Here are six areas for all supply chain leaders to focus on when developing their plans for the year ahead.
There’s nothing like a new year to force all of us to reflect on the last 12 months, make some changes and then plough ahead full force into the oncoming year. And while some key challenges from last year (and 2020, for that matter) are lingering, that shouldn’t stop supply chain leaders from making at least a few resolutions to work better, smarter and more efficiently in 2022.
A good first step is to take stock of your organization’s performance over the last year and pinpoint a few areas of improvement. Where could you have done better? What small shifts would have created the most positive impacts? There’s probably still time to roll out some of those changes along with a few other future-focused plans for 2022.
From there, it’s just a matter of putting strategic plans in place and carrying out those initiatives in the coming months. Here are six more areas all supply chain leaders can add to their 2022 resolution lists:
- Digital transformation: How far has your company come and how far does it still need to go in order achieve its digital transformation goals? These are questions that all corporate leaders and managers are asking themselves as they plan out their roadmaps for success over the next 12 months (and beyond). Some will continue with the digital transformation plans put in place over the last few years while others will be starting from scratch. “Organizations are accelerating digital transformation processes for long-term growth and profitability,” Gartner reports, “yet 53% of organizations surveyed remain untested in the face of digital challenge and their digital transformation readiness therefore uncertain.”
- Cybersecurity and data protection. Both will remain top of mind for companies in 2022 as the “bad actors” continue to proliferate and customers become more discerning about sharing their data and sensitive information. “Customers say that safety and security are most important to them online,” Tech Wire Asia reports, citing KPMG’s advice that businesses adopt transparent approaches to using, storing and sharing data. “This will not only assuage the worries of users but also help to build consumer trust in a brand. Don’t betray their trust, ensure you have the right data protection and data privacy policies in place within your digital ecosystem.”
- Supply chain collaboration. If we learned anything from the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that it takes a village to nurture, grow and support a supply chain. By making 2022 the year that you foster more integration and collaboration across supply chain partners, you’ll be able to transform supply chains into competitive advantages (versus just cost centers). Productive collaboration also helps you deliver higher value to your customers, shareholders and/or other stakeholders.
- Crisis management. Now is a great time to develop and commit to following a crisis management plan, which outlines how your company will respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect its profitability, reputation or ability to operate. According to TechTarget, these plans are used by business continuity teams, emergency management teams, crisis management teams and damage assessment teams to avoid or minimize damage, and to provide direction on staffing, resources and communications. For best results, be sure to identify your crisis management team members; document criteria that will be used to determine whether a crisis has occurred; establish monitoring systems and practices to detect early warning signals of a potential crisis situation; and regularly test the effectiveness of the crisis management plan and update it accordingly.
- Supply chain visibility. Real-time transportation visibility platforms not only allow customers to track their orders in real-time, but they also provide valuable insights into transportation costs and overall performance—both of which will remain more important than ever in 2022. “Total visibility into your transportation spend is a gateway to optimize carrier selection, carrier rates, contract management, etc.,” Global Trade “Not only that, but you now have a stream of high-quality data that can help improve your business intelligence and make smarter data-driven decisions to cut costs further.”
- Real-time data. According to Forbes, 84% of supply chain leaders say real-time data has helped them break down silos across the entire value chain. “Real-time data can allow you to control cost centers, measure performance, address procedural gaps, improve decision making, and boost overall team and company performance,” Global Trade “With the pandemic still at large, the remote work culture makes maintaining transparency and leveraging accurate real-time data even more critical. This is to ensure that your transportation spend management keeps running smoothly and fruitfully.”