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Can your supply chain weather any storm? How to optimize your supply chain for the future

Your supply chain is more than just moving goods and services from point A to point B. It’s also a reflection of how well your internal business goals and processes are aligned and your level of commitment to delivering value to your customers – today, tomorrow and 20 years from now. Is your supply chain ready?

In a global survey, 57% of businesses said their supply chains were a competitive advantage yet only 6% had full visibility into their supply chains. A lack of visibility makes it difficult to plan ahead, pinpoint vulnerabilities or anticipate disruptions.

To remain competitive it’s essential that your supply chain strategy is aligned with your business objectives and bolstered by technology so that you can remain agile, flexible, and able to respond quickly to market demand.

There’s never been a more important time to make sure your supply chain delivers

The global health and economic crisis that transpired as a result of the spread of COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for supply chains. And while most companies have the resources, personnel, and strategy to weather typical disruptions inside of their own supply chain, the fragmentation in the global connected supply chain due to shutdowns and social distancing is unprecedented.

In a March 2020 survey by the Institute for Supply Chain Management®, nearly 75% of companies around the world reported supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and almost half (47%) reported reduced revenue of 22% on average.

“It’s very difficult to turn a supply chain on a dime,” Collective Insights Director Donovan Sharkey said. “We advise our clients to work on a supply chain strategy that gives them quick win results but positions them to be successful on what they’ll be doing five years from now.”

Businesses who mapped their supply networks and had visibility into their suppliers prior to COVID-19 are in a better position now. It’s essential to identify and understand each point in your supply chain – including any weak or underperforming areas so that you can make sure alternative suppliers and options are available in case of a disruption.

Preparation is the key to navigating disruptions to the supply chain and visibility is essential to ensure network continuity and optimization, as well as your competitive advantage.

A bulletproof supply chain is diverse and flexible

Companies who have not strategically diversified their supply chain footprint, sourcing, and route-to-markets are at an increased disadvantage when major disruptions occur. One of the easiest ways to safeguard your supply chain is to diversify partnerships in supply, manufacturing, and distribution. That way, if you need to pivot to a regionally sustainable supply chain, you’ll be ready.

If your business recently made costly investments in the supply chain, priorities may need to be realigned as a result of the post-COVID-19 economy. For a supply chain to operate effectively in the face of global turmoil and volatility, it must be designed with flexibility and have the ability to be reconfigured quickly with simplified processes that balance risk mitigation, opportunity loss, and overall cost.

“Supply chain leaders will be pressed to develop a supply chain that is future focused – they’ll need to understand what type of people and processes will be needed to lead and drive the supply chain and to meet consumer expectations ten years from now,” Sharkey said.

The design of your supply chain directly affects your ability to compete and to serve your market. In light of recent world events, it makes sense to reevaluate your supply chain strategy so that you’re prepared for potential changes in consumer preferences and demands.

The future is powered by technology and collaboration

When you think about the future of your supply chain, start by considering the technology used to support it. Many automation and digital technologies are affordable and can streamline operations to provide value up and down the supply chain and lower operational costs. Studies show that digital supply chain technologies can contribute to 10% higher product availability, 25% faster response to market time and 40%-110% higher operating margins compared to companies without digitization.

As technological products and upgrades become more mainstream and less expensive, more companies are making the investment in digitization and automation. Yet it’s critical to find a solution that fits your unique business so that you can scale your automation according to your supply chain needs. By integrating your entire supply chain network with innovative technologies, analysis shows that you can enhance demand forecasting, facilitate partner collaboration, and increase agility by as much as 50%.

To effectively collaborate with supply chain partners, you must be able to share information easily, accurately and on time. And with advanced technologies like IoT, A.I., machine learning and advanced analytics, your supply chain leaders can gain insight into the continual stream of events that occur — helping you better prepare for future events or disruptions and make decisions faster.

At Collective Insights, we work with clients at all levels of maturity to advance their supply chain so that it is resilient, captures value, supports your business objectives, and mitigates risk.

Click here to learn more about our Supply Chain Transformation services