Mergers and acquisitions and a digital-savvy younger generation are changing the landscape in supply chain planning, says Alex Pradhan, product strategy leader at John Galt Solutions.
There’s no doubt the pandemic has brought change to the discipline of supply chain planning, Pradhan says, but the new pool of “digital-native” planners has changed things as well. “Frankly, they are used to operating in an environment as if they were on their iPhone.”
Comfort with technology is one thing, she says. Recruiting and retaining a younger workforce is another. And as older workers leave, some companies struggle to find and keep replacements.
The disruptions of the last couple of years have been unsettling for many companies, to say the least. “A lot of companies went ahead and decided to bring in a lot more inventory or raw materials. They didn’t know when inventory might arrive on sites because of the transportation challenges. Now, a lot of chief financial officers might have to write off a lot of inventory.”
Pradhan describes that as the classic bullwhip effect. Consequently, she says, “The alignment into financial planning is becoming a lot more important. Also being able to truly get visibility and being able to look at your entire supply chain is important. You need to look at where everything is moving. What insights are needed for the decisions you need to make?”
As for the technologies needed to navigate the so-called new normal of continual disruptions, Pradhan says, artificial intelligence and machine learning will make a big difference. There’s a lot of interest in digital twins as well. “The theme of composability, being able to assemble bits and pieces of your supply chain as you want to see it, is becoming very important. You need the technology that will really give you that value-add.”
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