Resilience in the Making: Unpacking Supply Chain Transformation with Industry Leaders

During a recent Smart Industry Network Netherlands (SINN) session, organised in partnership with Capgemini, Equinix, and Microsoft, manufacturing industry executives from more than 16 companies convened to tackle current supply chain challenges, explore avenues for enhancing resilience, and share insights on Supply Chain Transformation. The evening session enabled the participants to discuss their supply chain challenges openly and honestly while learning from each other and enjoying a fine dinner.

Supply Chain Transformation

Marcel van de Griend, Head of Intelligent Industry Centre of Excellence at Capgemini, is clear about why supply chain transformation is at the top of the agenda for manufacturers:

The current global geopolitical climate, the sustainability debate and the fact that supply chain disruptions are increasing and becoming more profound are forcing companies to rethink their supply chains. Supply chain resiliency is increasingly important, causing companies to re-evaluate suppliers, their locations and their products. Re-locating suppliers and production may increase costs, but it can also strengthen supply chain resilience. To optimize and manage these complex networks, availability of data is increasingly important and therefore, to be successful these supply chain transformations go hand in hand with digital transformations.

4 Key Success Factors for Successful Transformation

Supply chain transformation is a necessity when increasing your supply chain’s resilience. The knowledge-sharing session that kicked off the evening centred on the critical success factors of supply chain transformations.

1. Supply Chain Strategy

The most important factor is the supply chain strategy. Across the supply chain it should be clear what the long-term goals are, where the company is going, and what role each division or department plays in it.

2. Standardisation

The next key success factor is standardization. Standardising processes makes it easier to increase efficiency and share best practices across the organisation. It can create efficiencies, for example, by allowing workers to be more easily exchanged between operations. Another essential element is the standardisation of data across the supply chain. And this can be challenging, as not all data is easily accessible and readily available.

3. Performance Management

The next step is measuring performance. Standardisation enables benchmarking across the supply chain, allowing companies to leverage best practices across the organisation. Another reason why standardisation is so important is that it creates a common language. There should be no ambiguity when it comes to measuring and reporting performance.

4. Continuous Improvement

Once the performance is established, it is time to start improving continuously. Methodologies like lean are very effective tools to enable this, eliminating unnecessary steps in a process but also getting to the root cause of an issue, fixing it and ensuring it never happens again. This is where standardisation shows its worth, because lessons learned can be used in similar processes in other parts of the organisation.

Supply Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Participants had plenty to discuss after that, and many interesting discussions ensued as they discussed the different stages of transformation in their own supply chains, the challenges they were facing, and the solutions they found to overcome them.

Theo van Andel, Digital Strategy Lead for Manufacturing, Energy, and Utilities at Equinix, who moderated the session, shared one of the main challenges many manufacturers face:

After black swans like Covid and the Ever Given, there has been an increased focus on supply chain resilience. Companies want more visibility. The better visibility you want, the more data you need. The challenge for manufacturing operations is the many legacy systems that are being used. These legacy systems are challenging because most are hard or impossible to connect to the cloud.

It is that connectivity that is essential for companies to get full visibility across their supply chains. Marleen Blok, Director of Retail, Consumer Goods at Microsoft, noted a similar theme:

For supply chains, data is essential. A lot of data is trapped in legacy systems in production environments, and the challenge is to unlock this data and make it available for analyses and forecasts. On the other hand, an increasing amount of data is available from new smart factory solutions powered by IoT. Data is becoming an asset that provides company-wide value instead of siloed.

Embracing Knowledge Sharing

The SINN session underscored the criticality of embracing supply chain transformation as a strategic imperative in today’s unpredictable global landscape. By focusing on key success factors such as strategy, standardisation, performance management, and continuous improvement, companies can navigate the complexities of modern supply chains more effectively. The insights shared during the session illuminate a path forward where resilience, efficiency, and innovation converge, enabling businesses to not only withstand but thrive amidst the challenges of the 21st century. As the industry moves forward, the lessons learned and strategies developed during such collaborative forums will be instrumental in shaping the resilient, agile supply chains of the future.

About the SINN-Network

By bringing industry peers together, the SINN-community enables members to share experiences, learn from each other’s best practices, and embrace intelligent products and services to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving (ever-evolving) manufacturing landscape. 

With 400+ participants, 4 annual sessions, and 6 years of expertise, we connect industry leaders, promoting digital transformation and resilience within the industry by focusing on local supply chains, sustainability, talent management, and innovation. Prepare for challenges and learn from renowned speakers. Our trusted partners Capgemini, Equinix, and Microsoft, empower your journey.

Are you an executive in the field? We invite you to become part of the network and elevate your manufacturing game—join SINN today for exclusive access to a thriving community of professionals and resources.

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