3 Strategies for Enhancing Supply Chain Agility

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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 three strategies for enhancing supply chain agility. Our special guest is Michela Vesta, Supply Chain PMO at RAJA Italy. Michela, welcome to Three Minutes in the Loop.

Michela Vesta: Glad to be here, Mary.

Mary Vasile: So we’re dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic as supply chain challenges persist. Some of the major challenges are adapting to evolving customer buying habits and skyrocketing demand in many cases. What advice do you have for supply chain leaders?

Michela Vesta: Yeah, well, Mary it’s all about the right investment. Investing in increasing service levels to improve the overall customer experience, as well as increasing and investing in the right technologies. For us, consolidating a data-driven approach with digital tools, including IoT and artificial intelligence, as well as several projects to enhance our processes paid off. Last year, RAJA experienced an exceptional demand peak, up to 45% above normal levels during the holiday season. Thanks to the flexibility and agility of our supply chain, we still managed to guarantee a service level of 99%.

Mary Vasile: Those are impressive results, Michela. I’m sure our audience can appreciate that. In your experience then, what has been one of the most undervalued strategies when it comes to building an agile supply chain?

Michela Vesta: I firmly believe in the value of partnership in running a successful supply chain. It’s really important to collaborate with all the key stakeholders, each one in their own areas and share the final purpose. The goal is to try to get full visibility of the supply chain, starting from the demand till the sellout phase, always keeping in mind the ecological transition. Good examples of those aspects are demand and forecast collaboration with main customers to minimize the overstock situation, consignment stock management, and green supply chain projects to reduce carbon footprint.

Mary Vasile: That advice is both insightful and actionable. So it’s no surprise you’re a recent winner of Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s 2021 Women in Supply Chain Award. How are women helping to shape the strategies that make their supply chains more agile and competitive?

Michela Vesta: Yeah, as I said before, the supply chain is really key to keeping the promise with the customer and plays a strategic role in creating a sustainable business—optimizing costs and opportunity. Women for sure are not only bringing to the table their experience, but also interpersonal skills; collaboration, creativity, and problem solving, which are important to employers. According to a 2020 Harvard Business Review study, women were rated as more effective leaders before and during the crisis. I believe these skills help supply chains to be agile and competitive. 

Mary Vasile: So to recap for our viewers, investing in the right technologies for improved service levels, embracing partnerships and effective leadership before and during a crisis, help build a more agile supply chain. Thank you for those insights, Michela, and thank you for joining us.

Michela Vesta: Thank you for having me.

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