How to Eliminate Disconnected Teams and Increase Supply Chain Visibility

True: The supply chain is the lifeline of many companies and is key for operational success.

Also true: Only 10% of supply chain professionals feel extremely prepared for future disruptions, according to a recent survey.

In today’s ever-changing world, disruptions are inevitable – in fact, 79% of supply chain professionals deal with unanticipated changes on a daily or weekly basis. The future state of supply chain operations needs to be built on a culture of visibility and collaboration across teams – meaning organizations must commit to continuously evaluating and working to break down organizational silos with a methodical change management process.

Why is it so hard to react to change in the first place?

In our survey of supply chain professionals, respondents pointed to manual processes (39%), disconnected systems (20%), lack of insight (19%), and fluctuating priorities and regulations (18%) as major hang-ups when responding to change.

This was only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and 54% of survey respondents cited increasing visibility as a supply chain priority. So, what should organizations do to increase their operational agility when it comes to responding to change?

Prioritize Collaboration and Automation

Organizations need to rethink existing supply chain practices and technological abilities to prioritize transparency and resilience. This can be achieved by automating formerly manual processes, which provides better visibility for teams whether it be order management, inventory or procurement processes. Not to mention, it will be much easier to meet customer demands and maintain customer satisfaction and a competitive edge.

Gaining more visibility across the organization ultimately gives all contributors within the wider supply chain network insight into what is happening when, providing more informed decisions and faster reaction times.

Centralizing unique processes and operational data is an essential practice to allow teams the ability to streamline execution in previously siloed environments.

Invest in Agile Technology to Strengthen Core Systems

To extend the use cases of core systems, organizations need to add a layer of agility on top of existing environments. For supply chain teams, this can come with a no-code agility layer to unite data and systems and remove tedious, risky manual processes. For example, an organization can digitize multiple supplier operations processes in a single environment. From onboarding and audits to corrective action planning and KPI tracking, all interrelated pieces can be managed and customized in a single tool chain.

These added layers of agility serve a dual purpose by empowering business users to create their own solutions and automated processes all without the cost and time of a traditional approach while maintaining the scale, security and governance features required. With Quickbase specifically, organizations highlight the speed with which they can stand up systems and unite data.

As a result, this gives teams unique opportunities to identify, escalate and resolve their own issues quickly and efficiently as well as adapt their processes as changes occur in the business. By adopting the right technology and giving business users that are closest to the work more direct control over their workflows and processes, organizations are better prepared to solve issues timely and effectively.

Conclusion

Supply chain resilience must be improved for companies to not just survive but thrive in our ever-changing world. This can be made possible by increasing visibility into workflows that must be executed in collaboration between a manufacturer and supplier and automating manual tasks slowing the process down. Increasing transparency and agility within your operations in tandem with the right tools will allow you to adapt quickly, safely and effectively to changing circumstances.

About the Author

Peter Rifken is a Solutions Principal & Consultant at Quickbase based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Quickbase provides a no-code operational agility platform that enables organizations to improve operations through real time insights and automation across complex processes and disparate systems.

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