3 Ways Technology Can Strengthen Your Supply Chain

How technology can play a crucial role in the way organisations manage their supply chain.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on global supply chains, with 45% of firms surveyed reporting significant disruption, according to The Economist.

Another survey of 200 executives by Ernst & Young found that 93% of respondents intended to make their supply chains far more flexible, agile, and resilient in order to better tackle supply chain issues in the future.

Before Covid-19, supply chains experienced challenges, but these were fairly resilient in most industries. However, today's definition of supply chain resiliency has changed drastically with a large emphasis on global diversification, visibility, and surplus capacity.

With current global economic challenges and more uncertainty ahead, organisations need to establish new ways to improve the supply chain to reduce the impact of issues in the future. Fortunately, the right technology can help organisations build a stronger, more robust supply chain. Here are three ways:

1. Improve Supply Chain Visibility with Actionable Data

Significant growth in global trade during the last few decades has resulted in the rise of complex supply chains, and 68% of product disruptions result from poor demand signalling. Yet, few organisations take the time to comprehensively analyse the web of manufacturers, buyers, suppliers and distributors within their supply chain.

An essential aspect of supply chain success is access to accurate data and transparency across the whole supply chain. Real-time data allows organisations to track inventory and make quick decisions to prevent supply chain gaps and delays.

In early 2020, demand within the healthcare supply chain spiked due to the need for essential personal protective equipment (PPE) coupled with export bans and manufacturing staff shortages. Overnight, many suppliers responsible for providing the raw materials used to create life-saving PPE were unable to provide their goods.

By using technology to analyse real-time data, automation can be put in place to provide early warnings and forecast possible changes to supply and demand. For instance, when local healthcare providers can predict Covid-19 hospitalisations, alerts are triggered to plan coordinated responses to secure resources efficiently. This creates a positive ripple effect relieving strain on cross-industry supply chains and ensuring responsive care within communities to help keep businesses and schools open.

Real-time supply chain data enables organisations to have maximum control and visibility to identify areas of vulnerability and any anomalies that occur. Using this data, organisations can effectively secure products more sustainably and prevent potential risks leading to supply chain efficiencies and lower operating costs. 

2. Identify and Collaborate with Diverse Supply Chain Partners

Supplier diversity is now, more than ever, a priority for large organisations keen to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase customer and user outcomes. To achieve this, organisations must be able to identify suppliers across the globe and work together to improve existing products and services, offer new products and services and find new ways to innovate.

Recent surveys have shown that many consumers want to support small businesses within their local community, and diverse SME suppliers fill an important gap in the supply chain. Their size, agility and flexibility allow them to work fast to meet buyer deadlines and provide value-added services and products. In healthcare, supplier diversity is a fundamental component that improves inclusiveness, builds trust between patients and providers, and improves health outcomes.

But while large organisations may be keen to work with diverse SMEs, identifying and qualifying potential suppliers can be difficult and time-consuming for procurement teams. However, the solution is simple. By using advanced technology such as SimplyDo, organisations can connect with suppliers in the wider economy - empowering faster contracting with diverse partners, resulting in improved purchasing transparency, and, ultimately, better outcomes.

3. Effectively Manage a Global Supplier Network 

Alongside a large multifaceted organisation are often hundreds or even thousands of partners providing supplies and supporting operations. Understandably, many organisations do not have the resources to manage a wide variety of suppliers across multiple locations. From contracts, performance tracking, invoicing and payment schedules - there is a lot to manage. Given this, many large organisations do not proactively look for new partners to work with, but this prevents them from innovating and working with diverse suppliers that play a key role in improving the supply chain. 

Once again, technology can help. Using an integrated and automated solution, procurement teams can keep up to date with suppliers, control spending and efficiently manage operations.

Closing thoughts

Today’s competitive marketplace means there’s less room for inefficiency, and it is imperative for organisations to improve and innovate constantly.

By leveraging the power of technology and adopting digital transformation, organisations can simplify supply chain management, streamline business processes, reduce commercial risk, and source critical products and services to save money, time, and in some cases, lives.

At SimplyDo, we provide the infrastructure for large organisations to identify and collaborate with external partners to create new revenue streams, diversify the supply chain and stay ahead of the competition.

Book a demo today to find out more.

John Barker
Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships