The Importance of a Connected Supply Chain

As we put a highly turbulent year behind us, there is one lesson that businesses will take with them into 2021: be prepared for the unexpected. The chain of events that will forever define 2020 impacted businesses across industries and around the world.

The pandemic took nearly every business by surprise, regardless of scale, sending waves of disruption across most supply chains. Supply chain in general nearly came to a grinding halt due to global lockdowns and subsequent changes in consumer behavior and demand. This consequently impacted factory output, with nearly every warehousing and transportation company finding their operations, their businesses, themselves, and their families at risk.

We’re all consumers at some level and depend on supply chain leadership. Supply chain leaders have to constantly lift, shift, and adjust plans; they have to be prepared for the predictable and the unprecedented. Labor, infrastructure, cybersecurity, natural disasters, even weather and fuel, contribute to transportation disruptions.

The entire nature of the supply chain has changed with 2020, resulting in a different focus for every participant. There’s a noticeable shift from focusing on savings to increasing velocity, with an increased focus on agility and survival  – survival by way of developing collaborative and connected supply chain networks that deliver on expectations.

Focusing on Supply Chain Connectivity

A successful supply chain strategy delivers increased responsiveness and intelligence, which fuels informed decision-making and, with a modicum of luck, leads to success. Focusing on some key areas can enhance supply chain connectivity and equip enterprises to deal with what the future holds.  Electronic Data Interchange or EDI is one of those key areas.

Visibility

Businesses that rely on outdated processes and disparate IT systems across their supply chain operations struggle to deliver efficiency, responsiveness, and insights – all of which are now imperative for prolonged success. The lack of real-time access to information reduces visibility, which in turn limits the ability to respond to supply chain risk. These risks are amplified when not identified as such, or are wholly unprecedented, as the case with 2020.

A digitally connected supply chain, on the other hand, offers businesses a way to leverage communication and access the insights required to meet customer expectations, something that is just not possible with a paper-based process, or one that is highly dependent on human interaction.

Managers can more efficiently and effectively manage supply chain operations when they can see the data and understand what’s going on in near-real time. Deep insights and real-time information keep supply chain decision-makers on point at a place where they can improve performance.

Flexibility

While visibility is the starting point that provides insight, supply chain managers also need flexibility. Flexibility is what it takes to get the job done when an opportunity does present itself.  If you had visibility into the future, you might have bought into Bitcoin. If you were charting supply chain events during 2020, you would have noticed ripples.

A run on frozen food when people were asked to remain at home had a predictable impact on refrigerated food products weeks later, when an overburdened grocery supply chain struggled to resupply frozen food products.

Nearly the same impact was observed with the production of paper products where carriers transporting finished goods were repurposed to carry raw materials, not even making a dent in the overall supply of finished paper until very recently. Lastly, there’s an oversupply of hand sanitizers and a shortage of ordinary alcohol throughout the supply chain today.

Look carefully and opportunity presents itself in these scenarios again and again; insight is what drives supply chain managers to capitalize on these opportunities.

Integration

Integration of suppliers, customers, and other partners has become a critical component following visibility and flexibility; one can only be as flexible as your supply chain connectivity solution allows.

Suppliers, customers, and other partners often rely on different communication standards, data formats, and integration methodologies for consistent connectivity and communication. The result is a very intricate and complicated web of B2B and B2C networks.

While electronic data interchange (EDI) may be a preferred method of supply chain connectivity and communication, today’s competitive landscape is very different than yesterday and will be even more different tomorrow. B2B and B2C interoperability requires real-time collaboration, end-to-end visibility, and an increased flexibility among supply chain partners.

Taking Control of Your Network with a Digital Supply Chain Connectivity Solution

PartnerLinQ’s unified supply chain solution delivers end-to-end digital connectivity for your enterprise at the speed of business. It puts you in complete control by providing increased flexibility, full visibility, and deep integration into the enterprise where you need it. PartnerLinQ is a complete supply chain connectivity solution that seamlessly integrates your multi-tier global networks, channels, and marketplaces to your enterprise.

Backed by more than 25 years of integration expertise, PartnerLinQ ensures that you have a resilient and connected supply chain capable of overcoming the challenges of today and the unexpected threats of tomorrow. Purpose-built for B2B and B2C communication for your EDI and non-EDI trading partners alike, PartnerLinQ delivers true integration without complication.

  • PartnerLinQ enables frictionless partner onboarding as it is easy to use, configure, and maintain.
  • Centralized business rules, reporting, and alerting ensure that your team is instantly aware of any issue, allowing them to take action right from the home screen.
  • Hosted on the cloud, PartnerLinQ ensures infinitely scalability and capability to process thousands of transactions per hour. There’s no hardcoding and nothing else to buy – it’s all there.

PartnerLinQ digitally connects you and your partners to bring seamless communication, unparalleled agility, and superior operational intelligence to your fingertips. It will empower you to take complete control of your supply chain network and overcome the disruptions of today and those no one saw coming. If a unified supply chain solution is what you expect from your EDI platform, talk with our experts. 


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