The Importance of Having a Responsive Supply Chain

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If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected.  At the beginning of last year, no one could have predicted a global pandemic, let alone the impact it would have on public health, the global economy, and the business of supply chain planning.  Although the pandemic has definitely wreaked havoc on a global scale, it is important to remember this is not the first disruption we have had to face, and it will not be the last.

Whether it’s global trade issues, tariffs, or natural disasters, we will encounter another event that will disrupt our global supply chains.  What exactly it will be is impossible to predict, but what supply chain professionals can do is prepare to meet these disruptions head-on by building resilient planning into how they manage their supply chains.

Responsive Supply Chain

A responsive supply chain is critical for achieving supply chain planning success in times of both major and minor disruptions.  For supply chains, responsiveness means being able to have the agility to plan, monitor, and respond instantly when unexpected events occur.  When it comes to contingency planning, speed and responsiveness are not just nice to have; they are critical.  Yet, many companies do not have the right planning tools and processes at their disposal to react with the level of agility required.

The pandemic has provided insight into how outdated, siloed planning methods are insufficient to deal with the realities of a global supply chain.  Sequential planning involves multiple teams working in silos, often without a clear understanding of the big picture.  These teams gather and store data independently of one another.  When unforeseen events occur, these methods are not conducive to responding fast enough; in fact, it is quite the opposite.  Determining financial implications or identifying viable manufacturing alternatives typically takes several weeks.

In contrast, modern supply chain planning solutions, such as Vanguard Predictive Planning™, provide the agility needed to build a responsive supply chain, enabling you to quickly and effectively plan for current and future disruptive events.  Vanguard’s solution facilitates rapid what-if scenario planning, so you can instantly evaluate the impact of an event across your entire supply chain.

This past year, many of our customers experienced unpredictable spikes and shifts in demand due to the global pandemic.  One such customer, Charles River, provider of essential products and services to aid pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations, has been able to mitigate these disruptions by using Vanguard Predictive Planning™.  By building a responsive supply chain based on agility and speed, Charles River has been able to supply enough test kits to assist in distributing vaccines.

When to improve your supply chain planning?

For companies considering transforming their existing supply chain planning, the good news is that the pandemic has thrust the subject into the spotlight.  Business leaders everywhere now understand the limitations of sequential planning and recognize a responsive supply chain is vital to the long-term viability and profitability of their organization.  This makes them more open to investing in next-generation supply chain planning solutions you will need to not only survive but thrive when the next global disruption comes along.

To learn more about how Vanguard Software has the best solution for a more agile supply chain, contact us today.