Rethinking the Supply Chain Takes a Team Effort

Posted: 05/17/2021 - 09:00
Rethinking the Supply Chain Takes a Team Effort

Rethinking the Supply Chain Takes a Team Effort

The supply chain is an often overlooked, yet critical, component of businesses everywhere. For a long time, the focus around supply chains has always been on efficiency and cost reduction. But when COVID-19 hit, weaknesses within the supply chain became readily apparent as traditional management approaches and technologies left businesses underequipped to tackle the huge surges in demand. This problem quickly became widespread. Whether it was a shortage of toilet paper on the consumer side or dropping supplies of microchips in the B2B world, no one was left unaffected.

Now, over a year later, one thing is clear: Successfully surviving the unexpected requires a full team effort. Supply chains have many different elements with their own unique needs and workflows. Throughout much of the last year, the full power of partner ecosystems and tailored solutions emerged as a vital tool for businesses looking to shore up their supply chains and rebuild how they operate in order to better support and connect with customers.

Partnerships are Key to Protecting the Supply Chain

Last year’s shutdowns caused many organizations to struggle with scaling their production or pivoting to producing critical equipment, like PPE. Turning to a trusted network of enterprise software and technology partners provides the much-needed agility that makes these kinds of pivots possible in the first place.

Beyond this, leveraging partner solutions is highly cost-effective, freeing up more resources to be redistributed along other areas of an organization’s broader supply chain needs. I’ve previously written about why partner networks are so important when it comes to meeting the unique needs of a given organization’s customers. Many of these lessons also ring true when it comes to re-architecting the supply chain and the rapid shift toward a digital-first business model.

Supply chains are inherently complex operations that often span the entire globe. If a problem arises in a part of the supply chain not geographically near a business’s base of operations, the result could be costly downtime as the teams in those locations may not be equipped with the right solutions. Having access to a global array of partners makes it significantly easier to address problems from anywhere with confidence and avoid any delays in deliveries or production. 

Bringing Customizability to the Forefront

Digging deeper, the benefit of strong partner relationships is the ability to leverage customized solutions that fit with the needs of a company’s supply chain. Looking back on the last year for SAP specifically, I’ve seen the accomplishments and power of these partnerships first-hand, particularly when it comes to supply chain challenges and weaknesses.

For instance, over the last year SAP worked with partner, Zilliant, to give wholesale distributors a unique software solution and tools to manage and monitor inventory, optimizing distribution up and down the supply chain. In particular, the software provides tools to optimize pricing, provide sales guidance, and boost customer experience. All of which generate meaningful ROI for companies.

At a time where budgets are still under strict scrutiny across industries, tailored solutions like these not only help address specific problems, but also help eliminate wasteful spending and optimize sales on the other end.

Bringing the Supply Chain Up to Speed

Supply chains have been tested more than ever before throughout much of the last year. Limitations were exposed and the need for immediate improvement became clear. Partnerships across the globe stood out, proving to be the most effective means of quickly stepping up to the challenges of the moment. Not only did we see partnerships keep things afloat, but they actually helped customers thrive even as we faced a persistent crisis.

Global partner ecosystems are continuing to supply businesses with a trusted way to address emergencies in real-time, regardless of location. And the solutions they bring to the table offer a tailored approach that can reduce costs and optimize performance from the top down, further advancing the tech industry to meet today’s challenges no matter the size.  


About The Author

Anne Yi's picture

As General Manager of SAP Store Partner Solutions, Anne Yi focuses on helping customers discover, try and buy partner applications on SAP’s digital marketplace that complement and extend SAP technology and solutions. Anne is an experienced technology consultant and executive with a strong background in strategy, operations, change management, business development and marketing. She has over 30 years of work experience in consulting and technology for companies ranging from Fortune 500s to start-ups, and a track record of delivering tangible and sustainable results by intelligently connecting people, things and processes.