Supply Chain Issues Require Investments in Tech and People Now

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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HBR Harvard Business Review: Beyond Disruptions: Building the Next Generation of Resilient Supply Chains

A new briefing paper from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, in association with Coupa, calls out several major points supply chain organizations must address if they want to become resilient in the face of ongoing challenges.

According to Alex Clemente, managing director of Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “The global supply chain is where the best capabilities of organizational management are tested by virtually any kind of problem that can happen around the globe.”

With so much at stake, organizations must act to better position themselves for the challenges that will almost inevitably emerge. “Organizations are learning the hard lesson that to build resilience in today’s environment, they need to improve supply chain flexibility and agility through greater visibility into the risk and vulnerabilities they face throughout the supply and distribution ecosystem,” Clemente says.

The Harvard Business Review Analytic Services briefing paper discusses the following: 

  • Why supply chains must be supported with continuous supply chain design
  • Why organizations must have complete visibility of their end-to-end supply chain
  • Which tools and processes can provide that visibility
  • The importance of accounting more directly for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives
  • The imperative of investing in people, cultural transformation, and decentralizing supply chain elements

“One way to achieve flexibility is with continuous supply chain design, an ongoing technology-supported refinement of supply chain structures, product flows and organizational policies,” Clemente says.

Coupa customer Dow shares the company’s experience in embracing continuous design. Dow’s supply chain expertise manager, David Metevia says, “We are able to take the transactional history of our supply chain and transform it into a digital twin model of global operations.” He spoke of the power in that capability and added, “We can visualize the network and optimize it according to which type of parameter we’re most interested in. Often, it’s cost, but in recent times we are pivoting to optimize the customer experience and service level.”

The experts interviewed also discuss how, even with the best technology in the world, without a dedicated team of people who are supported, and integrated across business functions, execution of the best-laid plans will fall short. 

According to Clemente, “To successfully implement the technology that provides the capacity to make quicker supply chain decisions, companies must also invest in an enterprise-wide shift in behavior. This includes strong cross-functional collaboration for responsive design input, rapid decision-making, and investment support.” 

Read the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services briefing paper.

Access the Full Paper Here

Why investing in supply chain tech, people, and processes matters

Supply chains are complex, multi-faceted, and ever-evolving. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to make them more resilient. But if disruption is here to stay (and we at Coupa think it is), technology and the people who will model and execute supply chain design and planning are essential to creating the conditions that can make supply chain organizations more resilient, sustainable, and ready for the next disruption.

As a supply chain leader, you’re facing the impact of inflation, the uncertainty of a looming recession, and ongoing disruptions. You’re under pressure to cut costs, but you need to balance that with risk, managing a global team, and preparing for the next challenge while facing shorter decision time frames and a heightened sense of urgency.

And it’s exactly because of these constraints that investing in strategy, technology, and talent is required, according to the brief.

Learn more

Read the new briefing paper and join us for a free webinar to gain insights from industry experts, learn from one supply chain organization’s direct experience, and understand why and how you can start building the supply chains of the future now.

Join us October 6 to hear more from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and Coupa on the keys to building resiliency in supply chains.

Sign Up for the Webinar