can your supply chain handle demand spikes?In the current environment, where trends can get around the world in minutes powered by social media, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be agile enough to respond to sudden spikes in demand.

It was noted by the BBC that for manufacturers, having the right supply chain solutions in place to ensure you can make your product and distribute it as fast as possible is essential.

Director of European TV Research at NPD Displaysearch Paul Gray told the news provider that firms across all sectors are getting nervous about weak links in this process and how they would cope should one element break down.

He noted the technology industry in particular experienced a huge wake-up call last year after the Japan earthquake and tsunami, which disrupted manufacturing operations for several firms.

Therefore, it was stated that business software packages such as network design tools are vital, as these can simulate what might happen in a supply chain and calculate where steps need to be taken.

Research director at Gartner Tim Payne explained this is crucial when decisions need to be taken quickly.

“The processing speed at which they can run through a plan or simulation can take seconds – rather than having to run it overnight,” he said, allowing companies to make much better estimates about how their decisions will impact production and their ability to meet demand.

But it’s not just disasters that companies will need solutions in place to handle. The BBC highlighted the example of one fashion label that experienced a sudden and unexpected spike in demand after one of its products was worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Craig Sears Black, managing director of Manhattan Associates, said: “That dress sold out in an instant.” However, he added the manufacturer missed its chance because its supply chain was too inflexible and by the time it would be able to ramp up production, the moment had passed.

“The shop could have sold 30,000 of those garments – but it had no idea that Kate Middleton would wear that dress. The retailers and manufacturers who are smart at spotting those trends are the ones that will have greater profitability.”