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From Disruption to Innovation: How to Build a Resilient Supply Chain

Gary Cassell, Industry Lead, Manufacturing and Automotive, Appian
June 28, 2021

It’s no secret that there has been massive disruption across global supply chains over the past year. In fact, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies have stated that they are facing supply chain disruptions from COVID-19. 

Many factors have conspired to drive disruption, leading to increased costs and delays for many industries and ultimately impacting the prices that companies and consumers pay for goods.

Materials Shortages: Starting with the great toilet paper shortage at the beginning of COVID, various materials shortages have been a constant over the past year. For example, inventories of cars and homes are at or near record lows, with enough supply for only one month of car sales and 4.4 months of home sales. Compare that to inventory levels that could cover about two months for cars and 5.5 months for homes before the pandemic [The White House reports]. Utilizing predictive analytics and ensuring a close partnership with suppliers will be crucial to successfully navigating the ongoing shortages moving forward.

Port Delays: Port-related disruption can create a domino effect on supply chains, and unfortunately, there have been a number of port delays in the past year. The vulnerability of ports must therefore be considered when thinking about supply chain resilience. To meet the fallout caused by port disruptions, organizations need complete visibility into sourcing, inventory management, and logistics planning to identify blocks and pivot quickly when needed.

Weather Incidents: In recent months, weather disasters such as wildfires and snow storms have hindered access to plants, increased shipping delays, and led to operational shutdowns. To better prepare for extreme weather, organizations will need to enhance collaboration with suppliers and increase flexibility so they can maintain production even through disruption.

The challenge of traditional supply chains.

In the face of these disruptions, organizations have had to respond rapidly, pivoting operations and implementing makeshift solutions to stay afloat. This has brought to light just how siloed and fragile supply chains really are within most companies.

The lack of end-to-end visibility caused by these siloed systems and data has been many companies’ greatest challenge. Not having access to real-time data has led to damaging delays in response times and left organizations having to manage disruptions without a clear sense of the potential fallout of their decisions.

To better prepare for future disruption, companies must look toward a more agile and connected supply chain. Organizations that are better prepared to act quickly and pivot to changing environments will have a competitive advantage moving forward.

Building resiliency for the future.

"Developing advanced supply chain capabilities makes strong economic sense and gives companies the agility needed to respond to disruptions." — Global Digital Operations Partner, PwC

To build the more resilient and responsible supply chains of the future, organizations must leverage data to be more effective and implement technology that ensures end-to-end transparency across the supply chain. 

The Appian Low-Code Automation Platform enables this transparency and has capabilities that transform supply chain orchestration. Here are just some of the benefits of the Appian platform:

Improved Visibility 

  • Unify multiple systems and data sources to give end users a single interface to manage data in real time.
  • Gain control tower visibility to provide process, data, and key metric transparency.
  • Establish improved business monitoring and outcomes.
  • Create transparency across end-to-end supply chain operations to identify “blind spots.”

Enhanced Flexibility 

  • Quickly and effectively adapt to customer and market changes with low-code development.
  • Connect to your data where it is, ensuring no duplicate data and enabling real-time information.

Increased Efficiency

  • Streamline and simplify workflow with automation capabilities, such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and machine learning.
  • Optimize logistics and transportation efficiency. 
  • Efficiently onboard and connect stakeholders with real-time collaboration throughout the end-to-end supply chain.

Want to see Appian in action?

Visit us at the upcoming, free-to-attend Future Supply Chain 2021 Virtual Event, and view our session Building Agility and Resilience Into Your Supply Chain at 2:05 p.m. EDT on July 13th. See firsthand how Appian is helping to enhance end-to-end supply chain visibility.