At Gartner’s 2022 Supply Chain Symposium, which took place in Orlando, FL, Alex Pradhan, Product Strategy Leader at John Galt Solutions, shared her insights in an interview with Russell W. Goodman, Editor in Chief at Supply Chain Brain. To illustrate what is happening in the supply chain landscape and reshaping the future, Alex brought attention to a few factors that have acted as catalysts for the new era of supply chain planning.

Aside from high volatility and ongoing disruptions, which have challenged the efficiency of supply chains across all sectors, Alex mentioned that there are other challenges disrupting the industry, such as the pool of new talent with “digital native planners that are used to operating in an environment as if they were on their iPhone.” She added that “we continue to see a lot more data”, and companies are increasingly dealing with enormous amounts of data from multiple sources, meaning there is a growing need to integrate and optimize the use of all this information.

Quick shifts in demand combined with unforeseen challenges have created an imbalance for many companies in recent months, many of which “decided to bring in a lot more inventory or raw materials. They didn’t know when inventory might arrive on site because of the transportation challenges. Now, a lot of chief financial officers might have to write off a lot of inventory.” She added: “the alignment into financial planning is becoming a lot more important. Also being able to truly get visibility and being able to look at your entire supply chain is important. You need to look at where everything is moving. What insights are needed for the decisions you need to make?” 

Looking at all the recent disruptions and continuous challenges, Russell asked Alex to share her opinion on whether this disruptive environment should be perceived as the new normal in the new era of supply chain planning. Alex said: “Absolutely. We have always dealt with disruptions (…) but I think we are seeing the frequency and the intensity of those disruptions more so, and it's because all the supply chains are interconnected, highly interdependent on one another.”  

Alex added that this is a moment of reflection for supply chain leaders: “The new world that we're going to be navigating is definitely one with ongoing disruptions.” She explained that the ongoing disruptions are not just in terms of supply chain shocks, but also shifts in consumer behavior, sustainability challenges, and various forces that are adding pressure to the performance of supply chains. 

On the topic of advanced technologies that will be making a difference, Alex indicated that there are several emerging technologies in the spotlight, such as digital supply chain twins, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – the question should not be whether these technologies are going to make a difference, explained Alex, but “which are the ones that are going to give you surplus value.” Alex stressed the importance of supply chain planners being strategic about the different technologies, to apply them to revolutionize and accelerate their supply chain planning. “We're seeing a lot of interest with digital supply chain twins, and the theme of composability and being able to assemble bits and pieces of your supply chain as you want to see them is becoming very important.” 

Finally, Russell asked what success looks like in this new era of supply chain, to which Alex argued that our supply chains will increasingly become highly interdependent, so “looking at truly connecting people, process, technology and time” will be critical for success, as well as “connecting operations, data and decisions.”

Alex Pradhan, Product Strategy Leader, John Galt Solutions 

Russell W. Goodman, Editor in Chief, Supply Chain Brain