Taming Complex Supply Chains In The Global Economy (Part 2)

Helen Dwight

Part 2 in a 2-part series. Read Part 1.

Part 1 of this series examined the increasing complexity of supply chain processes, the consequence of natural disasters, geopolitical shifts, changing trade policies, and much more. In the face of this reality, enterprises can begin to reimagine the end-to-end procurement process using intelligent technologies to extract data automatically for use in countless ways. And it’s what you do with the data that drives the real value.

Man and machine in unison

Intelligent technologies can help procurement professionals analyze data and spot patterns, providing the insights needed to manage complex supply chains, optimize procurement systems, and reduce risk. For example, smart contracts can be embedded with contractual terms. Tools can monitor conditions and create real-time notifications when any operations are noncompliant with contracts or regulations, helping mitigate risk proactively and potentially avoiding fines or monetary penalties.

Intelligent spend-management solutions use data-based insight to enhance visibility into all spending and supply chain risk. They can dig down into information about even second- and third-tier suppliers – identifying bad actors, detecting fraud, optimizing payment schedules, and anticipating supply chain disruptions.

Process automation reduces or eliminates manual, error-prone tasks. It can also make it easier to access and gain insights from Big Data, wherever it resides, and streamline sourcing and payment activities accordingly. These technologies free procurement experts to do more valuable work, such as determining new policy strategy based on the insights and analysis received. Humans are enabled by machines.

Vision for change

Guided buying and persona-based tools help ensure that the right information gets to the right person at the right time. It also improves the user experience for procurement professionals. With built-in intelligence and guided workflows, these technologies make recommendations and deliver proactive alerts.

Together, intelligent technologies provide insights that help procurement teams make smarter decisions faster. By harnessing artificial intelligence and machine learning, processes that once took hours or even days can be executed in minutes.

In our Webcast, Dion Hinchcliffe, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, spoke of some of the benefits he has seen as a result of the adoption of technology, such as consumerized self-service anywhere, anyplace via mobility. Other examples include:

Risk mitigation using smart contracts, analytics, and IoT
Trend: 30% reduction in total cost of risk

Just-in-time/real-time procurement insight
20% more on-time procurement, 30% spot/aggregation savings

Spend optimization
Trend: 10%-15% savings in current spend for most organizations that can apply artificial intelligence and machine learning

Procurement automation
Trend: 30% of spend with no human intervention using artificial intelligence and machine learning

Embedding intelligence into procurement processes can help enterprises capitalize on opportunities across the entire source-to-pay process. And by reducing mundane tasks and allowing procurement professionals to do more interesting work, these tools can help people increase their job satisfaction, add more value to the company, and spur innovation.

In my opinion, improving job satisfaction is one highly effective way to simplify supply chain complexity.

To learn more about the intelligent enterprise, listen to the Webcast series. To learn more about how technology can help enterprises reimagine their procurement processes (and more), listen to the Webcast “Explore the Future of Intelligent Procurement.”

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Helen Dwight

About Helen Dwight

Helen Dwight is a VP Global Marketing at SAP, with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry spanning regional, country, and global roles based in the U.S., UK, Brazil, and Latin America. Besides marketing, her management experience spans technical pre-sales, product management, and field and channel marketing. As someone who enjoys driving projects from strategy to execution, her passion is in helping clients and partners to articulate the real value of technology and use it to drive greater purpose within their own organizations.