Cooler News: Managing the Supply Chain During the Pandemic

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Even in the earliest days of the pandemic, the spotlight was on national and global supply chains. How would they hold up if the worst came to pass? Now several months into that world-wide crisis, Jeff Monroe, Director of Supply Chain at KPS Global, spoke about the challenges of supply chain management during the time of COVID-19 and how KPS found ways to overcome those obstacles and maintain integrity of the supply chain for its customer base

“Like many organizations, KPS has a global supply chain,” Monroe said. “We had to think quickly and make changes along the way. We did a good job of staying ahead of COVID.”

But Monroe noted, “We buy a fair amount of completed items from suppliers also impacted by the pandemic. First, the impact was on their ability to get parts, and now it’s their workforce. I’d say every part of our supply chain felt the impact and is still feeling it today.”

While Monroe said KPS’s supply chain didn’t feel an immediate impact from the pandemic, “the most pressing issue from the beginning was buyouts (those complete product purchases from suppliers.)

“The challenge we faced was a dwindling supplier stock at the reorder point. We kept regular communication with our suppliers to know what was going on and find alternate options if product wasn’t available.”

A side effect of the tariffs KPS experienced in 2019 were some unexpected benefits in dealing with the pandemic. Monroe and his team were already engaged in finding sourcing solutions to mitigate the impact tariffs had on their supply chain.

“Because of the tariffs situation, we started to dive into our supply chain a little bit deeper and understand our costs,” Monroe said. “We found some of our local suppliers could also get us many of the parts and products, or suitable alternatives, we needed.”

These additional sources helped reduce tariffs for KPS and proved beneficial in navigating the pandemic.

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