Coronavirus crisis shows that visibility into supply chains is critical

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted supply chains big and small — and not just ones connected to China’s global manufacturing sector that the coronavirus hit first. As COVID-19 affects supply chains around the world and people must work from home or not at all, businesses everywhere are feeling the pain of halting operations, dealing with supply shortages and suffering from a lack of demand.

“We’re seeing companies ask what to do in the crisis, and from our perspective there are really two things,” BearingPoint Partner Chetan Rangaswamy said. “First, invest in visibility tools that will help manage your supply chain and supply chain disruptions; really understand your planning and procurement technology options. Second, use that visibility to understand your suppliers’ strengths and weaknesses. Supply chains are based on complex relationships, including your supplier's supplier. You need to know the benefits and risks beyond the first tier of your suppliers.”

Spend Matters is hearing from providers of cloud procurement solutions that their clients are switching from the typical tech uses, which focus on cutting costs, to deploying the solutions for what was once considered tasks to be put off for the future — tasks like real-time supplier collaboration and involving more stakeholders in analytics. Procurement has long championed the idea that it could add value to the business, making it a higher profile ally across the company. In this crisis, procurement teams that have digitally transformed can live up to that promise.

But let’s consider how procurement and supply chain departments can adapt to help in any crisis.