Orchestrating flexible and resilient global supply networks in high-tech

The high-tech sector gets well-deserved credit for creating the innovations that transform the way that we work and live. It’s impossible to envision a business of any kind succeeding without the advanced technology that makes it all possible. This is especially true in a world where delivering rich and personalized customer, employee, and partner experiences is increasingly essential.

But the high-tech industry itself is undergoing its own profound transformation. In the very near future, high-tech manufacturers will pivot toward providing platforms and subscription-based services to monetize their innovations and intellectual property. And this shift to an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) paradigm is leading many in the industry to rethink the role of their supply chains.

In an XaaS world, advanced technologies are still the drivers of innovation and competitive advantage. But the burden of staying current on the latest solutions shifts from the end customer to the provider. And that requires tighter synchronization across a global, intelligent supply network. Here are a few of the supply chain best practices that high-tech companies are seeking to implement to help them stay competitive:

  • Transitioning from linear supply chains to responsive supply networks – Traditional supply chain relationships don’t allow high-tech manufacturers to adapt quickly to increasing volatility in demand, supply, and partner capacity. Disruption and unpredictability are the new normal, and companies must manage information as well as they manage inventories to deliver on evolving needs and to achieve the flexibility to scale as needed. The first step is to establish leaner supply chains with factories optimized for throughput. However, the real gains come with building trust-based processes across multi-level supply and logistics networks. Companies must drive the seamless integration of manufacturing partners through intelligent planning and production processes that incorporate machine learning into planning and manufacturing—using real-time data and hyperconnected devices to streamline communication.
  • Applying innovative technologies to serve demanding customers – High-tech customers are navigating the same volatility that their suppliers are, and they rely on their suppliers’ advanced solutions to help them adapt to their changing market environment.To keep pace with volatile customer demand and heightened expectations, high-tech companies are deploying AI and machine learning to create better forecasts, accelerate supplier vetting and onboarding, and develop a richer, more nuanced view of the customer to better understand evolving needs. In the XaaS model, the priority is to tune the offering to the customer’s needs, versus requiring the customer to change their business practices to embrace new technology. As a result, it’s essential to develop an in-depth understanding of the challenges the customer faces.
  • Providing vital business information across the network – Adopting this more customer-centric approach requires high-tech providers to be more responsive and proactive. They must anticipate supply chain snags and bottlenecks before they occur. And that takes data—from the supplier and from throughout the partner network. Companies need to become adept at real-time analysis and data sharing within their enterprise and with their strategic suppliers. In essence, partner networks must think and act as one to maintain the agility and responsiveness they’ll need.

The pandemic has made supply chain efficiency front-page news. And anyone shopping for a new car or phone in the past year has direct experience of the importance of high-tech supply chain resilience. As high-tech manufacturers and suppliers look to the future, they’re rethinking how to improve visibility into real-time demand and supply changes through coherent planning—across the partner network and within their own enterprises. They’re becoming more collaborative in their production planning and scheduling. And they’re exploring how to achieve real-time order confirmations that align with sales allocations and supply plans, while securing alternative suppliers and material substitutions to ensure on-time delivery.

Interested in how you can transform your supply chain to address a new era of challenges? Learn more here.

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