American Supply Chains: “We’re Just Getting Started”
When President Biden delivered his State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress in February, tech and manufacturing business leaders were looking for encouraging words from the president. Fortunately, he delivered direct mentions regarding American initiatives that impacted the future of the supply chain.
He said: “Folks, I know I’ve been criticized for saying this, but I’m not changing my view. We’re going to make sure the supply chain for America begins in America. The supply chain begins in America.”
That comment primarily focused on the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, passed to help invest in research, development, science, and technology to strengthen American manufacturing, supply chains, and national security.
America should become a leader in “the industries of tomorrow,” namely AI, quantum computing, and nanotechnology, among other leading-edge areas. CHIPS and the Science Act can potentially appropriate $1.5 billion for promoting and deploying communication technologies and their supply chains.
The multi-faceted benefits include creating new manufacturing jobs and increasing nearshoring efforts that drive towards better sustainability, with added manufacturing facilities and transportation either on or closer to North American soil.
New Manufacturer Focus
The CHIPS initiative is exciting, yet even more work can be done on this front. Manufacturers should also focus on transforming operations internally and optimizing their external relationships with supplier and distributor partnerships up and downstream. A critical step in this collaborative effort is sharing data with trusted suppliers to gain keener insights into their managed data.
When companies get visibility into their supply network, internally and externally with Trusted Suppliers and materials inventory, it can help unlock new insights. For example, data visibility and materials insights allow organizations to understand that every time they buy materials, they are buying them from the right supplier at the right time for the right price.
Industrial Supply Chain Management
Enterprises can improve their industrial supply chain management process with a series of essential steps. And it starts with a data-centric analysis to optimize the supply chain process. Next, identify efficiencies and areas for improvement, then take action to reduce waste, streamline workflows, and improve interdepartmental communication.
Another aspect of improving industrial supply chain management is investing in advanced technologies: AI, IoT, machine learning, and robotic process automation can all help bolster supply chain efficiency and visibility. In addition, real-time data tools can support better planning and execution for improved decision-making and strategic forecasting.
Change management will undergo a similar overhaul too. Today’s supply chain needs data-minded managers to foster a culture of continuous improvement. This will help to open up communications between line workers and management, address inefficiencies and seek better ways to optimize operations.
Working closely with suppliers and partners is another integral part of improving industrial supply chain management. Executives should aspire to build solid relationships with their stakeholders. Sharing trusted data in collaboration with suppliers, logistics providers, and other partners can enable better planning and coordination.
Data and analytics should play a big part in monitoring your business supply chain performance progress. For example, measuring your inventory turns, order fulfillment rates, and delivery times can help your executives to identify trends that galvanize the supply chain process.
Overall, supply chain operations must start to build a digital foundation. Once this solid underpinning is in place, then advanced automation and augmentation capabilities can be introduced to establish new concepts of process collaboration and multi-enterprise data visibility into focus.
Forward Progress for Supply Chain
Working together in collaboration with buyers and suppliers and utilizing state-of-the-art data tools, enterprises can start to make forward progress for:
- Rightsizing Working Capital: Organizations now can use AI strategies to carry only what they need without introducing new/additional burdens or risk.
- Augmenting their workforce: A new generation of manufacturing workers is coming into plants and factories, as noted by Biden in his SOTU. As a result, businesses have an excellent opportunity to transform these environments with new AI / ML technologies. In addition, they are exploiting the tech-skilled workforce to offset existing and future labor challenges.
- Ensure production continuity: Stronger data insights into materials inventory can minimize disruption and ensure production continuity.
- Strengthen supplier/buyer processes: Opportunities abound for buyers and suppliers to strengthen data processes to reduce tail spend.
No longer buzzwords, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are now everyday capabilities that manufacturers are incorporating into their processes. As a result, companies can harmonize their supply network with these tools for lasting, sustainable growth.
Founder & CEO of Verusen