Data collection has always been a problem for supply chain and manufacturing companies but resilience can heavily depend on how organisations collect and share information. Companies would need to realise the need for trust that could elevate the way business is done.
‘When you want to create transparency you need the right level of trust in and out of the company,’ says Dirk Holbach, CSCO Laundry & Home Care, Henkel at an event organised by Reuters. Organisations will have to accept that the more visible their processes are they more likely they are to not only display strengths but also weaknesses. ‘Have a plan on how to connect and build the different entities,’ adds Holbach.
The difficulty to collect reliable and useful data stops many manufacturing companies from even trying. According to Andreas Thonig, Regional VP Sales DACH & Nordics, Tradeshift, their customers find it impossible to get information beyond tier 1 suppliers.
Sometimes even they lack any insights and a lot of data is imputed manually which creates many errors and inaccuracies. Finding information about who tier 2 and 3 suppliers are can be nearly impossible.
Holbach believes companies should look into ways to adjust their sourcing strategies and integrate technology that can monitor the inventory in real time. This would prevent unexpected depletion of materials. ‘Covid-19 has encouraged us to be more open and transparent. And this is the time for companies to show what they can do and how good they are at responding to change,’ adds Thonig.
Focus on engagement
For Frank Baur, VP Supply Chain EMEA, Parker Hannifin what manufacturing organisations should do is stay focused on engaging their customers and keep staff safe. ‘Don’t limit your customers’ experience,’ Baur says. Engagement and empowerment at the lowest possible level could create many benefits, including a culture where employees are ready to share more.
In addition to that, firms would also benefit from a strategy that looks at how clean the data they receive is. The information should be shared across the organisation so everyone could have a better understanding of what is happening.
‘If you find a tier 2 or 3 supplier is experiencing problems think how you can help them,’ Adreas Thonig explains. This could take the form of some financial support and access to cheap capital.
The positive news is that due to Covid-19 many organisations have shifted away from thinking only about cost savings. More and more companies are now looking at how they can build resilient supply chain networks. Frank Baur believes this could be done by improving the level of communication.
More companies are embracing new technologies and are looking at how they can fully utilise what they already have in place. Peter Bolstorff, EVP Corporate Development, ASCM says that companies realise if they don’t act now they would soon run out of business. This is forcing them to rapidly educate themselves on how to better use existing technological advancements. The power of networks is also becoming more visible too. ✷