Could 2020 be the turning point that finally forces professionals and entire industries to reshape their global supply chain model? What are the news trends for Supply Chain Planning in 2021?
This last year definitely showed us that today, supply chains are becoming more forward thinking than ever before. The pandemic the world is facing has exposed the weaknesses of many organizations. An it also highlighted the need to transform the linear supply chain model into a more agile and resilient one.
Even if some industries have to learn it the hard way and others will not even be able to revive; this black year showed us that, more than ever, supply chain planning should be at the heart of our industries’ concerns. We could not have predicted 2020, but we can anticipate and plan 2021.
COVID-19 highlighted the vulnerability of our supply chain models
A study (2003) from the Cranfield University describes the Supply chain vulnerability as “an exposure to serious disturbance, arising from risks within the supply chain as well as risks external to the supply chain”. The pandemic is a perfect illustration of an external risk about which it was difficult to anticipate the global impact.
However, the way companies managed the disruption of their supply chain perfectly illustrates that some of them were not fully aware of the internal vulnerability of their model. That’s why it is essential for companies to understand where the internal risks lie. Once companies identified those risks, industries can then address them by implementing a new supply chain model.
We could not have predicted 2020, but we can anticipate and plan 2021.
It is at that moment that the idea of implementing a resilient supply chain starts to make sense for companies. Especially for those that had not yet taken this model into consideration. After a decade focusing on cost and inventory reduction, we forgot the importance of using appropriate buffers to protect the critical constraints and mitigate the risks. COVID-19 reminds us of the imperative of an agile supply chain model.
2021: Planning the future of the Supply Chain
Let’s face it, 2021 won’t be a new 2019/2020. COVID-19 will still be around this year and our supply chains will still face disruptions in this never ever normal world. High risk will be the new normal for 2021 and following years.
Where Integrated Business Planning, Scenario Planning and technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics and Digital Twin were once seen as ‘nice-to-haves’, those assets are now essential to reach a truly resilient supply chain and have end-to-end supply chain visibility.
Nobody could have predicted such a black swan. However, we can now prepare to be more resilient in the future by creating optimally efficient strategies. 2020 allowed us to prepare for 2021, to organize our supply chain in a more resilient way. But also to plan the future with a better sense of perspective knowing that, more than ever, men and machines have to be more agile. 2020 proved we are not invincible but 2021 will show us we can be … resilient!