Demand visibility is arguably the most valuable — and most elusive — component of a modern supply chain. Demand signals, at the end of the day, drive most supply chain decision-making, but in today’s challenging and volatile direct-to-consumer environment, the signals are often conflicting.
The hierarchical architecture of conventional supply chains doesn’t help, with decisions and directives pushed out to upstream and downstream partners, and partner input often no more than one level up or down. D2C e-commerce, meanwhile, is decentralizing fulfillment. Smaller, more frequent on-demand orders are shipped with time-definite commitments and multiple last-mile delivery options, against exacting customer expectations for on-time, in-full delivery. The result is a near-continuous flow of product that, along with overall demand growth, has overwhelmed already tight network capacity.
Digital transformation offers companies with large or complex supply chains a way forward. Visibility both upstream and downstream, from order to payment in a non-hierarchical, “many-to-many” network model, presents an opportunity for end-to-end, real-time data reporting and sharing and for collaboration by all parties in the network.
Software-based demand-sensing tools predict near-future demand by applying analytics to model aggregate real-time POS data against internal and external supply chain and market trends that influence purchasing decisions for short-term predictive insights.
From there, supply chains can replicate this downstream process with sourcing and suppliers upstream for an end-to-end window into the supply chain. AI and ML-enabled analytics can run hundreds or thousands of scenarios in minutes, gaming each out based on current and historic shipment and inventory data to formulate an optimal solution.
The result is a dramatically shortened response time when sudden disruptions occur, along with shortened order-to-pay cycle times overall, especially as more network operations and processes are automated, freeing up people and assets from stressful, repetitive tasks for more productive and rewarding work.
Please CLICK HERE to download the white paper.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.