Prepare supply chains for uncertainty

posted by Ellie Lamey
8 December 2022

During the past year, the world has been exposed to continuous risk with major disruptions sending shockwaves through supply chains.

Global conflicts have led to widespread economic disruption that is creating an unpredictable environment for the supply chain industry.

Covid-19, the most significant disruption in recent memory, uncovered the hidden vulnerabilities of the linear and fragmented supply chains that many businesses have traditionally operated with. This approach is clearly unsuitable for the volatile economy we currently face in which the next severe disruption is less of an if, and more of a when.

Connecting with networks

It is paramount that organisations progress from the outdated linear supply chain model and diversify their portfolio of suppliers by embracing supply chain networks. Supply networks enable businesses to leverage a many-to-many structure that enables them to alleviate their dependencyon a few big trading partners.

Additionally, once connected to a network, organisations gain a holistic visibility into the activities of each and every one of their suppliers. This is particularly valuable in the face of continuous disruption as it permits businesses to quickly collaborate with a multitude of suppliers and therefore respond to unexpected disruption far more rapidly.

Unlocking longevity with digitisation

To recognise the full potential of a network model, supply chains must be digitally-led and supported with modern technology. By embracing digitisation, not only can businesses drive substantial efficiencies, but they can also more accurately determine demand and supply in real-time and enhance their capability to respond to issues.

This also allows organisations to identify and work with the most efficient and low-cost logistics suppliers for order fulfilment, enabling them to quickly reroute shipments and ensure deliveries are handled quickly.

Supporting decisions with data

With a fully digitised supply network, organisations can leverage data insights to better understand the activities in their procurement function.

Tracking rapid changes in customer demand, product availability or third-party transportation issues across complex supply chains is not an easy task, so getting a single view of all this data is an influential competitive advantage. With data insights, business leaders can monitor product demand in real time and alter production and supply in-line with swells in demand.

Organisations can leverage the combined intelligence of key industry players to examine historical data, identify trends and benchmark against key peers. These insights allow organisations to make more informed decisions and proactively address issues before they become a problem.

To survive in today’s challenging landscape that is defined by rising inflation, soaring energy prices and impending recessions, it is vital that supply chain resilience is established. Utilising a digitised supply network that is constructed upon a continuous flow of data will allow organisations to better withstand any market disruptions when they inevitably strike.

☛ Ellie Lamey is head of intelligent spend & business networks at SAP UKI.

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London (Central), London (Greater)
Circa £50K
Insight Executive Group
London (Central), London (Greater)
Circa £60K
Insight Executive Group
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