Top Supply Chain Innovation Focus Areas for 2022

Gary Cassell, Global Manufacturing and Automotive Industry Lead, Appian
January 13, 2022

In 2022, organizations across industries will be leaning in to improve agility and resilience across their supply chain ecosystems. With ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic, changing customer expectations, an evolving technology landscape, and the demand for more sustainable practices, supply chain managers need efficient and transparent processes more than ever before. 

Supply Chain Port Image

Organizations must concentrate on key aspects of transformation that will provide the greatest impact. Here are some of the top supply chain areas organizations should focus on for innovation in 2022.

1. Vendor and Supplier Management. There must be a heightened focus on communication and collaboration amongst supply chain partners moving forward to make the supply chain more agile and resilient. Amplified engagement will boost cross-functional visibility that will help with disruption response and ultimately customer satisfaction. Transformation opportunities include the following:

  • Vendor onboarding - Streamline the workflow for vendor qualification and performance measurements. Implement a solution that improves visibility throughout to ensure reduced onboarding cycle times.
  • Supply chain planning - Streamline the sales and operations planning process, creating an integrated business management process that empowers stakeholders to focus on key supply chain drivers, including sales, marketing, demand management, production, inventory management, and new product introduction. Orchestrating the planning process ensures executives have the information needed to make key decisions that improve customer experience and drive positive financial impact.
  • Inbound supply management - Leverage data and implement technology that ensures end-to-end transparency across the supply chain. Look for a platform that can unify data and processes into a single interface, allow you to adapt to changing environments, and streamline workflow with automation capabilities.

2. Order Management. Customer expectations have shifted dramatically over the past few years, and organizations must adapt to deliver a satisfying customer experience. Supply chains must pivot operations to accommodate an “order from anywhere, fulfill from anywhere” model. Transformation opportunities include the following:

  • Order fulfillment - Implement a solution that can collect orders from any channel in one place and automate optimal sourcing and shipping routings for the fastest possible fulfillment.
  • Inventory availability - Innovate to gain real-time insights into inventory counts to better manage requests and stay ahead of demand to minimize customer service issues. 
  • Reverse logistics - Optimize the reverse logistics process to reduce costs for companies, as well as earn customers’ trust and repeat business. Implementing a platform to orchestrate and provide visibility throughout the reverse logistics process has many benefits, which include happier customers, increased asset utilization, reduced costs, and improved environmental sustainability.

3. Transportation and logistics. Moving forward, there must be a growing emphasis on achieving resilience in delivery. This can be promoted through more connected operations, providing enhanced visibility and traceability throughout. Transformation opportunities include the following:

  • Extending Warehouse Management Systems -  There is a need to augment and extend warehousing tasks and activities. A solution with automation capabilities can reduce errors caused by manual tracking and boost efficiency within the warehouse.
  • Transportation visibility - To deliver an enhanced experience, look to automate and streamline workflow to improve visibility and tracking across the delivery process.
  • Fleet management - Gain the ability to make more informed strategic decisions regarding fleet management. Effectively collect and utilize data on invoices, available hours for drivers, load/ticket information, job run-sheets, per-delivery costs, and more, with an innovative solution.

One thing is certain: we can’t predict exactly what future disruptions to our supply chains will be. Uncertainty is the new norm, making it necessary for organizations to build in agility and resilience across the entire supply chain ecosystem.

Appian is well positioned to help organizations increase the resiliency of their supply chains. Our Low-Code Platform can be implemented quickly and seamlessly, providing impact to those areas of your supply chain that are struggling most. Appian complete 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 disruption.

Learn more about how Appian helps orchestrate and prepare supply chains for the future in this eBook, The Future of Supply Chain Orchestration.