Shifting Our Thinking About Technology Amid the Supply Chain Crisis

Shoppers and businesses alike are preparing for a second consecutive holiday season in a post-COVID world. As they do, the supply chain crisis highlights (again) the need for business agility and resiliency. But, while the challenges are plentiful, so are the opportunities for positive change—starting with how we think about technology.

Here are three ways business leaders can begin to shift their mindsets on technology, how it affects the supply chain, and what role it can play for your business in 2022.

  1. Be the change! You can contribute to a more transparent supply chain. 

    As organizations grew over the last few decades, so did their technology infrastructures. But, in many cases, tech systems were implemented piecemeal. This gave way to modern new platforms, but simultaneously created an unstable network of “solutions” that entire enterprises rely on. Without a cohesive strategy to manage captured data, it stays within siloed workflows that fail to work across the organization’s value chain. This all inhibits predictability, which leads to a reactive cycle of responding to disruption instead of planning for it.

    Instead, businesses should incorporate more transparency in their organizations, leveraging data and AI to better understand business dynamics and end-to-end workflows, ranging from the production facility to the retail shelf. Armed with their own organized data, retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers can also choose to share relevant insights with appropriate partners in the supply chain, creating a more effective chain that ultimately serves everyone better.

  2. Integrate flexibility into your business process.

    Business leaders should think about business processes the same way marketers think about the customers’ path to purchase — one continuous journey that features many moving parts. Whether your business is B2B manufacturing, D2C retail, or some combination thereof, it is nonetheless dependent on the supply chain. Instead of reactively responding to supply chain disruptions as they happen, build a macro view of your business processes in a way that allows you to adapt and adjust as needed. The most effective business processes aren’t strong because they’re rigid—on the contrary, it’s because they’re flexible.

  3. Be more thoughtful about new technology investments.

    It is tempting to use technology to solve all our problems. But sometimes, we are too close to a problem to fix it. So, we reflexively reach for the first viable solution. This typically results in a myopic view of business, solving one issue at a time. (And occasionally creating new ones along the way.) If your systems aren’t working together to help achieve your business goals, they’re working individually to slow them down. Business leaders should instead look at their tech stacks from a holistic viewpoint, analyzing how much value they’re getting from their technologies and how it all impacts supply chain dynamics. Are you getting the data you need in real-time? Can you effectively respond to minor and major disruptions?

    We live in unprecedented, unpredictable times that require supreme visibility across the organization. Find technologies and specialists that can support predictive modeling and “to be” scenarios. With this kind of forward-thinking, businesses can better face the uncertainty that comes with modern disruptions.

    The repercussions of the global pandemic continue to reverberate throughout the business community. But by shifting our thinking about technology, we can create more resilient supply chains that work together for positive change in the wake of global disruption. To talk more about your organization’s workflows and supply chain challenges, contact our experts any time.

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