Innovation is vital for successful supply chain management


During the past year, supply chain management was targeted by Mother Nature, causing managers all over the world to rethink their processes. One weak supply chain practice that was called to attention was the lack of multiple suppliers to maintain operations should a disaster impact the operations of a single provider, according to a Supply Chain Digital report.

As natural disasters, political uprisings and the unstable global economic outlook continue to force companies to close doors, organizations should ensure they have backup suppliers to ensure deliveries are made on time, regardless of unforeseen situations, the news source reported. 


"Organizations most vulnerable during disasters are those that insist on having just a few suppliers and resist automating their procurement process," industry expert William Gindlesperger said, according to Supply Chain Digital. "You may have the best supplier in the world, but if it is underwater you are stuck without a supplier. You are left scrambling to find a supplier somewhere to deliver what you need, even if the quality doesn’t measure up to what you really expect."

As a result, innovative solutions, like automated procurement, can help organizations stay on track without being limited to one supplier. Traditionally, businesses were restricted to individual partnerships to help them save money and develop relationships. However, if that specific supplier went down, the firm would feel the effect.

With automated vendor selection services, supply chain managers can obtain quotes and services from the highest-quality supplier in their times of need, the news source reported. This is done through complicated algorithms that are generated after the supply chain manager has added at least two dozen trusted suppliers to its database.

When a new supplier is needed, the supply chain manager simply punches in a few specifications the best possible supplier is determined by comparing research with the entered information and the list of trusted providers. The vendors chosen are then required to bid against each other to get the company's business. As a result, organizations can end up saving money while finding last-minute suppliers, Supply Chain Digital noted.

This technology and other innovations will be the focus of April's European conference held by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. At this event, supply chain managers can learn about creative thinking, practices and applications that will help them remain efficient and competitive in the coming years.