Indago ResearchCast: Essential Supply Chain Capabilities Moving Forward

Indago ResearchCasts are video episodes where we share data and insights from our Indago supply chain research community and discuss them with subject matter experts in the industry. My guest for this episode was Ron Lazo, Vice President, Professional Services at Manhattan Associates. Ron and I discuss the findings from three Indago surveys we conducted related to COVID-19, the lessons learned, and the key capabilities companies must have to succeed moving forward. Watch the full episode for all of the data and commentary.

“Which supply chain capabilities, many of them enabled by technology, will become more important or essential moving forward?”

We asked our Indago members that question, and based on the survey results, the top three supply chain capabilities moving forward will be:

  1. The ability to capture and analyze real-time demand.
  2. Real-time visibility of inventory across the supply chain down to the SKU level.
  3. The ability to model and simulate “what if” scenarios.

As one member commented, “The ability to visualize real-time demand based on instantaneous updating of consumption at point of sale has a tremendous opportunity to improve inventory stocking levels and extends into production planning.” Another member added, “With demand and supply being so unpredictable right now, the ability to model ‘what if’ scenarios without making changes to ‘live’ demand planning and supply planning systems is crucial.”

I kicked off the conversation by asking Ron if he agreed with the survey results. 

“I absolutely agree that real-time visibility to both supply and demand is a critical capability that our clients have been leveraging throughout the year, especially in light of Covid,” said Ron. “Using our transportation deployments as an example, every [TMS] project that we executed in 2020 had either an enabling or enhancing visibility component to it. And what’s interesting is that visibility goes well beyond ‘Where’s my truck?’”

Watch the short clip below where Ron discusses the broader value proposition of visibility and shares a couple of customer examples:

Unlearning “The Way We’ve Always Done Things”

It’s clear that the “way we’ve always done things” will not work any more moving forward. For our Indago members, who are all supply chain and logistics executives from manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies, the “I Win/You Lose” approach to supplier relationships and viewing logistics solely as a cost center top the list of things to unlearn. 

I again asked Ron if he was surprised by these results and about the opportunities or benefits companies can unlock by unlearning these things. I encourage you to watch the full episode for his insights and advice on this topic, as well as what he views as the biggest lessons learned from 2020 that companies should embrace and apply in 2021 and beyond.

Join Indago

If you’re a supply chain or logistics practitioner from a manufacturing, retail, or distribution company, I encourage you to learn more about Indago and join our research community. It is confidential, there is no cost to join and the time commitment is minimal (2-5 minutes per week) — plus your participation will help support charitable causes like JDRF, American Logistics Aid Network, American Cancer Society, Feeding America, and Make-A-Wish.

You can also follow us on LinkedIn to stay informed of our latest research results and news.