project44 on 3 ways supply chain visibility will promote success in 2022


1- From seeing to doing. Turning visibility into action

12 months of crisis and uncertainty across the supply chain has taught the industry a valuable lesson; visibility is power. Try as you might, there’s little you can do to control the ravages of a pandemic, nor can you exert much influence on global trade wars or hasten chip production.  What you can do is ensure you understand your position exactly so that you can make the smartest decisions at any point, no matter the challenge.

Those that have remained resilient, ready for 2022, are those that have moved quickly to infuse superior visibility into their supply chain. The way to do that is through data. As McKinsey recently highlighted, “Successfully implementing AI-enabled supply-chain management has enabled early adopters to improve logistics costs by 15 percent, inventory levels by 35 percent, and service levels by 65 percent, compared with slower-moving competitors.” By integrating AI analytics across their supply chain management systems, many have already achieved much greater insight in the last twelve months but visibility isn’t enough.

Having embraced visibility through technology, next year will see trailblazers moving quickly from visibility to action across each stage of the supply chain.

In the next 12 months, those forward-thinking supply chain managers will use their new-found visibility in ever-more agile and responsive ways to ensure supply chain synchronisation – even in the face of unforeseen disruptions or demand fluctuations.

Those who have only just cottoned on to the importance of insight will quickly move to play catch up. Those still pondering the value of visibility are likely to fall behind in a rapidly evolving market environment.


2 – Visibility becomes a core customer experience issue

It is not just global crises that organisations are navigating in new ways.

Over the last five years, customer expectations (B2B and B2C) have changed dramatically; customers continue to demand more at each transaction stage.

In the next year, visibility in the supply chain won’t just be imperative for reasons of resilience. With sustainable, ethical practices taking a prominent place in purchase decisions, consumers want visibility into the provenance of products through their lifecycle.

Providing this end-to-end visibility for consumers will be the next level of customer experience strategy that sets brands apart over the next year. As Bain & Company’s Elements of Value research shows, companies that meet their customers’ sustainability expectations deliver higher revenue growth and greater customer loyalty.

Those already embracing digital visibility strategies will help lead the way in answering the demands of customers for provable sustainability standards. Again, supply chain visibility will prove a key differentiator in the fight for customer loyalty over the next year and beyond.


3 – Spotlight on crisis will empower talent 

According to Gartner, just 27% of leaders say they have the talent they need to meet current supply chain performance requirements.

In the same report, Gartner warns “Employees are not currently empowered to act with agility. If CSCOs truly want to build an agile workforce, then they need to redesign work and focus on the capabilities that support digital. Adapting to new technologies and effectively leveraging data and analytics in the supply chain will require new capabilities.”

Issues in the global supply chain continue to make headlines in the mainstream media. This spotlight provides an opportunity to demonstrate to future talent what careers in the supply chain can deliver; impactful, innovative, valuable, and secure work in a booming sector, being steadily revolutionised by the latest technologies. It’s time to make opportunities in supply chain careers visible and attractive.

In the next 12 months industry must do two things. Firstly, make sure they are collaborating closely with educational institutions to offer and instill the skills required in this increasingly digital industry. There are already flourishing programmes at universities offering supply chain-focused curriculums but there needs to be greater collaboration between academia, industry, and technologists to ensure talent and innovation develop hand in hand.

Secondly, supply chain leaders must ensure they are empowering talent with the tools and technologies that enable them to move through this crisis with agile, supported responses. No one wants to be chasing their tail knowing that there are solutions out there that aren’t available to them. When talent is in short supply, those employers that don’t provide them with the best tools for the job will see prospective and existing recruits jump ship to those that are prepared to invest in those tools.