With the advent of COVID and the subsequent global trade upheavals, supply chain organizations have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform their operations. Companies that don’t prepare for future supply chain disruptions risk being disrupted and left behind by their competition.

Supply chain was always vital, but more often than not, it was considered a low-profile part of business operations. Logistics leaders are quite adept at handling disruptions such as shipment delays or, at best, demand spikes.

But now, in the new normal, they are blindsided and are scrambling to overhaul processes to manage the turmoil in the logistics space.

Today’s globally connected supply chains have been rattled—various unforeseen events have given way for economic volatility and introduced a diverse set of financial and reputational risks. For example, the global pandemic has sent supply chains scrambling to build more resilient and efficient supply chains while at the same time developing a new approach for managing risk and uncertainty. Both are needed to sustain organizations through the upcoming turbulent months (perhaps years) while positioning them for future excellence and competitiveness.

Now at the center stage because of COVID-19 and global trade upheavals, supply chain organizations have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform their operations. Companies that don’t prepare for future supply chain disruptions risk being disrupted and left behind by their competition.

What should businesses do to manage risk and uncertainty and position themselves for future excellence and competitiveness?

Gartner’s research shows that supply chain leaders perceive technology primarily as a competitive advantage—they focus on long-term value. Yet, 80% of organizations favor a cautious approach to adopting new supply chain applications and technologies.

In the logistics space, each entity collects, generates, and stores relevant data that resides in systems that are often fenced off from one another—thereby limiting access to information that could improve operations and forecasts. Using partial or outdated data, for example, makes it challenging to discover workflow glitches in time to correct a situation, resulting in delivery commitment delays.

Beyond data, there are often hidden supplier vulnerabilities, such as a lack of flexibility in a distribution strategy and transportation mode or limited visibility into a privately held supplier’s financial performance. These challenges underscore the need for digital supply chain management platforms that deliver top-down, real-time visibility, from one end of the supply chain to the other—and help proactively reduce or mitigate risk.

Supply chain management platforms provide a ‘control tower view’ of all interrelated components. When integrated with analytics, they turn businesses agile—ensuring shipments on time and inventory levels to a minimum.

Where Enterprises Struggle Most ?

Unifying data from all supply chain sources is necessary to enable meaningful analytics and automated operations. Organizations still relying on spreadsheets and other manual processes find that these methods don’t scale well as the supply chain grows more extensive and distributed. For example, manual approaches mean that most of the data used for forecasting and planning are historical.

Given the global upheaval that COVID-19 has triggered, managing supply chain risk is top of mind throughout the logistics business. Risk management is the main area where technology could better respond to global supply chain disruption.

In particular, manual operations are an anathema to properly managing risk, and restricting forecasts to a core set of generally known variables. Highly accurate risk management requires adding data to forecasting models that, together, over time, help identify non historical and otherwise unpredictable variables.

The most straightforward way to meet data integration and risk management challenges is to migrate to a digital supply chain management platform. Two-thirds of businesses around the world plan to upgrade or replace their supply chain management technology within a year. A couple of crucial system components can ease the transition.

For that, the digital platform should support application programming interfaces (APIs) and standard data formats that enable select data to be shared among internal systems, customers, partners, and suppliers.

Broad platform support for APIs can also ease migration from older supply chain management platforms to modern, integrated ones. For instance, a company might convert a financial or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into a unified supply chain platform with prebuilt APIs that transform data from one system to another reasonably painlessly.

The IDG study of global IT and supply chain managers revealed some good news: The anticipated benefits of supply chain modernization seem to be tracking with what adopters are experiencing. For example, nearly half (47%) of the respondents said they hoped supply chain modernization would make technology integration easier—the top hoped-for benefit among all respondents. And nearly the same percentage, 45%, said they were experiencing easier technology integration. Robust data analytics capabilities were the second-most-anticipated outcome, with 40% of the respondents citing it as an expected by-product of modernization. Indeed, 37% of the respondents said they had gained the ability to run powerful data analytics with their modernization initiatives.

Let’s say there’s a transportation glitch that impacts your inbound supply of goods, trickles down to manufacturing, and affects your ability to get orders out. Using the digital platform’s dashboard, combined with unified data in the data lake, you can see all these relationships, discover who’s affected, and find other supplier sources, if needed, so that you can move forward with your delivery commitment.

Unified platforms with integrated data don’t only offer real-time tracking of and insights into shipments already in play. They also help find the best product or component source at a given moment, based on the supplier’s current inventory levels, price, and delivery times. That insight helps with generally controlling costs and operational efficiency. It’s challenging to use traditional processes with a limited or [non-existent] portal into what’s happening today.

Sometimes figuring out how to get from one technology foundation to another can seem overwhelming, given existing investments in equipment, software, skill sets, and processes. Integrated data affords greater visibility into the holistic, dynamic picture of supply chain activity. Once combined, data can be enhanced by powerful analytics for actionable insights, dynamic responses to disruptions, better risk management, and increased forecasting accuracy.

Adopting a modern digital supply chain management platform as a migratory investment or replacement project helps you leapfrog outdated processes to become data-driven in the many ways described quickly. Said platform should aggregate and integrate data at all levels.

Supply chain integration challenges and manual processes have kept some enterprises from managing their supply chain as efficiently as they might. As economic uncertainty perseveres for the foreseeable future and with supply chains growing only more complex, businesses need to modernize their supply network workflows to improve visibility, get ahead of the unexpected, and reduce cost. Unified digital supply chain management platforms powered by machine learning are the cornerstone components that will enable them to do just that.

Why Techwave?

Techwave is revolutionizing digital transformations in the supply chain collaboration space through its flagship SupplyVu™ platform.

What is SupplyVu™ ?

The SupplyVu™ is a Cloud-based Solution to achieve a Collaborative Intelligent Supply Chain Network which connects local, regional, and global operations for a real-time view across the supply chain.

The SupplyVu™ Value Proposition

  • Rapid deployment: SupplyVu™ EMI in the Cloud can be deployed in a fraction of the time because it’s pre-validated and baseline-configured with a library of integration options
  • Provide near-instantaneous back-up, recovery, and cloning of your Techwave environment regardless of size
  • Low-latency analytics: with Techwave Analytics with AI and Machine Learning, Stakeholders can perform deep dives into intra-day risk positions in real-time that standard analytical computing cannot do
  • Secure, Scalable, Sustainable leveraging Cloud environment which also provides the ability to extend third party integration to various parties who support the overall supply chain process as well as provide more in-depth and richer data insights to customers for competitive advantage