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Three ways to future-proof your supply chain
Allan Dow |
July 3, 2023 |

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Today’s supply chain practitioners are under intense pressure to do more with less. By refocusing on network design, increased collaboration in the C-suite and enhanced supply chain sustainability, supply chain leaders can future-proof their companies and prepare for “what-ifs.”

Following are the three ways that businesses can strengthen their organizations against supply chain disruptions.

Pivot quickly with supply chain network design

In a survey of 200 manufacturing executives, Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance identified shipping costs as the top concern in fulfilling contracts. Second was product issues caused by suppliers struggling to meet demand.

A strong supply chain network design allows leaders to pivot quickly when needed. By creating digital twins, for example, they can test various scenarios, new suppliers, and providers’ shipping and distribution costs before taking the plunge and making changes.

By rapidly prototyping supply chain scenarios, quantifying costs and measuring the impact on service, organizations can make better-informed decisions that take all factors into account.

Improve margins with integrated business planning

Supply chain network design brings together chief financial operators and chief supply chain officers to collaborate. 

Finance teams know the ins and outs of currency and margins issues, while supply chain leaders make decisions based on understanding units, capacity and lead time. These two business functions often stay in their respective corners, depending on siloed systems. As a result, they often end up surprising each other — and not in a good way. 

To succeed, leaders of both disciplines must foresee risks and strategize to mitigate them. Integrated business planning (IBP) can help, aligning supply chain and finance organizations with a common language, and allowing companies to navigate supply chain constraints and expenditures to achieve their finance priorities. This is especially true in the areas of cost management, financial performance and both organic and inorganic growth. An IBP platform helps planners recommend the right stock at the right time, influence supply chain planning and improve inventory projections.

Move sustainability beyond the status quo

Eighty-three percent of consumers believe organizations should actively shape environmental, social and governance (ESG) best practices. Because customers want sustainable products, brands are increasingly adopting digital supply chain platforms to scale their ESG capabilities. 

Today, with growing demand for greater compliance reporting, it’s crucial that companies document the chain of custody from material origin to importer of record. The right platform captures data from the entire supply chain, enabling transparency, risk mitigation, collaboration and ethical decision-making.

According to KPMG, six in 10 organizations plan to invest in digital technology this year to bolster their supply chain processes, data synthesis and analysis capabilities. Companies need to adopt tools that can help them to quickly evaluate scenarios, collaborate better across teams, become more prescriptive about the future, and make progress toward sustainable operations. Such an investment will go a long way toward overcoming supply chain uncertainty.

Author: Allan Dow

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