Covid-19, blocking of the Suez Canal, natural disasters, Brexit, or Russian-Ukraine war-like political upheaval are not just some unexpected occurrences of the past, they are also reminders of the disruption brought to our global supply chains. Exposing vulnerabilities and fragilities in supply chains, made us realize how unprepared we were for sudden changes. As the world gets riskier every day, and change is the only constant, businesses need to be ready with resilient, efficient, and smarter supply chains. Industry leaders need to analyze the current pain points to better prepare for tomorrow.
Is your supply chain risk-ready?
The analytical understanding of risk analysis, very well understood in the financial sector, now needs to be applied to supply chain management. High recovery costs and long recovery lead times due to border delays, inventory buildups, or additional operational glitches, add immense pressure on business sustainability and viability. Businesses cannot rely on manual or outdated methods for demand planning, e.g. analyzing historical data to calculate sudden market shifts. They need to incorporate forward-looking external data to improve and strengthen supply chain capabilities while preparing for the inevitable next change.
A proactive approach, combined with vibrant risk-management potential can help brands avoid and manage unforeseen disruptions. While focusing on efficient, cost-effective, and reliable operations, sustainable supply chains of the future have an additive goal of upholding environmental and societal values. Brands need to access the ecological and human impact of their products with the goal to minimize environmental harm.
Integrating Systematic Risk Management in Supply Chains
The ultimate goal is to be well prepared to fulfill customer demands, at the lowest cost, in the most environmentally sustainable way - even in times of crisis. By embedding a control tower approach in regular operations, brands can jump-start transformation to autonomous planning and strengthen business foundations to thrive under challenging conditions. A control tower provides enhanced visibility into every step of the supply chain with big data and advanced analytics to enable faster strategic decision-making with minimal human intervention. Using data as a springboard for autonomous growth, companies can identify performance issues in the early stages, and boost business performance while keeping costs low.
Setting up a Supply Chain Control Tower for Autonomous Planning
Data forms the backbone of supply chains, unifying it into a cloud-based ecosystem that automatically refreshes, and helps free up valuable resource time that can be invested in higher-value activities. Smart data analytics helps brands focus on driving the most value to business by:
- Digitizing the supply chain to strengthen capabilities of anticipating risk.
- Achieving greater visibility and coordination across the supply chain by using data for high-level impact calculations that enable better prioritization of critical tasks.
- Reviewing existing steps in the planning process to determine potential bottlenecks and understand how new systems can support existing ones.
- Building a highly decentralized supply chain structure with easy cross-functional collaboration for synchronized real-time, company-wide decision-making.
- Creating better visibility by connecting and consolidating data from multiple sources, cleaning and organizing it to create a single, centralized, reliable source of truth.
- Delivering data in digestible and user-friendly format for quick action.
- Equipping the teams with tools to conduct regular scenario planning to add market intelligence at every stage of the supply chain to help achieve brand competitiveness.
- Developing a set of reactive and proactive response strategies basis detailed market analysis.
- Automating repetitive tasks to improve speed, accuracy, & flexibility in supply-risk management and also address the labor shortage issues that add to the management challenge.
Technological improvements and big data analytics have created a huge impact on every part of the supply-chain operations, from planning to logistics. Cutting-edge technologies like AI, blockchain, ML, and automation are forming an integral part of the retail supply chain. They help in understanding customer requirements better while keeping the overhead costs low, speeding-up decision-making, and diversifying the last mile to pave the way for autonomous planning. Omnichannel retailing and an increase in demand for same-day deliveries in e-commerce are pushing the supply chains to rapidly evolve into a global, interconnected network of data and processes. With Net-Zero in mind, brands need to be cautious of their inventory and demand, to build greater visibility into the supply chain and agility in business.