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Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Supply Chains

As enterprises across the globe build contingency plans in response to COVID-19, cancelling gatherings, events, conferences and postponing employee travel, minimizing supply chains disruption is a key priority for not only enterprises but governments as well.

In wake of this global healthcare crisis, people are hoping to avoid exposure by minimizing trips to stores for stocking up on essential supplies, and it’s their preferred retailer’s responsibility to ensure availability of supplies in this critical time. Customer expectations are high and enterprises do not want to disappoint their customers in this time of need.

For medical supplies, mitigating this disruption is even more critical. The urgency of providing first responders and medical workers with essential supplies can’t be stressed enough. The need for minimizing supply chain disruptions has never been greater.

However, governments across the globe are employing stringent measures for social distancing by implementing regional (and in some cases country-wide) lockdowns, restricting movements of all non-essentialgoods. In this atmosphere of uncertainty, enterprises striving for undeterred supply of essential items may face unforeseen disruptions.

Restrictions imposed on supply chains as a result of COVID-19 can proliferate supplier disruption and impact business continuity. Companies are compelled to align their supply chains to compete in the face of adversity. As per McKinsey, organizations should take measures to bring stability that includes “forward planning” to handle unusual spikes in demand during and post disruption.To compound the challenge, customers expect support and relief from their trusted brands during this time, but providing safe, compelling experiences to customers can be a challenge.

While there’s no single measure that can help companies battle this challenge, supply chain vulnerabilities can be mitigated by implementing a next-generation integration solution that enables even non-technical business users to be on top of their supply chain execution. In addition, it streamlines business processes like order-to-cash and procure-to-pay by providing end-to-end visibility for business users. When visibility is substandard, industries such as manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and logistics can risk following business processes:

  • Order-to-Cash: Compromised order-to-cash cycle chokes revenue and increased operational costs.
  • Procure-to Pay: Procure-to-pay process involves a sequence of procurement as well as various financial processes. When jeopardized, manufacturers and retailers experience impaired supply chain continuity at higher operational costs.
  • Loan Tender to Invoice: Any discrepancy in this mission-critical process can act as a roadblock for logistics companies, disabling them from accepting loan tenders and completing work on them within needed response times.

Perhaps now more than ever, end-to-end visibility across supply chains can’t be an aspirational luxury, rather it is fundamental for success. And the visibility can’t be something in the hands of specialized IT-skilled practitioners in a back-and-forth workflow between business users and customers. All must have access. And that’s just the start of it. That visibility can highlight potential and actual errors in the flow of data along the supply-chain. Business users must have the ability to immediately correct errors without IT-skills in the mix.

Battle Complexities with Modern Integration

Supply chains relying on typical B2B integration platforms are not prepared to handle disruptions caused by COVID-19. On the other hand, modern self-service data integration can provide needed visibility and insight into transaction flows, bolsters issue and exception management, promotes rapid self-service connectivity and error correction, and facilitates collaboration among users of varied roles. Then, when unexpected events and variances happen along the supply-chain of either goods or information, issues can be detected and corrected earlier by business users, much more efficiently.

Centralized self-service integration can be deployed to ensure unparalleled visibility, flexibility, and scalability. With monitoring dashboards, shared and extendable templates, application connectors, and end-to-end data security, more modern integration solutions act as drivers for success by increasing operational visibility and enabling business users to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

The self-service integration capability allows non-technical business users to integrate and connect applications, making companies faster and easier to do business with. This single solution helps companies achieve end-to-end ecosystem integration, making it simpler and effective. To add, it streamlines trading partner and customer onboarding while helping companies with digital transformation trends as they evolve.

As the world’s healthcare professionals scramble to beat COVID-19, the resulting rampant and continuing supply-chain disruptions serve as a reminder that unpredictable uncertainties that yield massive stockouts have happened before and will happen again. Companies are well advised to implement solutions that transform aspiring notions of end-to-end business supply-chain visibility into reality.