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Supply chain: flexible chains through more transparency and better cooperation

More cooperation and more transparency. This is what companies should invest in to strengthen their supply chains. ‘You are as strong as your weakest link in the value chain’, says Mathieu Rosier, supply chain expert at PwC.  ‘Parties will share more data and I expect that there will be more partnerships.’

Rosier: ‘Because of the crisis, links in supply chains have started to cooperate better. This has accelerated the digital transformation. We have seen the arrival of many superb tools, which allow to companies to get insight into the strong and weak spots in their value chain faster. I hope that we will continue this acceleration’.

We should not expect the Netherlands to be ‘on’ again, and demand immediately returning to the pre-coronal level. This will differ per sector and all sectors will have their own challenges. Rosier: ‘It is important to find out where your risks were when the Covid-19 crisis broke out. Where was I vulnerable? What did I learn from this and which measures am I going to take to prevent problems in the future? Consider your entire value chain: you suppliers also have their suppliers and it is important to make this transparent. Map your contracts. What outstanding commitments do I have? What am I obliged to purchase? In this way, you will make your company flexible. You improve its versatility and you will be able to respond more promptly to fluctuations in demand and align sales, production and procurement internally more quickly.’

Data are essential to increase your knowledge about the supply chain. ‘Recent PwC research shows that those who invest in data analysis will be able to deal with market fluctuations more easily. Performing data analysis adequately requires the right people. So, you will have to upskill your employees digitally’.’

From a lack of insight into the risks within the entire chain…

  • Insight into the strength and weaknesses of supply chains at different levels is often lacking, just like adequate knowledge about outstanding commitments. Businesses are often unable to obtain or analyse  the required data.
  • Customers and suppliers work jointly in supply chains. Knowledge about each other is insufficient and data exchange is lacking or incomplete.
  • The benefits of a good cooperation, such as solving problems efficiently, are not obvious and remain unexploited. more flexibility and transparency based on data

  • ·Investing in flexibility and transparency will increase insight into the condition of the chain and its dependencies. Investments in data analysis (-related skills) will enable this.
  • The importance of cooperation and exchanging information in supply chains has grown. Knowledge exchange and better agreements increase the ability to anticipate changes.
  • The challenging task of holding on to the momentum: jointly addressing problems speeds up the digital transformation with a greater deal of insight into business processes.
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Mathieu Rosier

Mathieu Rosier

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 75 41