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Freak weather patterns, natural disasters, health emergencies and other geo-political problems can disrupt your sourcing operations and labour plans overnight. You can't predict the unpredictable but adding feeds from data sources that you may never have previously considered could keep you operating as normal by being better prepared to roll out mitigations and flex operations.

Here's how advanced analytics can help you better prepare for unpredictable events that might impact your supply chain.

Weather watching

Remember the recent flooding events that crippled communities in the UK during the early part of 2020? According to the Environment Agency, the frequency of this type of event is increasing due to climate change. Towns and villages will continue to be cut off from the road network, meaning branches of hundreds of businesses are likely to be affected if this happens again.

Socially responsible organisations will want to take the opportunity to keep supply chains moving in these times of crisis.

Simple data feeds are available online which can provide a regional view of risk and likely impact of unusual weather events, with providers instructions giving guidance on how to interpret and utilise the data.

Analyse these in combination with your customer and vendor data and you could gain a few days' early warning for your business to gear up, plan and execute a response. 

All news is good news

Both governmental and non-governmental organisations provide data feeds relating to other events which may be going on in the world that are likely to cause disruption to transport, population movement or other hazards. Risk assessments have been carried out on the data relating to earthquakes, droughts and even volcanic eruptions.

For example, the UK government provides a risk register of civil emergencies which can be a useful planning aid as much of the worst-case scenario thinking has been done upfront.

Tapping in to this type of data can be of real benefit, again when mashed up with data that likely sits in your transactional ERP or other line of business application databases.

What else could go wrong?

If it's not weather or natural disasters, it's oil prices, election results and sadly, even war. But feeds exist that allow this type of data to be gathered from around the globe, ready for analysis.

You can gain insights to:

  • Energy security
  • Commodities
  • Environmental
  • Military issues
  • Political events

Connecting to this type of data is probably easier than you think.

That data needs to be stored somewhere...

It's important to collect all that analytical data but it needs to go into a single repository so it can be the lifeblood of your business. If you can harness that data and understand what’s going on, your business will be in a better place to adapt to the changing conditions, like we’ve seen this year.

Know what's happening both out there and within your business, and you'll know what you need to do to improve things to rectify issues. 

It's an analytical approach, which joins the data dots, and can result in building a powerful tool that will help your business manage risk. Be prepared to act on the next unexpected event and you give your customers, partners and employees confidence that you are doing all you can to lessen any future impact.

Ready to transform your supply chain?

As we said earlier, you can't predict the unpredictable but the right technology can certainly help you mitigate the consequences of disruption. Ultimately, this can ensure your supply chain is as stable and efficient as possible. 

Technology, such as supply chain analytics and AI, isn't the only way you can improve your supply chain. 

We've pulled together a list of FREE data sources that you can take advantage of to bring together all the right points of information to build your supply chain risk modelling dashboard. Additionally, we have a complete checklist that covers the different tactics you can adopt to strengthen your supply chain.

From change management to rethinking your sourcing and distribution strategies, discover more tactics in our checklist below.

How to improve your supply chain


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