Ask just about any person who works at a high level — when it comes to procurement or the supply chain as a whole — what their biggest problem is, and they're likely to tell you it's "lack of insight." Simply put, most companies don't have as much data from their supply chain partners as they truly want — or need — to take the next step as an organization or just run that much more efficiently.

Despite the fact that the novel coronavirus pandemic had a massive impact on pretty much every business even tangentially related to the supply chain and forced a lot of realizations about what was and was not working for them, data sharing still isn't a top priority for many organizations. In fact, the recent Tealbook survey from Wakefield Research found that even now, nearly 3 in 4 procurement leaders are "very concerned" that they still don't have the insight they need into their suppliers' operations to more fully mitigate supply chain risk.

Ensure you're setting yourself and your partners up for supply chain success.Ensure you're setting yourself and your partners up for supply chain success.

Likewise, almost 3 in 5 said their organizations still relied on manual data entry, and suffered other issues stemming from lack of modern data collection and sharing, the survey showed. This included not taking advantage of the latest innovations, getting beat to the punch by competitors and not being able to understand their return on investment, all cited by at least 22% of respondents.

What does it take?
Of course, for many companies, these issues may stem from the fact that they "don't know what they don't know," and it's vital to get a clearer understanding of both where they stand and what their partners need from them, according to Supply & Demand Chain Executive. These might be things that are spelled out in their supplier contracts, such as the need to obtain certifications each year of the agreement, or the ability to monitor performance. All too often, however, these things go unenforced for any number of reasons, and it could be a detriment to the overall performance of not only one business, but several or more.

For this reason, it's important to understand the language of any such agreements and make sure all involved are meeting their contractual obligations on an ongoing basis, the report said.

Getting back on track
The pandemic knocked everyone for a loop and now that recovery seems to be fully underway in more parts of the world, it's the perfect opportunity to regroup and find a new path forward together. A separate report from Supply & Demand Chain Executive notes that the procurement game is likely to change considerably for many organizations, and that will require new strategizing to meet what businesses see as new necessities for their operations.

When putting those plans into place, it should entail careful collaboration across your internal departments, and then with your various supply chain partners, to ensure that everyone is on the same page and getting what they need to excel.

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