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The supply chain crisis is spurring companies to transform production and sourcing strategies to reduce risk

The report, Resilience in volatility: Modernizing the supply chain, highlights three areas that Fortune 500 and mid-size companies need to address to implement technology such as machine learning, cloud computing and risk management tools to improve production and delivery.

The supply chain needs of the pharmaceutical industry are growing increasingly complex, particularly with the growth of cell and gene therapies that require timely delivery of medication components that have to be kept at stable temperatures.

A new report from Microsoft highlights factors that have stressed the supply chain over the past 18 months and how companies are responding to this crisis as they lay the groundwork to minimize the impact of global events in the future.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic had the most significant impact on supply chains, other factors exacerbated the problem as well such as a container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for weeks, a ransomware attack on one of the United States’ largest pipelines, a shortage of truck chassis and warehouse pallets, and natural disasters.

Resilience in volatility: Modernizing the supply chain, highlights three areas that Fortune 500 companies and mid-size businesses need to address to unlock the benefits of a modern supply chain:

  • Operational disruptions
  • Lack of visibility
  • Insufficient forecasting

Companies need more visibility into their supply chains to avoid vital information getting siloed, according to the report, particularly as these systems grow increasingly complex. It urges companies to pinpoint and try to predict where their respective supply chain networks are strained and be prepared to respond promptly.

It identifies some of the challenges different sectors face, including the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries. Companies also need to make five critical technology investments  to build an agile, flexible, and resilient supply chain, according to the report.

The report explores some of the main causes of drug shortages and how the healthcare sector is addressing this. It also highlights the innovation that took place in the healthcare industry to address vital needs in the global pandemic.

“A lack of supplier visibility impacts the ability to forecast inventory, determine estimated time of arrival, and optimize production capacity. Better network mapping and supplier risk profiling allow companies to ingest, harmonize, and standardize data from different sources to reduce operational costs, get higher inventory turns, and improve fulfillment. While these challenges and concepts are not new, the importance of addressing them has been magnified as a result of significant disruptions over the past two years,” according to the report.

To learn more about the supply chain challenges and ways companies can address them, download the report, Resilience in volatility: Modernizing the supply chain, here.

Photo: zorazhuang, Getty Images