COVID-19 in America is about to reach its one year anniversary. The early days of the pandemic brought instability and several unknowns, exposing the inefficiencies of the supply chain, which led to delays, shortages, and millions of dollars lost across the end-to-end value chain. But as the dust has settled, businesses are taking a closer look at what it takes to build a stronger supply chain strategy so the same kinds of disruptions never happen again.
The Modern Supply Chain
Is there a magic formula to improveimproving your supply chain processes? Perhaps not. But at the heart of every successful supply chain today is one thing: digitization. The most innovative businesses have either traded in their outdated, manual processes or built their companies from the ground up using a supply chain platform that drives collaboration, visibility, and compliance from one place. This step-wise approach allows businesses to finally digitize the manual tasks that cost them so much valuable time and money in the beginning.
As you take the initial steps to a digital future, let’s “audit” your supply chain and identify the inefficiencies that can be improved in three major areas:
Data is at every turn of the supply chain — being fed in from every interaction, vendor, integration, ERP, logistics, and audit system you touch. Sure, digital supply chains rely on data, but the key differentiator of next-generation platforms is the ability to interpret it. The difference is in using data to map your entire end-to-end supply chain, gain visibility across every function, and have the ability to trace exactly what you need when you need it.
When all processes are digitized and trackable in a cloud platform, teams upstream and downstream can predict delays, manage risks, and meet goals easier. Plus, everyone from managers to vendors to manufacturers can have a common platform to communicate, collaborate, and stay informed.
Modern SCM isn’t just about surviving, but thriving. A digitized supply chain provides true value because it allows you to go beyond basic management of your data to use it proactively.
By marrying sourcing and production data with sales data, supply chain managers can forecast new orders and reorders based on what SKUs and partners allowed them to have the highest sell-through at the best prices, quality, and timelines. It also allows high-level executives to pull reports from each phase of the product lifecycle to see where improvements can be made.
Compliance is one of the most complex and expensive supply chain processes, adding up to thousands, if not millions, to a company’s overhead every year. When the back and forth with factories and suppliers is eliminated, and instead, all documents are housed in one database, supply chain managers can make the right factory assignments based on compliance/sustainability initiatives.
A digital supply chain strategy allows you to build transparency with stakeholders through quick and convenient reports from a single source, reducing time and moneycosts spent on vendor and supplier management. Lastly, it ensures an ethical and transparent supply chain that your customers can trust.
Prepare Now for the Future
The COVID pandemic still isn’t over. Even when it is, we’ll never know what the future holds in terms of viruses, natural disasters, economic crashes, and so on. But being prepared means having foresight and proactive measures in place instead of reacting when panic buying and shortages occur.
Whether you’re still reeling from the early effects of COVID or you want to be better prepared the next time changes in the market occur, it’s time for a digital supply chain strategy. Your team, vendors, customers, and bottom line will thank you for it.