With all of the changes and unexpected challenges we've been through in the past few years, there is little reliable information to go on when planning for the future. Gone are the days when history alone was used to understand the future; today, businesses have to plan for uncertainty and learn how to best lead through it.
In an effort to gauge the level of uncertainty in businesses today, the Supply Chain Consortium recently conducted a survey about its impact on supply chains. The resulting executive briefing, "Uncertainty is Certain: Perceptions of Future Risk on the Rise", shows that supply chain leaders are overwhelmingly more uncertain now than they were one or two years ago.
The events during the Great Recession -- coupled with the precariousness of the near future - are undoubtedly making forecasting, budgeting, business and supply chain planning and other processes that are dependent on historical information a bigger challenge.
A diverse array of respondents indicates that uncertainty mainly impacts the supply chain in four ways:
1) Added costs;
2) Increasing inventory levels;
3) Increasing lead-times; and
4) Reducing speed to market.
Survey respondents also tell us that the highest level of doubt is occurring in supply chain processes such as planning, sourcing, sales and customer service, and transportation.
Of course, businesses are also concerned about the initiatives impacting government regulations and mandates, forecasting, and technology
I know from talking with my associates that most folks have felt the impact of uncertainty in one or more of these ways, but what other impacts have been felt in the supply chain?
What plans have you made to deal with uncertainty in the coming year? How are you assessing risks in your supply chain?