"Disruption" is probably the first word that comes to mind when thinking about the current supply chain conditions. The two years of the COVID-19 pandemic required resilience and flexibility, and these attributes are still needed as markets meet the challenge of "returning to normal."
The post-pandemic increase in demand, high Inflation rates worldwide and changes in consumer behavior and purchasing preferences explain why agility and resilience were identified as the top priorities for most organizations, according to Gartner.
About 90% of companies are planning investments to ensure their supply chain is resilient and avoid the unpredictability, shortages and circulation restrictions of the last two years. At the same time, Gartner reports that 58% of supply chain leaders believe efforts to achieve resilience will result in additional costs, which seems contradictory to the endless pursuit for cost-effectiveness.
Digitizing processes is a matter of survival for sectors directly affected by the supply chain, encompassing a myriad of activities and complex interconnected processes. There's no room for emails, papers and spreadsheets anymore, and most supply chain leaders would admit it.
Nevertheless, it is important to go beyond just simple digitalization. Structuring digital workflows pave the way for more visibility in the supply network and greater connection between processes and insightful operational data, which offers companies more predictability and opportunities for optimization. Automating and orchestrating processes leads to more efficiency.
But how can supply chain businesses invest in digital transformation amid disruptive times without spending too much?
Well, the answer has nothing to do with hiring developers and IT professionals, spending hours training employees or creating complex enterprise resourcing planning (ERP) solutions. Low-code technology is the safest and most intelligent solution to increase process connectivity and visibility without substantial initial investments.
The supply chain involves manufacturers and retailers, including warehousing and distributors. Therefore, a horizontal and flexible solution should be able to connect different workflows and be tweaked by various user groups with specific needs. Furthermore, such a tool must be able to connect with the verticalized apps used by each part of the chain.
Low-code workflows solve this bottleneck, which is not exclusive to supply chain processes. Gartner forecasts that by 2025, 70% of new applications created by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technology. In 2020, only one in four companies utilized this strategy of allowing teams to build and model their workflows and releasing IT to focus on high-level problems.
Automation, for instance, can be configured through simple dragging and dropping instead of generating endless IT requests. Since supply chain professionals are in charge of building workflows, it's simple for them to scale operations and create new processes without increasing costs or shifting tools.
In times of speedy changes that are forcing companies to find new ways of working, low-code workflows enable more responsiveness through constant process improvement. Ultimately, these tools facilitate expense control and increase resilience, making supply chain activities a seamless value stream. After all, that's exactly what leaders seek to thrive in an uncertain future where agility and high-quality services will increasingly matter.