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  • Ed Lawson

Are you in tune with your suppliers?

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

If being more 'agile' can mean having options to reduce supply challenges in future, many will need to make changes and improvements to current operastions. What can be done to collaborate with suppliers more closely, to gain visibility in order to flag the bottlenecks earlier so that other options can be considered? We brought together senior logistics leaders from major companies to explore the common challenges and hear what each is doing to improve visibility through connectedness in future. On 5th October we held a brilliant Virtual Boardroom discussion, involving experts from E2open: Tom Davies and Samrat Roy.

Summary of the key challenges we discussed:

  • Regulatory changes can shift timelines: sometimes a positive but often force planning changes

  • Younger companies don’t have the systems and processes in place to support agility - rely on data feeds from partners

  • Brexit has been, and continues to be a key challenge - forcing changes especially with supply to Ireland

  • Canada has suddenly become prohibitively expensive (rates quadrupled): some product lines are not profitable to fulfil

  • Carriers have reneged on contracts - now often very difficult to guarantee supply

  • Increase in data errors from carriers - this is consuming more time

  • Agility starts with mapping the network as a basis for ongoing improvement of the inbound process. Greater visibility would reduce reliance on what a FF tells you about ETAs.

  • E2open can support earlier warning signals from upstream

  • Supply decisions go through the IBP process - but rapidly shifting rates can mean they are not correct calculations by the time the decision is reached

  • The need to pre-book shipping much further in advance is causing challenges as the customers expect product order lag to be much shorter: meaning bookings must be ‘guesstimated’ - incurring risk of extra costs

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