true visibility of product, pricing and lead-times across the market, materials buyers should seek out services that work with multiple suppliers and have the capabilities to connect individual requirements with the right suppliers in real-time. In the same way that consumers use services like travel, insurance or shopping sites to get the greatest choice and value, manufacturers can do the same for materials.
And in times of uncertainty, one way for buyers to protect continuity of supply is to work with digital partners that are able to quickly adjust to rapidly changing market conditions. In the current climate, working with platforms that have a real-time view and can rapidly switch between suppliers can guarantee materials and protect jobs.
Instantly Access A Broader Supply Base
Digital solutions like MatMatch and Fractory connect buyers to a network of suppliers to ensure that both parties get a greater view of demand and supply.
If you use metal in your business, SteelScout is a platform that works with the largest supplier network in the UK, rapidly matching buyer requirements with the right suppliers and getting the best deal in the process through competitive pricing.
The SteelScout platform can also make standard procurement processes more efficient, even in lockdown. The site is accessible from anywhere and on any device, so remote teams can stay connected and access order and delivery data from one place, meaning less need for spreadsheets and paper storage. Details of every order placed, shipments made, and invoices generated can be accessed and downloaded at any point in time.
What’s more, the services are designed to sit alongside any other in-house platforms and require no integration or additional investment in technology. And while the service is powered by technology, each customer is supported by a personal account manager, so they don’t lose the personal touch.
Stay Connected, Productive And Improve Your Bottom Line
Digital services have already kept businesses open and productive through the pandemic. As we navigate this next period of uncertainty, they will continue to make manufacturers operations more efficient. If you use meal in your operations, SteelScout is one digital platform that can broaden your visibility of the market, instantly expand your supply options and make your procurement more efficient. All of which effect your bottom line.
Find out more at SteelScout.com.
You can download SteelScout’s procurement white paper here.