Innovating Toward a Resilient and Agile Supply Chain

Stephanie Buck
Stephanie Buck
Content Marketing & Storytelling Manager, Coupa

Stephanie is passionate about storytelling and helping leaders, businesses, and organizations transform the way they connect with their customers, prospects, and others. At Coupa, she leads storytelling and content production efforts for supply chain. She brings over a decade of experience supporting marketing and communications with impact-oriented enterprises and mission-driven organizations. She earned her Master's degree from the London School of Economics and her Bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University. She grew up in the Chicago area, but currently calls Washington, D.C. home.

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Innovating Toward a Resilient and Agile Supply Chain

When it comes to supply chains, the last few years have exposed real global vulnerabilities. But supply chain leaders have risen to the challenge to ensure the availability of critical products and services.

We believe supply chain organizations are uniquely poised to help their companies gain a competitive edge. In that vein, at Inspire we announced innovations designed to maximize the value and impact of every dollar a company spends.

As we have come to understand the cracks in our supply chain, we’ve also arrived at a pivotal moment. Over the next decade, supply chains will undergo fundamental changes. This means leaders now have an opportunity to actively design their supply chains utilizing digital technologies, such as the ones Coupa offers, and the opportunity to design their destiny.

Uncover the critical supply chain trends of 2022 and 2023.

Download the State of the Supply Chains Report

Building more effective partnerships between supply chain and procurement

While we may not know what the future holds, one thing is certain: there has never been a more important time to build relationships between procurement, finance, and supply chain, as businesses embrace digital transformation to succeed in the present and withstand any changes the future holds.

Reduced margins, unnecessary costs, frustrated suppliers and customers, delayed deliveries, and unclear processes are just some of the potential consequences when procurement, finance, and supply chain organizations lack cohesive, collaborative teams, consistent processes, and effective technology.

Building resiliency and agility require collaboration. As organizations strive to make their supply chain design a reality through planning and source-to-pay processes, many remain constrained by organizational silos and disparate systems. But by leveraging the right technology to bridge digital divides between supply chain, procurement, and finance, organizations can collaborate to make smarter and faster decisions to achieve profitability, resilience, and sustainability objectives.

Coupa unifies processes that impact spend. We continue to build bridges between supply chain design, planning, and spend execution processes for greater collaboration, risk reduction, and value creation. Below are some examples of recent innovations helping to unlock new value for our supply chain customers.

Making supply chains more agile and effective

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly everywhere. While it might seem daunting to some, for the supply chain, AI has the power to unlock immense value by streamlining processes and leveraging massive volumes of data.

The challenges of the last few years, especially around transportation and logistics, have made the ability to run simulations, revisit supply chain designs and assumptions, and embrace continuous design a supply chain imperative. But supply chains are also enormously complex. Supply chain modelers have to wade through thousands of data points to try to find optimal solutions. Combined with increasing pressure and demands from other teams and business units, even the best modeler in the world might miss opportunities that could lead to important savings and value creation across the business.

Supply Chain Prescriptions help users prioritize which supply chain scenarios to design to realize savings and improve sustainability, through the power of AI.

This completely AI-assisted solution allows customers to have machine learning tap into their data and start surfacing prescriptive recommendations or scenarios that the modelers and users should consider.

Here’s an example of a node skipping recommendation in Supply Chain Prescriptions:

Coupa Supply Chain Prescriptions - Example of node skipping recommendation

We started developing these capabilities to focus on the biggest supply chain challenges our customers face. Increased costs, especially transportation costs, have been a leading cause of disruption. So we’re starting with three main areas:

  • Node skipping (such as the example shown above to create more direct pathways in your network)
  • Mode switching (such as switching from freight to rail)
  • Volume consolidation
Discover more about Supply Chain Prescriptions.

Learn More

Maximizing cost savings with community insights

As supply chain management turns into a team sport, it’s more critical than ever to bring the supply chain, procurement, and finance teams together.

With rising economic instability, gaining more visibility into transportation spending can be a critical advantage for businesses. At Coupa, our community-powered insights help thousands of customers make smarter, more informed decisions based on peer data.

Last year at Inspire we announced Bid Price Insights for ocean freight, which enables customers to leverage for more visibility into potential savings when bidding on goods and services. This year we’re introducing Full Truckload (FTL) Bid Price Insights, showing pricing benchmarks for full truckloads in the United States. An example can be seen below:

Coupa's Full Truckload (FTL) Bid Price Insights, example showing pricing benchmarks for full truckloads in the United States

Customers often have no way of knowing if they’re overpaying for a service. Now with insights, customers can get insights for FTL services by month and state-to-state to enhance decision-making.

Combatting supplier disruption by building resilience

Even with improvements in supply chains, ongoing disruptions continue to be a huge risk for organizations. The last few years have revealed an over-reliance on outdated processes and technology. Now as businesses look to move forward, combatting ongoing disruption by building resilience is critical.

As disruptions persist, there is a huge benefit for organizations that work on improving their relationships with suppliers. When supply gets constrained and capacities and materials go on allocations, suppliers tend to prioritize their preferred customers. This makes collaboration more critical than ever.

Coupa’s new Supply Chain Collaboration suite of products allows back-office teams and suppliers to collaborate at a granular level. Supply chain risks are reduced through real-time collaboration throughout the direct procurement lifecycle.

In phase one, we’ve launched Purchase Order (PO) Collaboration. PO Collaboration helps businesses gain transparency over their procurement processes and ensures timely delivery of critical direct, indirect, and MRO materials.

Buyers and suppliers typically handle thousands of orders per week, with each having several hundred PO lines per supplier. To ensure operations run smoothly, buyers and suppliers need a single place to manage orders. PO Collaboration provides central workbenches for both buyers and suppliers where they can manage orders more effectively and collaborate through line-level commenting and confirmations.

Coupa Purchase Order (PO) Collaboration screen shot example

To further build resilience, Coupa Sourcing Optimization (CSO) has become even more prescriptive with Dynamic Sourcing Guide recommendations, tailored to help users run any type of sourcing event — from an auction to a simple request for information (RFI). By providing users with prescriptive step-by-step workflows for any event in CSO, businesses benefit from increased user adoption, as well as process efficiencies.

A future-proof supply chain requires teamwork

At Coupa, we’re innovating alongside our community to not only build a platform that is trusted to solve the challenges of today, but that will also help businesses achieve transformation, scale, and growth. By bringing more automation, AI, and collaboration into the Coupa BSM platform, we’re providing supply chain, procurement, and finance teams with the technology best fit for them to be successful.

To learn how Coupa’s Business Spend Management (BSM) platform can meet all your needs click here.