By Bob Ferrari, Supply Chain Technology Market Influencer, Consultant and Independent Industry Analyst
Product demand or supply chain disruption are nothing new for supply chain management teams. They are an everyday occurrence. Yet, the frequency and scope of such disruptions have been on the rise. While many never expected it, the COVID-19 global pandemic coupled with heightened geo-political trade tensions and climate change risks has tested many supply chain business and decision-making processes.
Simultaneous shocks in both product demand and supply are new occurrences, and in many cases, events have been an alarming wake-up call for many businesses particularly in regard to managing, sustaining and enhancing business process capabilities for product demand and supply network response. Regional and global supply chains continue to be tested and the fissures and cracks must be continuously identified and corrected. In the pandemic disruption, it has been the dedicated and innovative efforts of people and teams leveraging digital technologies and methods that have made a discernable difference.
Moving on to whatever may be termed the “next normal”, businesses and their respective functional and supply chain management teams must be able to better leverage a digital backbone of capabilities supported by more appropriate technologies.
The opportunity presented is to accelerate digital process adoption in critical areas. Businesses can then be prepared to return to growth, as well as having enhanced ability to mitigate ongoing disruptive risk.
Operations and supply chain management teams now, more than ever, need to be prepared for a post-pandemic industry and business environment where change and disruption will likely be a constant.
In this technology focused research advisory, developed as a joint thought leadership effort with Oracle, we outline and address new rules and associated capabilities directed at enhancing supply chain insights, broader collaboration and overall resiliency.
We specifically address three important capability areas that we deem essential for supply chain management and their supporting IT teams to assess and prioritize in terms of added focus and attention.
Integrated business planning is about being able to make more informed and context aware product demand fulfillment and supply network decisions based on near real-time, accurate and consistent data shared collectively among various line-of-business and supporting functions including finance, sales and marketing, supply chain planning and customer fulfillment support teams. The goal is to provide the most-timely information, in proper context and risk weighted to the implications for various ongoing plans and outcomes.
Different from prior approaches, the process should not be about added time trying to reconcile to a single number but rather to make more rapid, and best-informed decisions with information that best indicates where attention needs to be placed.
The goal is a consistently recognized plan, accessed by all pertinent decision-makers or stakeholders, supported by internal and external collaborative-based information exchange.
Enhanced visibility implies a requirement for multi-tiered supply network visibility not only for inventory and capacity, but much broader needs as-well. Richard Schertler, CIO of the Wonderful Company describes visibility as: “The ability to look at the organization more broadly as opposed to siloes, with better visibility to our customers and suppliers, as well as the ability to drive cost out and help the bottom-line.”
Such visibility can be supported from a technology perspective from today’s more advanced supply chain planning and fulfillment execution response management capabilities as well as from Cloud based B2B Supply Chain Network platforms supplemented by pre-intergrated software applications. Chris Wood, Vice President, Business Transformation for global package delivery and logistics services provider FedEx describes this type of capability as “constantly aligning networks.”
In our Ferrari Consulting and Research Group 2020 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains Research Advisory published in January 2020, and specifically our prediction of likely advanced technology investments, we pointed to the acceleration of the speed and context aware intelligence of overall decision making as a priority for many multi-industry business and supply chain management teams. That was before the pandemic made its extensive and far-reaching global impacts.
Our belief remains that the increased leveraging of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and advanced analytical capabilities will garner the most need in supporting customer fulfillment, integrated business planning, physical process and other more proactive business process decision-making needs.
Today, much more than before, more advanced and affordable Cloud-based technologies provide the means for fusing both physical and digital generated data and information sources. The physical aspects are the actual assets and machines monitoring the operational status and performance leveraging IoT technologies, where defined parameters or thresholds are encountered, communicated to respective digital based supply chain planning, execution and inventory and field service dispatch applications for proactive actions.
More agile decision-making increasingly implies bringing together customer, product, and end-to-end supply chain planning as well as customer fulfillment information among different product demand and supply networks. Data must be the timeliest available and placed in the context of associated information needed to make the most informed decision relative to consequences and outcomes.
Today’s available data harmonization, integration and synchronization, coupled with autonomous data management capabilities are becoming a far more foundational need in the area of more predictive and agile supply chain decision-making.
The new normal often does not allow a quest for 100 percent accuracy of data, but rather a continuous planning process that can provide the earliest detection of unplanned events, note abnormalities and/or market opportunities. They should include notions of Detect, Adjust, and Adapt, with the ability of teams to connect the dots and have context related to decision-making implications.
A complimentary copy of this new research advisory can be downloaded at this specific web link, by providing basic registration information.
This point-of-view Research Advisory is being provided as a thought leadership resource in conjunction with and the collaboration of Oracle, however the content included is the sole responsibility of The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group which maintains all content copyright.
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