Whether you make computer chips or potato chips, supply chain problems and shortages can cause chaos in your business. Not only are there financial and competitive costs, but perhaps even more damaging is the loss of customer confidence, which can take years to gain and seconds to lose.

Trying to prevent empty shelves while avoiding wasteful surpluses is a growing challenge in today’s environment of unpredictable online shoppers and rapid demand.

This is also not just a retail phenomenon: many sectors, from medical manufacturers to logistics companies, are experiencing tensions in the supply chain, whether it is a lack of fuel, components or ingredients.

This has become even more difficult with the pandemic, which puts extra strain on supply chains – the lack of a toilet roll is not the only thing that can leave consumers feeling pressured!

That’s why it’s important for companies to effectively manage their supply chains to isolate businesses from shocks and disruptions. Although it is not always possible to control external factors such as delivery delays, it is at least possible – and definitely desirable – to have the flexibility to react quickly when supply chains threaten to break down.

Managing the unpredictable

If there is one thing we have been taught over the last few years, it is that there can always be new and unprecedented challenges around the corner.

Ensuring that your business can respond to changing circumstances should be a priority if you are hoping to overcome these often unpredictable events. To do this, a company must be flexible, use resources efficiently and ensure effective communication between all business systems.

Many companies are finding the answer by adopting application integration technologies that can help bond the supply chain, seamlessly integrating different processes into one easy-to-use platform.

Real-time data synchronization and the connection between corporate systems allows for a more dynamic and responsive business, ensuring the integrity of business inventory and avoiding static and unresponsive supply chains.

For example, in the context of retail, buyers can easily adjust refill rates, increase or decrease demand depending on demand, without long and repetitive manual processes, resulting in much more flexibility.

Application integration can also give management access to datasets, which can help them analyze and predict trends more accurately: this can be invaluable in forecasting demand and can be crucial for smart data acquisition. decisions from the company’s management.

Automate your supply chain

Another solution is to use automation in key areas to increase the efficiency – and flexibility – of the business supply chain.

By automating the introduction of new suppliers and suppliers, for example, companies are finding that they can effectively deal with supplier shortages and the resulting delays. If a supplier is not in stock, a new supplier can be quickly recruited to fill the gap in less than a day.

In addition, a constant problem in supply chains is the problem of loss of orders during transit. We worked with one grocery chain using outdated systems, where the supply chain throughput is about 65 percent; this means that 35 percent of the orders were lost.

This level of loss is not only extremely expensive, but can also weigh on the business, making it less agile in external problems.

Using artificial intelligence-driven workflows to automate data integration is a great way to solve this, as it allows easy and accessible data management, removes barriers between different areas of your business, and allows effective communication across your entire business. supply chain.

Automation in this way is also highly scalable, allowing businesses to take advantage of their success while providing the ability to respond effectively to changes in supply and demand.

While a lack of technical knowledge among employees has long been an obstacle to the adoption of automation by many companies, a low-code, drag-and-drop approach solves this by allowing employees to quickly change pipelines on the go. This gives them the tools to respond to changing circumstances, dramatically increasing the ability of the supply chain to change in real time without having to rely on the support of IT professionals to make changes.

What the future holds

Application integration and automation can therefore create a smarter, more streamlined business that can benefit all aspects of the supply chain, give companies a competitive edge in a febrile environment and ultimately help customers and employees to be satisfied.

No one can really see what the future holds, but ensuring that your business is able to cope with the challenges ahead by embracing a responsive, scalable and dynamic supply chain through application integration and automation is a good place to begining.

This publication is funded by SnapLogic.

https://www.computing.co.uk/sponsored/4049059/industry-voice-global-supply-chain-crisis-automation-integration-protect-businesses

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