The supply chain, or supply chain, has been heavily impacted by the effects of COVID.
Companies have had to manage production and distribution times with the awareness that both their supplies and the availability of the workforce are unstable resources.
In this phase, we have seen the transition from a production time of 50 days to a “new normal” of 113 with a major impact on cash flow and on the ability of companies to manage commitments made to suppliers and credit institutions.
There are two effects that were immediate and visible:
- the prices that companies could afford to offer on the market, after extensive fine-tuning and optimization of their supply chain, were no longer able to meet the needs of the organization. Many companies have needed to intervene on several fronts, from cost reduction to price review, which has inevitably upset the balance with customers.
- the need for a realistic approach to credit management to help organizations stay in business. This part was also supported by long-term government initiatives that want to stimulate at the same time the growth of new entrepreneurship entering the market.
A recently emerged effect, on the other hand, represents an inverse trend compared to the last 15 years. The optimal flow of goods within the warehouse, with minimum inventories to contain fixed assets, was a goal supported by the entire organization. Currently, there is a tendency to fill the warehouses more, in order to cope with an unstable flow of goods.
The supply chain becomes for many companies the decisive element between being able to satisfy requests and the risk of losing customers and turnover. It is realistic to think that the impacts of COVID on the supply chain will continue to affect the manufacturing ecosystem for a long time to come.
During the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium / Xpo in Orlando which ended yesterday, problems and stimuli for the future emerged that will require increasingly intelligent solutions so that 34% of industry leaders indicate new technologies as the greatest strategic change to implement within 5 years.
The risks have been summarized in
- Cognitive overload
- Evolution of customer expectations
- Technological change
- Cyber security of the supply chain
- Energy instability
The best way to manage problems is to have a risk assessment with a related mitigation plan. In this case, Gartner has identified 8 occasions, of which 4 are particularly interesting:
Overcoming the automation of the single platform to move to a system that connects different technologies, orchestrating their functionalities and processes, and using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
The data collected in the various phases of the processes are the basis of the reporting that can reach different levels of sophistication, from the simple visualization of the data to the information feed for ML systems and predictive analysis, bringing us closer to an accurate and reliable system.
Collaboration at the ecosystem level
Improving the communication exchange between different systems is not limited to IT management and the simplification of a UX and UI experience. Create a shared language and opportunities to generate new value, updating people, data, machines, systems, processes and things in real time.
Cybersecurity is a growing challenge, particularly in relation to ecosystem collaboration. With the increase in connections and data exchange points, it becomes vital to adopt a structured approach that keeps security first with a shared standard at the highest level.
To learn more, the Gartner press release is available here
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