CGT: What tend to be the most significant obstacles consumer goods companies face in responding to demand and supply fluctuations using their current supply chain infrastructure?
More and more, consumer goods companies are outsourcing business areas to help reduce costs and gain economies of scale. They now depend on a global network of suppliers, co-packers, logistics providers, distributors, retailers and other partners to design, assemble, ship, sell and repair their products. This outsourced business model greatly reduces visibility and control over the supply chain, creating extra risks and costs, despite all its benefits. This is incredibly challenging because supply chain business processes are more interdependent and time-sensitive than ever before. To regain visibility and control, it is crucial to gather data from all your downstream and upstream partners — no matter what tier or ecosystem they're in — and be able to send updates and directives to them in real-time.
CGT: What foundational elements are a must to support a more flexible and resilient supply chain?
The level of agility required to capture growth opportunities — plus resiliency to manage today's risks — demands a new way of thinking. Consumer goods companies should look for one operating platform that brings together all the data needed to see what's happening, combined with all the applications, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics necessary to understand what disruptions mean to the business, recommend the best course of action, put decisions into effect and then learn for next time, all powered by an extensive trading partner network.
CGT: Why is a trading partner network a key enabler of a resilient consumer goods supply chain?
A trading partner network, particularly one that is cloud-based and that covers all tiers and ecosystems, enables you to exchange information and work collaboratively and securely with all downstream and upstream partners in real-time. The network empowers consumer goods companies to focus on the larger picture of end-to-end opportunities, risks and inefficiencies that they and their trading partners tackle together. With real-time connectivity to a robust operating platform, the network provides decision-grade data to fuel all the applications, AI and analytics necessary to achieve digital transformation.