It’s a subject that has caused many sleepless nights for IT managers, the C-suite and logistics specialists for the last three years, and revolves around how best to keep a supply chain active.
At a panel today at Collision 2022 in Toronto, three speakers from three distinct organizations outlined what they are doing to overcome the many challenges.
“The world”, the panel description stated, is “currently experiencing a global supply chain crisis that economists predict is likely to continue for the next couple of years.
“In this session, industry experts talk resilience, and discuss the need to be innovative in order to counter the effects of the crisis.”
Entitled What’s In Your Supply Chain Survival Kit, the panel featured a dialogue among speakers Michelle Bockman, president of Stanley X, the innovation business of Stanley Black & Decker, Oison Hanrahan, the chief executive officer of Angi Inc. and Susan Stone, the CEO of Ubiquitous Energy, a start-up solar energy firm based in Redwood, Calif., who outlined all that they have had to deal with as a result of the pandemic.
For Stone, the key to maintaining a solid supply chain has involved developing sound relationships with the firm’s assortment of suppliers, and having the right IT infrastructure in place.
“Working really close to them, and understanding where their pain points are, and seeing if we can work around some of the timing challenges that they’re facing has really been important for us during this time,” she said.
“Regardless of what’s been going on with the supply chain, those relationships are of critical importance to us.”
Bockman said technology advances are the key to creating a supply chain that can allow an organization to deal with the many challenges that can crop up at any one time.
Hanrahan said for Angie.com, the impact of the pandemic has resulted in a change in how the business operated.
“It became impossible to forecast,” he said. “Instead of forecasting, what we did was say, let’s stop trying to forecast the future, let’s focus on the response, let’s get really good at responding to the spikes instead of trying to focus on trying to predict the future.”
“And that shift allowed us to unlock a lot of internal processes that changed how we were doing business.”
Bockman, meanwhile said there are three key technologies used in Stanley X’s supply chain strategy: 3D printing, AI, and machine learning.
The combination of the three, she said, allows Stanley X to manufacture products using two different processes — injection molding, and 3d printing or additive manufacturing. The two back each other up, and provide a dual supply source and dual manufacturing processes.
When it comes to technology advances in the supply chain, said Hanrahan, it’s actually more about providing the right tools in order for senior managers to respond quickly when problems arise, and providing them with the right data so they can make better decisions in times of change and in times of crisis.