Just about every headline about supply chains in recent months has related how hard the industry has been hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. From just about any perspective, life in the supply chain is now a lot more difficult than it was several months ago, and it's likely to be a long road back to the way things used to be, if getting there is possible at all.
In some ways, though, that could actually be seen as a positive, with short-term pain - especially when it comes to procurement - prompting more companies to seek better long-term solutions, according to Supply Chain Dive. For instance, even as many companies were already investing in warehouse management and procurement software before the pandemic rocked operations, they've been forced to come up with more creative solutions amid social distancing and remote work.
After all, these companies didn't stop operations, but they did have to dramatically rethink how they worked and pivot to a solution that accommodated the "new normal," the report said. That, in turn, might encourage them to continue investigating their options for further investment that allow them to remain nimble even as conditions in the industry continue to evolve.
A great example
One industry titan in developing procurement and inventory management software - SAP - recently announced that its business has boomed in recent months specifically because companies are taking the opportunity to modernize operations. In the second quarter of 2020 alone, the company saw 70 new major customers, as well as 245 renewals of existing contracts, and 290 customers pushing their new platforms live.
SAP Procurement Solutions President Chris Haydon noted that the current situation in the industry seems to have been the big driver in interest, because companies need more flexibility when examining both internal and external processes, and thus more insight into how effectively what they do today is working, the company said.
"As a result, we are seeing many companies accelerate digitalization projects to balance getting the supplies, materials and external talent resources needed to adapt quickly and meet customer demand no matter what comes next," Haydon added.
Getting it right
Of course, the entire supply chain also needs to have reasonable assurances their procurement efforts will be effective when it comes to guaranteeing the items they obtain are of the highest quality, according to Pro Bono. For that reason, especially amid the pandemic, more government entities are crafting plans to identify and certify suppliers that provide a good blend of quality, environmental impact, transparency and accountability, so the governments themselves and businesses within their borders can have more certainty about the quality and veracity of any items they need.
When companies are able to implement all the right technological solutions to ensure their efforts aren't in vain, and that they can move purchases through the supply chain as quickly as possible, they and their partners will be in a better position to continue evolving - even long after the pandemic recedes.