The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the flaws in global supply chains.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses in West Africa, causing interruptions in the supply of raw materials and finished goods, as well as transportation and logistical networks.
In the face of these problems, businesses in West Africa must optimise their supply networks for resilience and efficiency more than ever.
What is Supply Chain Resilience?
The ability of a supply network to endure and recover from interruptions is referred to as supply chain resilience. It is critical to understand that supply chain resilience does not imply that disruptions will never occur.
Rather, it means that organisations have put in place the tools and processes necessary to mitigate the impact of interruptions and recover rapidly.
Optimum Supply Chain Resilience Strategies
Businesses in West Africa can employ various tactics to optimise their supply networks for resilience. These are some examples:
Supplier Diversification: Businesses can lessen their risk of being disrupted if a single supplier is unable to meet their needs by depending on a diverse supply base.
Increasing Supply Chain Redundancy: This could imply having several suppliers for the same products or multiple transportation routes.
Investing in Technology: Businesses can use technology to increase the visibility and traceability of their supply networks. This can assist firms in detecting and responding to interruptions more rapidly.
Making Plans for the Worst-case Scenario: Businesses should have preparations in place to deal with typical disruptions such as natural catastrophes, political unrest, and labour strikes.
West African Examples
A number of enterprises in West Africa are applying these tactics to improve the resilience of their supply networks. Here are a couple of such examples:
• SONATEL, a Senegalese telecommunications operator, has expanded its supplier base for crucial network equipment. This has reduced the company’s risk of being interrupted if one of its suppliers is unable to meet its needs.
• OLAM, an agricultural commodities company, has integrated redundancy into its cocoa bean supply chain in Ghana. The company has multiple cocoa bean suppliers and transportation routes for moving cocoa beans from farms to processing facilities.
• Dangote Group, a Nigerian conglomerate, has invested in technology to improve visibility and traceability in its cement supply chain. This has aided the company’s ability to detect and respond to problems more swiftly.
• Tolaram Group, a Nigerian consumer goods company, has prepared contingency plans to deal with regular disruptions such as natural disasters and political instability. Alternative suppliers and transit routes are among the company’s contingency preparations.
Businesses in Africa can optimise their supply chains for resilience and efficiency by applying the principles indicated above. This will allow them to more successfully endure and recover from shocks, giving them a competitive advantage in the global economy.
In addition to the tactics listed above, firms in West Africa can do a number of other things to optimise their supply networks for resilience and efficiency. These are some examples:
Improving supplier communication and collaboration – Businesses can better understand their risks and establish mitigation strategies by collaborating closely with their suppliers.
Investing in employee development and training – Employees should be taught how to recognise and respond to disturbances.
Making a culture of continual improvement a priority – Businesses should analyse and enhance their supply chains on a regular basis in order to identify and remedy areas of vulnerability.