Combating to See Beyond Tomorrow

With factories closed and the flow of materials interrupted, the new corona virus outbreak has hit global supply chains hard. One thing is surprisingly very clear, we as humans still have a lot to learn and build upon, to live to see beyond tomorrow.

In this super-advanced world, we assume the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it very apparent that our economy, business and even the existence of the human race is highly vulnerable. In these rough times managing a complex, multi-faceted business operation and supply chain becomes very demanding, especially given the time-critical nature and fast-changing business ergonomics; yet I consider a forward-thinking approach through digital technology can contribute to business with the agility, flexibility, and transparency it aspires.

Interactions with multiple business heads across different industries during the past few days, have made me realize that almost every brand is angling to strike a miracle to overcome challenging times like these. Surprisingly, almost every brand agreed that to combat difficult times like these we should consistently work to transform linear business models to advanced tech-enabled circular business models that can counteract resource depletion, environmental pollution, risk management, regulation and compliance monitoring.

Sharing a few such initiatives that could help your brand sail through a storm like this and provide an additional runway for business to sustain.

 Enable Traceability & Learn more about value chain – More than 95% of brands are not aware of suppliers beyond tier 1. In a situation like this, having complete supply chain transparency offers numerous benefits to manufacturers and consumers.  In the current scenario of complex networks in the value chain, brands only keep a track of key KPI’s like order quality, quantity, pricing but would eventually realize that these are just daily operational data points. In a crisis like situation, brands require information beyond these point, like stakeholders involved in the value chain, compliance, certification, audits, assessment,  social & environmental norms, etc. To collect, analyze and systematically optimize these strategic KPI’s, digital technology serves as a greater tool where supply chain collaboration particularly around data collection and traceability happens very effectively. Such systems offer unique ability to connect entire information tree from ‘farm to retail’, which is very accessible to brands looking for alternate value chains, the risk involved, mitigation implementation, etc.
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Communication using new-age tools  – Digital solutions enable innovation and creativity by effectively communicating with internal & external stakeholders to build trust and align key business objectives. Multiple reports have said that brands consider themselves to be partially or entirely ineffective, with their ability to communicate effectively with both internal and external stakeholders in situations like these. Predominantly the reason for such shortcoming is the lack of technology readiness. Therefore in the Generation Z  world, every brand should aim to build a super-intuitive digital platform that combines key supply chain information, powered by strategic initiatives and the latest product development to keep everyone well informed and intact with brand positioning. Lack of communication with stakeholders might leave a brand’s entire growth and sustenance strategy at risk. Digital medium also results in better rates of success when it comes to engagement. Such medium enables brands to share via multiple channels, including intranet, email, mobile app, digital signage, etc. from a single place. Additionally, this brings in the ability to target segments, and then track and measure performance.

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Digitalize & Become Efficient – The longer your business is around and the larger it grows, the more data as an organization you end up storing. The way a brands store data plays a major role in how easy it is to access, analyze, and utilize. Unfortunately in this digital world, almost 80% of brands use technology only to record a very few data points digitally and the rest of the information is still stored in fully paper-based or disintegrated systems. A paper-based storage system leads to inefficiency, high storage space and a lot of time to hunt information when required. In today’s world, every brand should aim to move 95-99% of business information into a digital setup as it very efficient, easy and requires very less physical space. Digital systems and technologies make it extremely easy to locate, analyze, track and transfer the required information. It also allows brands to have ‘one version of the truth’ which is key in times like these to act upon.

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To every brand, my key recommendation will be to start collaborating with suppliers, vendors, customers, digital service providers on gathering information around supply chain. These efforts will lead to an exponential jump in the digital value creation and hence leads to a significant benefit not only to the customer but also to the entire network and ecosystem. Every brand should implement transparency to build a strong foundation of data around the product value chain. This foundation would then enable brands to provide key outputs around climate action, customer communication, value chain optimization, regulation assessment, risk management and building alternate strategic initiative to combat critical situations like the one ongoing.

While we all practice social distancing let’s be grateful for all that we have around us and look forward to a brighter and positive future by using the power of digital technology. We’ll make through this phase together!

Let us your know thoughts below & some strategic initiatives that your brand is working to overcome COVID-19 pandemic.

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