Interview | “Circular” and responsible supply chain: what future for the supply chain?

What do you think are the priorities for supply chain managers in 2022?

The health crisis has put the supply chain center stage. Between shortages, supply chains at a standstill, disruption of the movement of goods or even border closures, the supply chain was at the heart of business concerns last year, and will continue to be in the years to come.

It is clear that the priorities of supply chain services have changed significantly in two years. Overnight, organizations had to adjust their ways of operating to meet changing customer demand and fluctuating supply side from their suppliers. In dynamic and complex environments, I would say responsiveness and agility are the keywords for the role this year. Without losing sight of the business objectives! This is why supply managers have every interest in working hand in hand with CFOs to better anticipate the risks associated with inventory management in times of crisis.

The crises we are going through can also be an opportunity to initiate digitalization projects in order to face these new challenges. The digitization of this function is therefore one of the most important projects, in my opinion, in 2022.

How can technology help supply chain managers and CFOs better anticipate the risks associated with inventory management in times of crisis?

In this context, relying on advanced technologies is valuable. This is a real opportunity for companies that want to gain speed and accuracy in their forecasts. Advanced planning software, like Wolters Kluwer’s CCH® Tagetik Supply Chain Planning, allows teams to work on the same platform, with end-to-end integration, and make informed, data-driven decisions.

Since the solution can be very easily integrated into the CCH Tagetik solution, which is intended for CFOs, dialogue is easily established between supply managers and finance departments to improve operational efficiency. The CFOs not only have real-time visibility on the plans, but can also plan adjustments while visualizing their impacts almost instantaneously, in the event of a crisis or unforeseen event.

Do you think AI can make better predictions?

The answer is yes ! Companies have everything to gain by betting on artificial intelligence, and more particularly those that are part of industry 4.0. Our CCH® Tagetik Supply Chain Planning solution, itself based on artificial intelligence, offers companies predictive technology and Machine Learning as levers for transformation. It is its analytical power that allows our customers to rely on historical data to better anticipate the future. Artificial intelligence will extract the most important information, structure it, classify it, and identify weak signals that too often escape us! Leveraging AI-powered software, supply chain managers and finance departments can run multiple simulations, open up new scenarios to test and customize to improve agility and the resilience of their organizations.

What will tomorrow’s supply chain look like?

The transformations that I observe in companies’ supply chain services lead me to believe that in the future, the silo effect will tend to disappear in favor of a “circular” model, much better adapted to the unexpected. In this model, the teams work on a single solution that integrates in real time the novelties and changes that affect the entire supply chain, for better responsiveness.

Next, the future is in the automation of decision-making. In order to understand the digital transformation, at the service of the end customer, the supply chain will undoubtedly rely on artificial intelligence, for precise forecasts and dynamic planning of the supply chain.

Finally, I am convinced that supply chain professionals have a role to play in companies’ CSR strategy. We hear more and more about the “Green Supply Chain” which places particular emphasis on sustainability and takes into account the ESG criteria set by the company. It involves, for example, sourcing primarily from responsible suppliers and moving towards natural and ecological materials. I believe that the supply chain of the future must be oriented towards these CSR objectives, because sustainable development is the business of all company employees, each having their role to play, including the supply chain functions.

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Interview | “Circular” and responsible supply chain: what future for the supply chain?

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