supply chain process

Building Resilient and Agile Supply Chains Leveraging Data, Analytics and Automation

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Meet the Experts

Supply chain challenges and associated risks are growing exponentially. These challenges surface in many forms, like unprecedented fluctuations in demand and supply, sudden disruptions impacting sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution, a proliferation of product offerings, and geopolitical and regulatory changes. These challenges have only intensified during the pandemic. As businesses evolve their supply chains to address the Volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) business environments in which they operate today, they add to the complexities that already exist in their supply chains. These challenges have accelerated supply chain digital transformation initiatives across industries and have been identified consistently in our research reports, like the most recent research, Inventory Planning, and Optimization.  Data, analytics, and automation tools play a crucial role in the digital transformation tool chest. We hypothesized that SAPinsiders are keen to leverage data, analytics, and automation tools to build resilient and agile supply chains to address operating uncertainties. To validate this hypothesis, SAPinsider surveyed businesses and supply chain professionals within the SAPinsider community on inventory management and optimization aspects from November 2022 to February 2023.

Survey results validated our hypothesis. For years, supply chains across industries have become more and more customer-centric. The result was the development of supply chains that took pride in balancing speed and efficiency. This capability was an initial form of supply chain agility. However, the need for resiliency became prominent as supply chains became more prone to risks and disruptions. While the two terms resiliency and agility are frequently used in tandem, the fact is that these two capabilities may conflict with each other. An example can be the Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory strategy, which helps develop agile materials flow with minimal inventory burden. But as the pandemic highlighted, JIT did not align well with resiliency aspects, and now organizations are looking to balance JIT with just-in-case inventory positions in their networks.

And this is where SAPinsiders believe data, analytics, and automation capabilities can help balance agility and resiliency. SAPinsiders believe that at the heart of resilient and agile supply chains is the ability to visualize, plan and execute in real-time. They also think data and analytics are at the core of building that capability, with automation providing foundational capabilities.

The research revealed that building an integrated planning and analytics capability on a centralized, enriched, and harmonized data foundation that can support all forms of analytics seamlessly is the most critical capability on the minds of SAPinsiders. This need is driven by the challenges they experience with their current portfolio of tools and technologies. Poor integration with other systems not only presents planning and analytics challenges but it also contributes to the fragmentation of data sources, identified as another top challenge (shown in Figure 1).

Supply Chain Data Analytics

Respondents completed an online survey and provided feedback through customer interviews that questioned them on topics such as:

  • What key actions does your organization intend to take to execute your supply chain data and analytics strategies?
  • What top supply chain data and analytics tools will your organization invest in within the next 24 months?
  • What challenges is your organization encountering in building supply chain data and analytics capabilities?

Download the benchmark report to read the full data analysis from 129 members of the SAPinsider community and receive recommendations for your plans.

  • Learn about the current pain points SAPinsiders experience, making them explore the maturity of their supply chain data and analytics capabilities.
  • Explore the business imperatives that SAPinsiders believe leveraging data and analytics in the supply chain can help address and formulate strategies.
  • Understand the portfolio of technology requirements that SAPinsiders believe will help them execute their strategies.
  • See the technology roadmap that SAPinsider have charted to help them build supply chain data, analytics and automation capabilities.

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