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covid-19 managing supply chain disruption with a customer centric approach

In light of the preceding outbreak of Covid-19, we stand amidst global uncertainty surrounding trade practices in certain geographic areas. The full impact on supply chain is still unknown and we ought to assess its disruption on the global supply chain of payment cards, from the wide range of raw materials to the finished product. For instance, we can trace back the downscale of payment cards manufacturing operations to the following:

  • Delayed return of workforce
  • Lack of personnel mobility
  • Traffic & time restrictions

As a leader in payment solutions in the MENA region, we depend on our innovation in payment cards, and our digital supply network, to realign our card production process with our clients’ demands, while remaining customer-centric and agile to any changes.

Long-term tactics to mitigate supply-chain disruption:

1. Streamline process & data management:

With a rich array of data gathering and analytics, we are able to project to our clients’ needs and ensure we keep on delivering hyper-personalized services as per demand and on time. Our data management process includes gathering information circulated between our clients to be analyzed for future operations; we have digital channels that help us understand our inventory status, predict material stock-outs before they exist, and tracking production and delivery process. This form of visibility across our supply chain network helps us curate data to ensure we meet our clients’ demand.

2. Diversify our supply chain geographically

Our extended supply network across several geographic areas has been a key component in our multi-sourced supply chain strategy as well as tackling the challenge of cross-border shipping while most routes remain blocked at the moment. To buffer against supply chain disruption, we rely on more than one supplier for greater agility in maintaining supply to demand. This allows us to quickly reconfigure our production schedule based on available inventory, changing customer demand and our ability to securely and timely deliver payment cards without the risk of stock-out.

3. Employees’ soft skills and deployment of company values into our order processing cycle.

We believe that in business endeavors, it’s no longer a talk about the impact of hard skills, or production capacity of the firm, but an overflow of trust, integrity, and interpersonal relationships that result in a positive perception about the work flow of their counterparts. Hard skills remain a requirement, since they resolve matters related to inventory management and logistics management, but soft skills are necessary to maintain and deliver the consistent quality of services we pride ourselves for.

A report by Langleg in collaboration with Capgemini Consulting supported the fact that future supply chain skills will need to include soft skills to supplement hard skills, and 72% of CEO’s felt that soft skills are more important to their business in the current environment (Bak, Jordan, 2018).

Short-term tactics to mitigate supply-chain disruption:

1. Enhance focus on quality control: These measures range from digital proofs to card samples, and small batch production to ensure we meet our client’s quality standard.

2. Mitigate risk from tier 1 suppliers: It’s important to gain full visibility on our key suppliers, in terms of their supply inventory, production capacity, and order fulfillment status to mitigate the risk of material stock-outs.

3. Extend our activity with tier 2 suppliers: In order to alleviate the risk of not meeting customer demand, we are pro-actively gaining visibility on our extended supply chain network to keep providing critical components that can ensure we deliver on-time.

4. Conduct global scenario planning: Assessing what-if scenarios is essential to formulate a synchronized supply-demand strategy for our clients in the MENA region. Clarifying whether the scenario is a shift in demand, or loss in demand to update production portfolio of credit, debit and prepaid cards accordingly.

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