Supply chain management the post-pandemic era

Nov 2021 | Article

supply chain management the post pandemic era

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of supply chains worldwide. One of the biggest lessons from the pandemic was to set up resilient supply chains, which are critical to the survival of any business. While several factors, from supplier relations and target geographies to market and consumer trends, play a role, end-to-end visibility of the entire supply chain is fundamental. That’s where next-gen technologies powered by AI, big data analytics, IoT and machine learning can be of assistance.

For example, equipping goods with IoT-based track-and-trace sensors helps companies know how they move through their warehouses to their destinations. Companies can predict shipment delivery timelines, calculate when they must order more supplies, and figure out how long their inventories will last with such real-time data. Real-time visibility is essential to grapple with increasingly complex supply chain challenges.

Supply chain challenges

The growing complexity of global supply chains was already a conundrum because of changing consumer needs, stricter regulations and trade restrictions, increasingly diverse product portfolios and more volatile customer segments.

The pandemic made matters worse by adding uncertainty to the mix. As a result, companies struggled with uncertainty over demand and market dynamics, goods delivery, customs clearances, resource and raw material shortages, and more.

While everyone was caught unawares, the companies with the least amount of technological adoption suffered the most. For instance, India has one of the largest supply chain and logistics sectors at USD 215 billion and a CAGR of 10.5%. However, Indian companies suffered from lack of technology adoption.

That’s because while these companies are equipped to use historical data for demand forecasting, their systems aren’t made for processing vast amounts of real-time data. An event like a pandemic warrants real-time modelling for better decision-making.

Black swan events like the pandemic evolve rapidly, prompting quicker decision-making on business planning and operations, requiring access to accurate real-time data.

The need for real-time tracking to build resilient supply chains

While digital sales were gaining traction before 2020, the pandemic turbocharged this trend. Ecommerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon capitalised on their well-established technological stack to grab the spotlight and provide seamless shopping experiences to their customers with live updates on their shipments and real-time tracking of their logistics partners.

As a result, the average B2B customer will expect superior experiences from companies too, just like those delivered by Amazon or Flipkart in their personal lives. End-to-end visibility and collaboration across the supply chain have now become the new mandates.

The first step is to collect real-time data as analysing both historical and real-time information is crucial for everything from accurate demand forecasting to optimising logistics operations. That requires platforms capable of tracking real-time information on customer preferences, inventory availability, movement of goods through the warehouse, and shipment routes.

The TTBS fleet tracking offering uses IoT and AI-powered technologies to track delivery vehicles and monitor delivery routes and provide alternatives if required. They also monitor driver performance, temperature and other essential vitals to calculate ETA on shipment delivery and facilitate near real-time updates through SMS and email.

It’s also worth noting that increases in technological adoption make companies and their supply chains more vulnerable to security breaches and cyber threats. For instance, the supply chains of pharmaceutical companies are more susceptible to cyberattacks. The pharma industry is more resilient to disruptions as they hold huge inventories. However, they’re vulnerable to cyber threats because of their intellectual property, vast capital and troves of sensitive information. That’s why companies must level up their cybersecurity, which has become critical in an increasingly BYOD world.

The TTBS cybersecurity solutions protects all endpoints such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and more from external threats. It also ensures safe browsing and protects the users from malware, phishing and other sophisticated cyberattacks. In addition, identity-based multifactor authentication further enhances the overall level of security.

In conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic won’t be the last black swan event to disrupt global supply chains. Disruptions such as natural disasters, trade wars, cyberattacks and epidemics have become commonplace. While it’s impossible to predict what disruption comes next, companies can adopt digital solutions to mitigate the fallout.

That’s why thriving through the next disruption will require companies to embrace next-gen technologies that provide end-to-end supply chain visibility.

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