9 October 20238 minute read

8 Strategies to Mitigate Supply Chain Risk in 2023


Streamline your supply chain with live tracking, route optimization, and more using Circuit for Teams — your all-in-one solution for efficient delivery management.

Ever had one of those days where supply chain disruptions just seem to throw everything off balance? It’s like trying to juggle while riding a unicycle on a tightrope. 

But here’s the thing: 2023 isn’t playing around, especially with the ecosystem of global supply chains. With the world changing faster than ever, our supply chains are feeling the heat.

Since your supply chain is the backbone of your business, if it’s not running smoothly, it’ll hurt your bottom line. And with all the tech advances and global shifts happening, it’s easy for kinks to pop up if you’re not on top of it 24/7.

But don’t sweat it! I’m here to help.

In this article, I’ll break down the top supply chain risk management strategies you need to keep things running smoothly. We’ll chat about the big role tech is playing, how our world is changing, and the simple steps you can take to stay ahead of the game.

Let’s get started by looking at how global supply chains are evolving and why managing supply chain risks is more important than ever for your business to thrive this year.

Key takeaways

  • Leveraging AI and big data can give you real-time supply chain insights, helping you spot risks quickly and accurately.
  • Keeping close tabs on every step of your supply chain, from raw materials to retailers, helps you pinpoint any vulnerabilities as they arise.
  • Crafting detailed business continuity and contingency plans prepares you for any disruptions, from natural disasters to supplier problems.
  • Regularly vetting and auditing suppliers keeps them up to your standards and reduces potential hitches in your supply chain.
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1. Using tech to spot supply chain hiccups before they happen

using tech to spot supply chain problems

These days, waiting for problems to pop up before fixing them just doesn’t cut it. That’s where cutting-edge tech like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and predictive analytics come into play. 

These are like your business’s crystal ball, helping you see potential hiccups before they happen. Here’s the lowdown. 

The magic of artificial intelligence (AI) 

You’ve definitely heard of AI. It’s not just in sci-fi movies anymore! 

AI can sift through tons of data in the blink of an eye, spotting patterns and trends that would otherwise take us ages to notice. For example, if a courier is consistently late in a particular area, AI can flag it, letting you find a solution before it becomes a bigger issue.

Big data: Your business’s best friend 

Big data refers to the massive amounts of information you can collect and analyze these days to help create a clear picture of what makes your business tick. 

For instance, it can help you spot a trend like packages getting damaged more often when shipped with a specific courier. Then, you can switch couriers or switch to managing your last-mile deliveries in house ASAP to keep it from happening again.

See the future with predictive analytics 

Ever wished you could predict the future? With predictive analytics, you kind of can! 

This tool takes all that data I just talked about and uses it to make educated guesses about what might happen next. 

Let’s say you’re about to launch a new product. Predictive analytics uses past metrics to figure out how much stock you’ll need based on past launches (aka demand forecasting). Pretty neat, right?

2. Getting a bird’s-eye view of your supply chain life cycle

Think of your supply chain as a big road trip. You wouldn’t set out without checking the entire route, right? 

From the starting point to the final destination, knowing every twist and turn helps you avoid nasty surprises. That’s what supply chain visibility is about. 

From raw materials to the moment a customer gets the product they ordered, you’ve got to keep an eye on your inventory’s whole journey. Focus on these things, and you’ll be good to go.

Raw materials: The building blocks 

Speaking of raw materials, you'd never build a house without checking the quality of your bricks, would you?

Raw materials are the foundation of your products. By keeping tabs on where they come from and how they’re sourced, you can avoid issues like shortages or quality dips. 

For instance, if you’re in the clothing business, knowing where your fabrics come from can help you make sure they’re top-notch and sourced responsibly.

The final stretch: Distributors, retailers, and the last mile 

You’re almost at the finish line! This is where your products get to the hands of your customers. 

But there’s still a lot that can go wrong. Maybe a courier is having a tough time with deliveries, or a retailer’s stock is piling up. 

By keeping a close eye on this part of the journey, you can make sure your products are getting to your customers smoothly and quickly. One surefire way to nail this leg of the trip is by optimizing last-mile delivery (the crucial part where a product gets delivered to the customer). 

3. Fostering supply chain resilience

supply chain resilience

You know how in movies, the hero always has a backup plan (or two) when things go sideways? Your supply chain needs that kind of thinking. 

Let’s face it, stuff happens. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a supplier hiccup, or even a global pandemic, having a resilient supply chain means you can bounce back faster and keep things moving. 

Here are some ways to make sure your supply chain can handle stuff like that.

A business continuity plan: Your supply chain’s safety net 

This plan is all about making sure your business keeps running, no matter what risk factors come into play.

For instance, if one of your main suppliers suddenly can’t deliver, a good continuity plan might have a backup supplier ready to jump in. It’s like the spare tire in your car — you hope you won’t need it, but it’s there just in case.

A contingency plan: It’s good to have options 

This plan is all about the “what ifs.”

What if a major courier goes on strike? What if there’s a sudden surge in demand for one of your products? 

