Two years ago, who would have thought that supply chain disruption would ever make the front-page news, or be covered anywhere but in business media?
The COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. With lockdowns shuttering manufacturing facilities and transportation networks drastically curtailed, supply operations stalled at the same time that demand spiked for certain products. There were shortages everywhere, and some products became subject to purchase limitations. Bath tissue hoarders were exposed on social media. Health care facilities sent out desperate pleas for personal protective equipment.
Although many manufacturing and distribution hurdles have been overcome, supply chains are still not functioning as they did pre-pandemic. And with some economists warning that pandemic-related factors will impact supply chains for at least another two years, businesses are trying to find the right strategies to bring to bear against ongoing disruption.
In this challenging climate, continuous monitoring of supply chain data can be an indispensable tool for responding to and guarding against supply disruptions.
Why Continuous Monitoring?
If nothing else, COVID taught us that there are events that we can’t predict. But we’ve also learned that we still need to prepare for them. By taking into consideration a broad array of fluid factors — the environment, economics, politics, individual company performance, and more — and continuously monitoring the data associated with those factors, it’s possible to identify potential problems early, and take action before it’s too late.
When we refer to continuous monitoring, we’re not speaking about a standalone product, feature, or solution in its own right. Rather, it’s a tactic — part of a commitment to an overall data strategy that includes a range of entities, processes, and technologies.
The simplest way to define continuous monitoring is that it answers two basic (but absolutely critical) questions about any product or service your company purchases:
- Where does it come from?
- What are its dependencies?
Continuously monitoring supply chain data gives you the ability to detect, ahead of time, changes involving your suppliers or the general marketplace that are impacting or have the potential to impact your business. In short, it provides the most relevant data that are affecting your immediate, ongoing, and long-term needs.
Faster Facts, Earlier Action to Head Off Disruption
The power of continuous data monitoring is that it enables you to really understand why a previous decision has to change based on new facts. They’re not just facts about your suppliers — they’re also external events affecting the marketplace that can impact your business.
As this example illustrates, continuous monitoring shows the effect of the cause. It’s about paying attention to everything that’s going on — even if the events seem to be disconnected — and how they can have an impact on your supply chain. Continuous monitoring is about actively understanding how the world is changing, and how those changes — direct and indirect — are going to affect your supply chain and operations.
Download the eBook: How COVID Has Made Continuously Monitored Supply Chain Data a Must-Have
Continuous data monitoring is a prism of advanced data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence technologies, all working together. Depending on the complexity of the supply network being monitored, analytic models can be as universal or as granular as a user needs them to be, providing real-time macro and micro insights in the form of core predictors, scores and ratings.
Just about any indicator can be identified and used as a trigger to alert the monitoring team that a potential risk is imminent. Ultimately, the goal is to prevent business disruption by having advance notice and taking control of the situation.
Our eBook explores five main categories of continuous monitoring: identity, ownership, stability, employment, and adaptability. It also includes:
- A closer look at the economic, social, political, and environmental forces that are disrupting supply chains
- Three key steps to serve as a starting point to prepare for supply chain disruption
- Questions you should ask when considering how your organization would implement continuous supply chain data surveillance
Read the eBook to learn more.