Top Supply Chain and Procurement Themes for 2021? Start with Resilience

Top Supply Chain and Procurement Themes for 2021? Start with Resilience

  • Supply chains will continue to feel the effects of the pandemic
  • Interconnected, complex supplier networks are the new normal
  • Visibility, collaboration, and risk management will be building blocks for resilience
January 28, 2021 | Supply Chain Strategy

The COVID-19 pandemic — the biggest disruptor of 2020 — will continue to have a major impact in 2021 as governments across the world focus on inoculating tens of millions with vaccines and try to contain the pandemic.

This continued chaos will also stretch supply chains as organizations try new strategies to avoid breakages like those seen in 2020.

Supply chains will also grow more interconnected in 2021, and hence more complex. And the more interconnected they become, the more potential there is for breakage at those connection points.

Supply chain resilience thus becomes an important factor in ensuring companies are prepared to handle future stresses and fulfill pent-up demand when pandemic-related restrictions end.

The Building Blocks of Resilience

Greater resilience for supply chains requires greater visibility and collaboration with both suppliers and customers. Visibility beyond direct supply partners and joint supplier planning reduces lead times, costs and risks for the entire supply network.

Consumer behavior can change minute to minute, so adjusting demand planning in real time will lead to better choices and faster decisions on adapting to those shifts.

Enhancing risk management capabilities to navigate the increased complexity of supply chains will also be a factor in developing resilience. That doesn’t imply that total risk prevention is the goal, or even possible. Risk management in a resilient supply chain is a decision-making framework, supported by end-to-end visibility, to mitigate disruptions and navigate to recovery.

But Resilience Shouldn’t Be the Only Goal of 2021

Building resilience in the demand and supply network is a top theme for supply chain and procurement leaders in 2021, but it’s not the only one. There are seven more themes that will be part of the ongoing leadership conversation through this year and beyond.

1. Revised supply network strategies

2. A new definition of what’s essential for business operations

3. Sustainable procurement

4. Inclusion and diversity in the procure-to-pay process

5. Post-COVID cost levers

6. Unification of finance and procurement

7. Growing shift towards automation

To provide effective supply chain and procurement leadership needed in a tumultuous year, knowing what’s important is crucial.

For a more complete understanding of these top priorities and trends, download the GEP Outlook 2021 report, the trusted strategic guide for thousands of supply chain and procurement leaders globally.

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