Technology can help you build the models you need to prepare your supply chain for a downturn. Having the necessary data available via technology will allow you to create the "what if" scenarios and to measure the potential economic effect. Technology can also provide you all the supporting data to share with all the links in your supply chain and allow you to communicate your plans. It can also help in the event you need to execute any of the scenarios you've created.
The best solutions come from the right mix of people, processes and technology. With increasing business complexity, technology is an essential part of the equation for creating various response scenarios. But, as with most business issues, when planning for a downturn, carefully assessing the requirements and challenges, focusing on people and developing the right business processes are the best first steps.
Seek out systems that meet the specific requirements of your industry and your users. With increasing business complexity, it seems natural to seek out more sophisticated tools and solutions. However, provided the tools meet the industry-specific needs, there appears to be little correlation between the sophistication of the tools and the value they provide. In fact, there are many who argue that ease of use, enhanced visibility and the ability to rapidly do pragmatic "what-ifs" to determine the best way to respond are often more valuable than larger, more complex solutions.
Know the Real Value of Being Prepared
So, how do you justify the expense of technology investments in an era of tight budgets? How can you afford not to? Just look at what the Atkins Diet fad did to so many companies. Can you risk not being prepared? In addition, you're not really discussing a technology investment; you're preparing your business to react quickly and with a solid plan, using the tools that technology enables. If you have made contingency plans for dramatic shifts in demand in advance, you can react quickly and execute them as soon as the signals of an imminent downturn appear.
About the Author: Steve Wells is the general manager for CDC Software Supply Chain. For more information about CDC Software and all of its software offerings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.