By mapping out different scenarios like these and how you’d handle them, you’re ready to pivot and adapt. 

It’s like having different routes for your road trip. If one road is blocked, you’ve got another way to reach your destination.

4. Do your homework when picking supply chain partners

Imagine you’re putting together a dream team for a big game. You wouldn’t just pick anyone, right? 

You’d want to know their strengths, weaknesses, and if they can pass the ball when it counts. 

The same goes for choosing potential suppliers and service providers for your business. Doing your due diligence and looking into that stuff upfront can save you a ton of headaches down the road.

Audits: Supplier report cards 

Supplier audits are like those pop quizzes you dreaded as a kid. They help you see if your suppliers are really on top of their game. 

By regularly checking in and evaluating their performance, you can spot any red flags early on. 

Maybe a supplier’s quality has dipped, or they’re not delivering on time. Regular audits can help you catch these issues before they lead to worse problems or unhappy customers.

Risk assessments: Measuring those “what ifs” 

What if a supplier’s factory faces a shutdown? What if there’s a major disruption in their region? 

By assessing these risks, you can gauge how reliable a supplier might come through in tough times. It’s like checking the weather forecast before a big outdoor event — you want to be prepared for any storms on the horizon.

Other supplier evaluation tools 

There are tons of tools out there to help you vet suppliers. From checking their financial health to seeing how sustainable their practices are, these methodologies give you a 360-degree view. 

For instance, you might use big data to analyze a supplier’s past performance or use AI to predict future risk events. The key is to gather as much info as you can so you can make an informed choice.

5. Playing by the rules

Navigating regulatory requirements can feel like walking through a maze. But it’s a maze you’ve got to conquer to avoid risk exposure. 

Whether it’s safety standards, import/export rules, or industry-specific guidelines, staying compliant is non-negotiable. 

So, stay informed. Regularly check in with industry groups, attend webinars, and maybe even consider hiring a compliance expert. 

Just make sure you’re playing by all the rules and avoiding any nasty surprises. 

6. Prioritizing sustainability: Doing good while doing business

Now, let’s talk about the planet. From sourcing raw materials responsibly to reducing waste, there are tons of ways to make your supply chain greener

And guess what? It’s not just good for the planet — it’s good for your business, too. Customers love brands that care, and you might even save some money and gain a competitive advantage along the way. 

Start by looking at where you can reduce waste, switch to greener suppliers, or even use more sustainable packaging. Every little bit helps.

7. Engage all stakeholders in risk mitigation

Ok, let’s talk teamwork. 

You know how in sports, a team that communicates and collaborates tends to win more games? The same goes for supply chain risk mitigation. 

Your supply chain isn’t a one-person show. From your suppliers to your in-house teams, everyone’s got a part to play. 

Here’s how you can keep everyone in sync to make risk management a whole lot smoother and keep supply chain issues from throwing you off your A-game.

Suppliers and distributors: Your frontline allies 

These folks are your eyes and ears on the ground. They’re the first to spot potential problems, from raw material shortages to delivery delays. 

So, keep those lines of communication open. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and even joint training can go a long way. 

Remember that time when a supplier gave you a heads-up about a potential delay, and you managed to find a workaround? That’s the power of collaboration!

Internal teams: your in-house experts 

Your in-house teams are like the engine of your ship. They know the ins and outs of your business and might be able to spot potential risks from a mile away. 

Whether it’s the procurement team flagging a supplier issue or the IT team warning about a cybersecurity threat, their insights are gold. 

So, make sure they have a seat at the table. Regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and open-door policies can help foster a culture of open communication.

8. Keeping a finger on the world’s pulse

Let’s zoom out for a moment. 

The global supply chain is big, complex, and always changing, and your supply chain has to keep up. Because when you know what’s happening out there, you can make sure your supply chain stays rock solid, no matter what.

Follow these pro tips to stay ahead of the curve.

Geopolitical situations: The world’s chessboard 

Love it or hate it, what happens in the corridors of politics and power affects your supply chain. Trade wars, regulations, diplomatic ties — they all play a part. 

A major trade dispute can lead to tariffs (costing you money) and shake up global supply chains. By keeping an eye on geopolitics, you can anticipate these challenges and adapt your strategies accordingly.

Market dynamics: Staying in sync with the business world 

Markets are always changing. Whether there’s a sudden surge in demand, a new competitor on the block, or even currency fluctuations, staying informed helps you adapt. 

Maybe you need to source from a new supplier, tweak your pricing, or even consider expanding into a new market. The key is to stay agile and ready to move.

Your blueprint for supply chain success

Mitigating supply chain risks is no small feat these days, but one thing’s for sure: a proactive approach is the way to go. 

Now more than ever, you need business tools that are up to the task. And that’s where Circuit for Teams shines. 

It gives you live tracking, route management, and real-time delivery tracking at your fingertips, plus the convenience of an easy-to-follow app. You can even send automatic customer notifications and seamlessly import delivery data (the kind of data that improves your decision making).

Ready to take the next step? Sign up for Circuit for Teams, and let’s work together to make your entire supply chain all it can be.

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.


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