Biggest Investments Supply Chains are Making in 2022

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Mary Vasile: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Three Minutes in The Loop, the bite-sized video series, where you can stock up on the latest supply chain insights, strategies, and news in the time it takes to get your caffeine fix. I’m your host, Mary Vasile. And today, we’re covering the biggest investments supply chains are making in 2022. Our special guest is Enrique Ervasun, Global Supply Chain Principal at Slalom. Enrique, welcome to Three Minutes in The Loop.

Enrique Ervasun: I’m glad to be here, Mary.

Mary Vasile: We’re glad to have you. So, to start, supply chain woes continue to be a hot topic, even in mainstream media. What are businesses doing to address volatility and uncertainty?

Enrique Ervasun: Well, that’s a really, really good question, Mary. What we’ve seen emerge since the pandemic hit is that organizations have started to rejuvenate or revamp their supply chains to be agile and resilient enough to navigate the unknown. So let me give you a couple of examples. Organizations are now gaining real-time visibility into their end-to-end supply chain performance and risk. So, companies are saying, ‘I need to know where the fires are.’ Then followed by that, this approach also provides the ability to predict future performance and risk scenarios. So, taking again the fire analogy, ‘I need to predict where the fire will be, and I need to act so that I can prepare to put them out when they show up.’

Mary Vasile: Yeah, and I think the fire analogy is a good one. So, if evolving supply chains are focused on fire prevention, then where are they investing their resources to make this shift?

Enrique Ervasun: Another excellent question. One of the biggest investments supply chains are making is the adoption of demand driven planning with a customer-centric lens. In this strategy, organizations are utilizing real-time demand patterns such as POS integrations to drive the business planning, augmenting processes such as operational execution, sales and operations execution, and sales and operations planning. They’re also adapting machine learning capabilities to shape demand to get real-time information, an approach that has really taken off.

Mary Vasile: That sounds like a winning strategy, and we’ve seen that data derived from demand sensing and demand shaping techniques allows companies to react faster to supply chain issues. What other investments are businesses embracing to ensure their supply chains are ready for anything?

Enrique Ervasun: Organizations are leveraging artificial intelligence and intelligent automation capabilities to augment their supply chain efficiencies. To better understand or identify where opportunities exist in the process automation or augmentation, organizations are leveraging process mining as a good tool to both identify and visualize these opportunities. In addition to process mining and providing that insight, you’re using that information to identify business cases and use cases for intelligent automation.

Enrique Ervasun: The third key area, which I think is taking a lot of momentum, is newer dynamics in tools and looking at strategies for supply chain platforms. So organizations are starting to break that original paradigm or that old paradigm of using one solution to solve all of the many supply chain problems, and looking at more plug and play modular solutions that address very specific problems. For example, inventory planning, optimizing inventory, demand planning I already spoke about, and utilizing machine learning.

Mary Vasile: I think that’s great. So, to sum up then, demand planning, AI and dynamic tools like inventory planning and optimization are the top three supply chain investment areas in 2022.  Thank you so much for those insights, Enrique, and thank you for joining us today.

Enrique Ervasun: Thanks for having me.

Mary Vasile: And thank you for watching. Now, you’re in the loop. See you next time.