• Home
  • Blog
  • Ripples Become Waves: The New Supply Chain Normal

This article was originally printed on the FortressIQ website and includes updates to reflect the company’s change in status. FortressIQ is now part of Automation Anywhere, and its offering is now our process intelligence product, Process Discovery.

Supply chain and logistics sit at the intersection of major economic and societal trends such as rapid urbanization and e-commerce growth. Your customers compound the challenges by constantly demanding enhancements to shipping and logistics business processes to lower costs, improve service, and increase efficiency.

Services such as freight forwarding, truckload brokerage, customs brokerage, order fulfillment, and returns management are all key to improving the efficiency of the supply chain management process, and your customers want improvements up and down the chain. But that’s increasingly challenging as those customers continue to adapt, competition rages, and the rate of change accelerates and impacts all parts of your business. The net effect is that the ripple effect of one decision could be the wave that overwhelms your business.

Disruptions prevent short lead times and high fill rates

Lead time is an important metric in logistics. It is measured from the time of order submission to the time of order receipt. An equally important metric is fill rate, which is defined as the percentage of orders shipped from inventory. The goal is for lead times to be as short as possible with minimal variability and for fill rates to be high given enough inventory is maintained to avoid stock-outs.

The overall goal of logistics is to deliver the right product, at the right price, to the right customer, at the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, and in the right condition. That’s a challenge and involves many processes across your business. But with challenges such as the pandemic, the recent grueling halt of hundreds of container ships in the Suez Canal, and sudden shifts in fuel costs and commodity price increases, it’s clear that one isolated incident can quickly disrupt your entire supply chain.

Fight demand and supply uncertainty with insights

Traditionally, demand and supply were anticipated using various modeling techniques based on historical data. But 2020 changed that, probably for good. From a sharp drop in demand in the early part of 2020 to an acute supply shortage in the latter half of 2020, many global and local retailers, consumer products manufacturers, and logistics companies were caught off-guard.

The disruption caused a significant reduction in revenue due to curtailment of business, an increase in expenses or a reduction in operating margins, reductions in operating effectiveness due to employees working remotely, unavailability of personnel, and much more. These are just a few examples of the widespread impact.

To survive in this new normal, businesses will need to enhance their operating model, while others need to completely reimagine how they work. To thrive, you’ll need to do much more. Businesses must fully understand how each function and process contribute to the overall enterprise strategy and success, from connectivity to customers, call centers, warehouse management, inventory management, pricing, finance, accounting, returns (reverse logistics), amongst others. 

People, processes, technology, information, and facilities, and mapping their interdependencies and connectedness is key to driving operational resilience. But, these connections are also frequently the cause of complex and complicated manual processes or disconnected legacy systems and applications. This not only creates additional work but also increases operational risks, losses, customer dissatisfaction, and low employee morale.

To improve, you must first find and understand these challenges, and that starts by decoding how your business works today.

Enter Process Discovery

By leveraging computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, and with universal compatibility requiring zero integration, Automation Anywhere Process Discovery disrupts the traditional process mining and discovery methods. Our solution captures and discovers all relevant process data in just weeks with automated business process discovery, modeling, and documentation. The result is data and insights across all organizational processes that are unattainable with traditional methods.

Decode work with unmatched visibility

Process Discovery brings visibility into how operations, internal controls, and supply chains work. Instead of capturing limited process logs or conducting slow, expensive interviews, the solution follows the human with automated business process discovery, modeling, and documentation.

It then presents data and insights through process visualizations and reports, allowing you to view the data from a broad perspective, such as reviewing the most performed tasks or focusing on a single process thread or sub-task. Analyzing processes at this precise level of detail enables data-driven decision-making for increased confidence.

Adapt to today’s retail, supply chain, and logistics challenges

Process Discovery quickly decodes work at every level, across every channel, and in every domain. Detailed current-state assessments let you make data-driven decisions by capturing tasks at the most granular level, with no bias or blind spots. 

This intelligence empowers you to improve your business by enabling fit-for-purpose solutions such as automating repetitive processes, system optimizations and replacements, increasing compliance and controls, standardizing processes, and much more. Even as systems change across brands, business lines, and regions, Process Discovery provides continuous and comprehensive insights so that you can focus on sustainable growth.

Add Process Intelligence to Your Organization.

Get to know the Automation Success Platform.

Try Automation Anywhere

For Businesses

Sign up to get quick access to a full, personalized product demo

For Students & Developers

Start your RPA journey instantly with FREE access to Community Edition