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Ensure Supply Chain Resilience in the Wake of COVID-19

Victoria Ebel, Appian
May 21, 2020

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of supply chains across the world. The global, multi-tiered setup of today's supply chains has allowed for tremendous amounts of bottlenecks and roadblocks to be brought in with the pandemic.

"Supply chains have become highly sophisticated and vital to the competitiveness of many companies. But their interlinked, global nature also makes them increasingly vulnerable to a range of risks, with more potential points of failure and less margin of error for absorbing delays and disruptions. A decades-long focus on supply chain optimization to minimize costs, reduce inventories, and drive up asset utilization has removed buffers and flexibility to absorb delays and disruptions."

Areas of Disruption

This pandemic has shown that many organizations were not aware of how vulnerable their supply chains were to global disruptions. Without the proper tools and technologies in place, organizations have struggled with processes and visibility across their supply chain operations.

Procurement: Procurement teams have been challenged during this time, as they have been struggling to secure raw materials and protect supply lines without having open communication channels and easy access to information across their global teams. As a result, their response to the disruption has been reactive and uncoordinated, creating issues down the line. To be successful going forward, organizations need to centralize and automate their procurement processes. This will give the transparency needed to be more strategic in their sourcing and negotiations including supplier diversification, contract modifications, and alignment to supply and demand changes.

Logistics: The current surge in product demand from the pandemic and shift to online ordering is creating chaos for logistics teams. Moving goods across borders with tighter restrictions and customs regulations is proving increasingly challenging for transportation companies. Digital initiatives and increasing flexibility within logistics is more crucial than ever before. To achieve more efficient and agile processes, organizations must look for solutions that simplify and strengthen end-user communication and provide the information and insight needed for logistics teams to make smart decisions.

Vendor and Supplier Management: A heightened focus on risk management is increasingly important, especially as related to qualification, selection, and on-going monitoring of third parties. Additionally, in some sectors, the surge in demand is leading to network-wide shortages across the supply chain where there will need to be an increased volume of communication and coordination with vendors and suppliers. Without the right technology and processes in place, these areas are difficult to manage and can lead to inefficiencies, mistakes, and unexpected costs. Organizations can improve the supplier and vendor management processes by implementing solutions that provide a single interface for relationship management, on-boarding and risk assessment, data storage, and communication capabilities to ensure simplicity and ease.

Looking Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught many organizations the hard way that they must reduce their global supply chain vulnerabilities and ensure proactiveness by implementing new solutions.

Fortunately, the technology is already available to help manage and improve the end-to-end supply chain, increasing resiliency going forward. A low-code platform approach can help to break down silos and connect people, processes, and data in a single location. Implementing such a platform with built in technology such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and workflow management enables end-to-end visibility, collaboration, agility, and optimization across supply chain orchestration.

Appian for Supply Chain Resilience

"The COVID-19 outbreak is likely to result in longer-lasting reconfigurations of supply chains to build resilience."

Appian is perfectly positioned to help organizations increase the resiliency of their supply chains. The low-code automation platform can be implemented quickly and seamlessly, providing impact to those areas of your supply chain that are struggling most. Appian's full-stack automation capabilities also help reduce tedious work that contributes to bottlenecks. The enhanced visibility, collaboration, and integration of a single, unified system will bring supply chains back up-to-speed and help prepare them for future disruptions.

Learn more about how Appian helps orchestrate and prepare supply chains for the future with this ebook.