In recent times, we are seeing a significant thrust from all major stakeholders across the value chain on embedding sustainability into the supply chain. With increased participation and improved performance in the socio-economic ecosystem throughout the supply chain, organizations can expect to conserve resources and optimize processes resulting in improved efficiencies and productivity. Key to this endeavor to drive excellence is the role of next gen technologies, its proper deployment, and implementation to drive sustainability in the system. For the usage of futuristic technologies, it is important that the key matrix be identified and clearly defined so that deployment is smooth and efficient. Clear and measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help establish a comprehensive understanding of deliverables in the supply chain and their impact on sustainable business processes.
Supply chain users should place a high priority on the use of Advanced Analytics (AA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it helps in improved decision-making. Using Data Analytics and Advance Analytics real-time data validation can be done. Accordingly, teams can be focussed on performing. In case of any gap, it can be used as a tool to communicate expectations and develop capacity building. This goes a long way towards driving behavioral changes and improving sustainability throughout the supply chain. Since ample data is available it would help in benchmarking process/ groups/ individuals who can self-assess and devise an improvement process in the supply chain.
Supply chain businesses must become more agile to deal with changing dynamics as complexity and volatility increase. This implies that ageing methods are no longer beneficial for use with traditional applications. In addition to the shortage of skilled workforce, most businesses will be forced to increase their investments in high-end technologies due to quickly growing labour costs and the irreparable effects of COVID-19. Companies need to re-strategize their supply chain and rejig it to meet newer customer expectations. Post-Covid, the customer base has spread and shifted to regions that were untouched or left unserved due to associated costs and the availability of manpower for those regions. To cater to this requirement and be sustainable, adds pressure on the Supply Chain. So, this provides Supply Chain an opportunity to adapt and leverage digital solutions which would boost efficiency and effectiveness in business models and make them even more sustainable.
Deployment of next-generation technologies in the supply chain would definitely include digitization of this function, using advanced forecasting methods and predictive analytics of internal and external data. It would also mean real-time planning to take care of real-time changing demand or supply situations, using data points for decision-making. This would help in taking care of the unwarranted situation of supply chain disruption. Also, using Machine Learning (ML) and/ or Artificial intelligence would mean that the system on its own identifies risks and alter the operations to mitigate them.
To summarize, companies aspiring for sustainability using Next Generation Technologies in the supply chain must look at the following:
- Take up internal assessment and identify the areas where sustainability improvements can be initiated- firm up KRA/ KPI.
- Implement a measurable software solution to track and monitor performance- Performance Review and Learning.
- Supply Chain and contracting to go hand in hand to drive sustainability in the process- Alignment
- Collaborate with all internal and external customers in this value chain to establish a larger eco space driving sustainability. – Collaborate.
Nitesh Nath, Head – Projects, Procurement, Land and PMO, Hero Future Energies