Supply chains have been mapped for forever, but now technology is being increasingly involved in network mapping. Supply chains are evolving due to factors around them which might be political, economic, production-based, or, as seen this year, because of a pandemic. Covid-19 exposed the fragility of many modern supply chains with businesses relying on imports from different countries at a time when manufacturing was decreasing.
Within the wines and spirits industry companies across the world are scaling up their production, streamlining their supply chains, and expanding globally to become more efficient with their suppliers. It’s more important than ever to have an understanding of where everything comes from. You only have to look at the 2013 horse meat scandal to see why knowing your product’s origins is vital.
Supply network mapping explained
Modern supply chain mapping is engaging and communicating with companies and suppliers to record the origin of each material process and shipment that will imports the goods to markets, helping to create end-to-end supply chains and indirect suppliers. Before technology, supply chain mapping and management was a very labour-intensive process—for all the effort companies put into improving the efficiencies and performance of supply chains, very few had reached the full potential of digital applications, with research by McKinsey finding that the average supply chain is 43 per cent digitalised.
The inclusion of technology in supply chain networking
Technology gaps are often when supply chains are not up to standard. Accurate supply network mapping was made possible through the rise of online maps and the internet, with the world’s first supply chain mapping platform developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008.
Companies many find that supply network mapping can be resource-intensive and difficult but will quickly understand that it is valuable. So, what are the advantages?
Supply chain mapping is only possible because of software that can collect real-time data, creating a place where your business can see reliable insights. The tremendous boom that e-commerce has had on retail is one useful example of how data-driven actions can revolutionise your supply chain.
A technology already being used for supply chain is the application programming interface (API) which allows instant access to real-time data and lets different platforms and elements of the supply chain communicate with each other, just like an interface lets humans interact with computers. A useful example of this is making online purchases and transactions. When you enter your credit card information, the site at hand will send information to an application which verifies the details as correct and allows the purchase to go through. These APIs can be used to transfer supply chain data and remove the time it would take to request it manually.
With complex chains running across the world, it can take a lot of time to keep track of everything from raw materials or a piston ring of a car. Supply chain mapping facilitates collaboration from small to large scales, with teams working together from all companies involved in a supply chain to document every resource, process, and shipment.
Having the information on hand of who and where the suppliers and buyers are makes supply chain mapping easier and elevates concerns.
Reduce the risk
Minimising the risk should be a primary concern and lots of organisations currently have been disrupted by recently unknown vulnerabilities. At the core of these issues is the lack of rigorous processes to recognise risks and new threats, including cyber-attacks and supplier bankruptcy, which has been amplified by globalisation. Even in 2010, 71 per cent of executives in McKinsey research said companies were more at risk of supply chain disruption than before. Now, supply chain disruptions are at their highest rate.
Identifying risks can be made easier and assessed in detail across the supply chain if checked regularly.
Keep ahead in business and make sure you remain relevant in the industry with your supply chain mapping. Take charge and keep your competitive edge over your rivals with this vital software.