Leveraging Technology to Enable People

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People are the heart of your company and one of your company’s most valuable assets. That’s why practically every company strives to provide great compensation, benefits, offer new age work spaces, and cultivate engaging and fun cultures. All of this is needed just to keep up in the supply chain talent war. But one other key factor I’ve heard in talking with customers is providing the right tools for the job. Give a quality tool to the right worker and they’ll create a masterpiece. It can be both that simple and that complex. Finding that tool, which in supply chain means technology, can be a daunting task.  Balancing operating costs, and customer service metrics is no easy feat. But with the right supply chain technology, you can deliver breakthrough results. Processes that took days or even weeks can be effectively and efficiently accomplished in hours or minutes. Imagine higher customer satisfaction at lower costs. It’s about finding the best way to connect data, processes and people. So how can you leverage supply chain technology to enable your team to achieve success? By ensuring whatever solution you deploy has a key set of capabilities designed to make it easier for you to work smarter, not harder. Sense and Respond Today’s supply chains are global, complex, and constantly shifting. Forecasts are often wrong. Knowing sooner when an event occurs, and the risks associated with any potential fallout, means less chaos. You and your team will be able to respond faster to change if you can rapidly make informed risk decisions based on scenario analysis and collaboration—two key features that should be requirements when evaluating any supply chain software solution. By adopting a sense and respond model for your supply chain, supported by the appropriate technology of course, you’ll have the right resources available and a clear strategy in place for when an unanticipated event happens—because let’s face it, in supply chain, dealing with the unexpected is just a way of life. Single Source of Truth How many versions of the same Excel spreadsheet are floating around your office? The answer is probably too many, and that can mean big trouble for your business. Not having everyone work from the same data set means you’re working with data that’s either incomplete, outdated, or both. To overcome the challenge means integrating not just the different data sources, but the actual supply chain processes as well. This includes a technology that allows participants to collaborate in real time. And the best way to accomplish that and derive real value is by using a single system that serves as a system of record for all your data sets. Collaboration As you know, supply chains are complex, and that means dealing with complex problems. While technology can help quickly process data and provide possible solutions via scenario simulations, people understand uncertainty and compromise, two pivotal aspects in overcoming challenges. Machines don’t. At least not to the level we need them to (although who knows what the future will hold!). Collaboration also lets you harness the collective minds of your team. Very rarely will a single person have the right answer 100% of the time. By leveraging everyone’s expertise you can come to a consensus faster, and engage everyone impacted to manage any trade-offs. End-to-End Visibility Working as a team is vital, but that team can’t just be limited to inside the four walls of your department, or even the walls of your company. Oftentimes multiple stakeholders are involved, including suppliers and customers. But in order to bring them into any collaboration, you need to understand where and how they impact your supply chain. Without complete data visibility, the information flow is slow, resulting in more time wasted waiting for the numbers to be crunched, and less time dealing with any arising issues or opportunities. There needs to be an end-to-end global strategy, complete with total visibility upstream and down. There’s no denying the power of technology is truly great. Just check out these video clips showcasing what real supply chain practitioners have to say about how it revolutionized their processes. Imagine a strong workforce plus these advanced tools. You’ll transform your supply chain so you can take care of today as well as be prepared for the uncertainty the future holds. But if you have the right workforce but not the right tool? Well, even Michelangelo needed specific chisels to carve his famous statue of David.

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