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Resources and guidance for supporting employees, customers, and partners during this unprecedented health crisis.

  • September 8, 2020

Tips for Building a Resilient Supply Chain

Caterina van Leeuwen
PR Manager Switzerland
This is a syndicated post, view the original post here

Recent political and social upheavals have spotlighted the fragilities of supply networks and magnified some of the instabilities. Here are some strategies to help enterprises build a more resilient supply chain to navigate through uncertainty.

As a recent Accenture study reveals , 94% of Fortune 1000 companies are experiencing supply chain disruptions because of Covid-19 and 75% of the companies have experienced a negative impact on their business.

Discussing our upcoming webinar on how to achieve higher supply chain efficiency through disruptive technology, Francesco Cuccia, Strategy & Consulting SCM, Accenture Switzerland, confirmed "This is not a typical risk event. The scale of the impact eclipses anything most supply chain leaders will have anticipated. The speed of the escalation requires continuous end-to-end assessment, optimization and monitoring. Companies need to respond rapidly and confidently to shape and execute a short-term tactical plan that will mitigate the risks to human health and protect the functioning of global supply chains. In doing so, strong data and analytics capabilities are crucial in understanding complexity, anticipating potential disruption, and quickly developing a response.”

Build a resilient and agile supply chain

Companies are focusing on adaptability, speed, risk reduction, and sustainability whilst adopting more flexible sourcing and distribution strategies as regionalization has become a trend. A good example is Oracle, which has migrated part of its multi-billion-dollar manufacturing operations from China to Texas.

Organizations will need to realign operations and supply chains to thrive in this new reality. They will need to securely support remote workers, for instance, and learn to engage with customers in new – often virtual – ways. Omnichannel ordering and fulfillment will help provide alternate pathways to work through unforeseen bottlenecks.

Emerging technologies and methods will underpin the new era of resiliency. What-if business scenario modeling in the cloud will help companies choose from available courses of action amid an ever-changing market landscape, factoring in variables like costs, risk, and growth. New technologies such as blockchain can connect people across supply networks, locking in the trust companies require to negotiate risk-laden trading environments.

Plan (and execute) continuously

Aligning plans with customer demand will continue to make sense, but to stay nimble in the face of rapid change, companies will need to update forecasts and strategies almost continuously. This will call for a deeper level of insight and collaboration among trading partners and suppliers – as well as among company planners themselves.

Drawing from a single set of enterprise data in the cloud, companies now have the ability to continuously plan, forecast, close the books, and adjust course with unprecedented speed and precision. Planners are harnessing new technologies to meet potential disruptions head-on. With AI, machine learning, and predictive intelligence, companies can intelligently anticipate and plan for what comes next.

Predictions from machine learning can help guide the planning process, providing recommendations and “guided resolutions” for optimizing supply chains. Oracle’s Planning Advisor relies on predictive and cognitive technologies to take the guesswork out of planning decisions and save planners the burden of manually culling data and spotting patterns.

These and other advanced technologies like digital assistants are making humans smarter and the planning and decision-making process faster and more efficient.

Innovate (and scale) faster

It is now crucial to bring new products to market faster, and we are seeing companies innovating and flexing in record time. Car manufacturers are pivoting to build ventilators. Pharmaceuticals are quickly shifting research programs to find COVID-19 vaccines. And retailers are finding ways to virtually engage and sell to customers.

Accelerating innovation requires an integrated view of the product lifecycle, from ideation to commercialization. The days when companies ran product development and supply-chain planning as separate functions are coming to an end.

The cloud helps companies innovate faster by providing ongoing access to fresh capabilities.

In order to build brand loyalty and enable consumers to make conscious choices, Retraced is using the Oracle Blockchain Platform to verify the authenticity and responsible sourcing for CANO handmade Mexican huaraches. Oracle Transportation Management and Oracle Warehouse Management help Mazda Motor Logistics map its entire supply chain.

Thommen-Furler AG specializes in chemical and lubricant distribution, environmental technology, and the disposal and recycling of industrial waste. Today, the company relies on Oracle solutions for all business processes, from procurement to warehouse management, planning and sales to logistics and finance. This means that they have been able to increase efficiency and customer centricity.

Mazda Motor logistics are able to measure KPIs for their European distribution center and their regional warehouses by combining Oracle Transportation Management with Oracle Business Intelligence. This allows them to compare the performance of their warehouses in the same way, with the same KPIs.

Gain total visibility (and trust)

Agility requires rapid access to all the information and insights in order to make the right choices in the most complex operating environments.

Access to a unified data model across business functions helps enormously in this effort, providing planners with the multi-tiered visibility that’s key to deciding where to source materials, make products, and deliver goods.

The single source of truth also gives companies confidence in their what-if scenarios so they can plan for multiple outcomes.

Global operating visibility enables trading partners to work together with less friction and build trusting relationships.

New blockchain-based applications, such as Oracle Intelligent Track and Trace, takes visibility a step further, allowing companies to monitor the flow of goods and services between enterprises down to individual lots or items.

The technology can be integrated with every link in the supply chain to cement trust and speed transactions between business partners as well as consumers who increasingly demand full traceability of the products they buy.

Build in sustainability

Every supply chain has its environmental and social consequences.

From the carbon emissions of transportation networks, to the industrial waste from factories, to the ethics practiced by suppliers, all the issues surrounding sustainability do not go away during times of global disruption. Indeed, sustainable supply chain practices are even more relevant in a world where resources may be harder to come by.

The best strategy is to embed principles of sustainability in your supply chain, using them to guide decisions ranging from product design and factory floor configuration to sourcing and logistics.

Companies like U.S. food processor LiDestri is doing just that, leveraging cloud-planning solutions to cut food waste in half and trace ingredients from the field to the individual jar.

It’s proving what more companies are discovering: that sustainability and a healthy bottom line are perfectly compatible – even in the toughest of times.

Learn more about customers who have moved their supply chain operations to the cloud.

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