The massive disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted significant challenges in global supply chains. As highlighted in Fortune magazine: “The coronavirus pandemic has caused delays and other frustrations in businesses’ global supply chains…Companies caught flat-footed should learn their lesson from this crisis and begin making fundamental changes now to prepare their supply chains for future shocks.”
“While COVID-19 may be the catalyst for companies to revisit their global supply chain strategy and accelerate the adoption of Digital Supply Network models and capabilities, short-term actions need to be made to respond to the immediate challenge.” – Jim Kilpatrick, Global Supply Chain & Network Operations Leader at Deloitte
There is industry wide agreement in the need to build intelligent and flexible digital supply chains; in the requirement for increasing connectivity and collaboration between all partners; and being able to quickly and effectively react to – and predict – changing patterns in supply and demand. Difficult times breed innovative solutions, and the current pandemic may be a catalyst for a rapid digital leap in supply chain integration.
Supply chain resilience relies on new levels of integration
To achieve the levels of business agility and collaboration required demands a renewed focus on supply chain integration. It is no longer enough to just digitize communications with trading partners. The data moving in the supply chain must be leveraged for insights both to help identify disruptions as they happen, and to predict their likelihood based on patterns and signalling events.
“New digital supply networks are being built and designed to anticipate disruptions and reconfigure themselves appropriately to mitigate their respective impacts.” – Jim Kilpatrick, Global Supply Chain & Network Operations Leader at Deloitte
The integrated supply chain must also be able to quickly adapt to actions taken to address the disruption. If, for example, a critical supplier is hit by an earthquake, how quickly can an alternative supplier be found and integrated into the supply chain process to minimize the impact? Getting this right requires careful planning, but also a flexible approach to integration that can support rapid adaptation.
Pervasive and adaptable integration of global supply chains is no longer a nice to have, it’s vital for continued supply chain resilience. Beyond traditional EDI, supply chains should look at these four areas to further increase their productivity and resilience:
Enterprise application integration
Organizations are used to integrating internal applications and systems to enable automated information flows and collaboration. As supply chains become more connected, these systems also need to integrate with partners, suppliers and customers to enable connectivity that goes beyond traditional document exchange.
Organizations are equipping almost every part of their supply chain and connected assets with IoT sensors, and the ability to integrate the various IoT devices as part of the ecosystem ensures that organizations can use unprecedented amounts of real-time information to gain valuable insights and react quickly to changing conditions.
The supply chain team must be able to ingest digital data from any source, automating the collection, management, storage and distribution of data such as product information, reports and forecasts. Automating manual data collection and processing tasks allows supply chain professionals to focus on value-adding activities and supply chain improvement.
Integrated decision support
Effectively capturing and processing quality data enables the application of advanced analytics to drive decision-making, gain insights and better plan and optimize operations. Integration and data management play a crucial role in delivering reliable, timely and accurate data to analytics.
The evolution of the unified enterprise integration platform
Historically, integration has been siloed, treated as a series of isolated use cases, or a tactical afterthought without plans for scalability or coordination. Today, supply chains need to bring together multiple different elements into a unified enterprise integration platform like OpenText™ Trading Grid™.
Forrester recommends organizations overcome integration complexity by choosing a strategic enterprise integration platform. Their report states: “This platform is a comprehensive end-to-end approach that converges data integration and data management, application integration, B2B integration, and IoT integration into a coherent set of capabilities. This is foundational to the type of digital transformation that prepares a firm to react to an unpredictable future of digital disruption and to get maximum value from its data.”
A modern enterprise integration platform is a critical enabler for building resilience against future shocks to your supply chain. And the time to start building is now.
To find out more, join us on Thursday, June 18, 2020, at 11:00 AM EDT for our webinar, “Single unified platform: What is single unified integration platform and how does it work?“