Between supply chain challenges, global tensions, and surging inflation, companies from retail, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and more faced a volatile landscape in 2022. It’s an uncertain and highly competitive environment — one that continues to favor organizations focused on building resilience and creating efficiencies.
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Table of contents:
- Top 3 Supply Chain Challenges in 2023
- Supply Chain + High-Performance Low-Code
- OutSystems to Support Fast-Paced Supply and Demand
From demand planning, sourcing, and warehousing to transportation and asset management, supply chain management has grown increasingly complex. Yet companies are trying to respond to this complexity with the equivalent of gum and duct tape, and many are falling short.
As we look ahead to a new year, let’s examine some of the top supply chain challenges companies need to overcome in 2023 and look toward leading performers who are evolving their systems to successfully meet the moment.
Top 3 Supply Chain Challenges in 2023
Supply chain and logistics firms are no strangers to solving difficult problems. But the challenges of this economy are even more exceptional. Consider these three common problems:
- Reliance on legacy applications
In a highly volatile era of supply and demand, modernizing your underlying supply chain is crucial to maintaining competitiveness. Yet, 43% of small organizations don’t use any inventory tracking software, and over 67% of supply chain management is still done manually with Excel spreadsheets and the like, according to ProcurementTactics.com. Legacy applications built on dated systems are not designed to function with the ease or speed required in today’s digitally transformed world.
- Lack of full visibility across the supply chain
If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that situations can change rapidly. Ensuring an accurate view of the entire value chain demands an interconnected set of systems tailored to each business's unique needs. But it’s not uncommon for supply chains to become disconnected when they’re built on a set of uncoordinated legacy solutions. As such, IT landscapes are evolving to focus on end-to-end (E2E) integrated solutions rather than point solutions to avoid supply chain disruptions.
- Inability to respond to increasing volumes
Consumers are buying more online across an expanding slate of sales channels, which is why more than 80 percent of companies have implemented dual-sourcing strategies to keep up. The trouble is that organizations are dealing with higher inventory carrying costs and overburdened transaction systems ill-prepared to handle those increasing volumes. Increasing E2E supply chain resilience in the coming year involves being better prepared to deal with greater volumes across sourcing, production, inventories, and final delivery.
How can you gain end-to-end visibility across your supply chain and better prepare to deal with whatever comes next? Break free from that legacy anchor holding you underwater.
Supply Chain + High-Performance Low-Code
Let’s take a look at four key supply chain processes, and how companies are leveraging a high-performance, low-code platform to achieve efficiency and profitability goals.
- Creating a legacy-free future depends on developing brand-new or extending existing order management systems that aren’t constrained by the limitations of dated software or rigid, off-the-shelf solutions. Van Iperen, a global supplier of specialty fertilizers, did this by refreshing a self-service mobile app for orders and delivery tracking that allows for faster and more innovative development of new digital services. With low-code, the team can release updates and new features in a matter of days, which has been a huge boon to its business. In the first three months of 2020, the company processed more orders through its new app than in all of 2019.
- Logistics involves ensuring the right products are on hand where and when customers need them — without overstocking or incurring big inventory carrying costs. That’s why it is so important to be able to respond and pivot quickly when buying patterns change. Burton, a snowboard retailer, needed to revamp the way it moved goods through its sales channels in response to shifting purchasing patterns and shrinking margins. To do this, a team of two developers used low-code to develop an app to connect all sales points with Burton’s back-end systems in less than 8 months. The new app generated a ten-fold revenue increase and took one-third the time to develop compared to a conventionally-coded app.
- Track and trace visibility is a must for a modern supply chain company. Hermes, a fast-growing parcel operator in Europe, was struggling with track and trace visibility when its parcels crossed borders. To solve this, the company needed its international freight system to integrate with its European delivery system. But they didn’t have months to wait for a solution. Leveraging low-code’s component reusability and pre-build connectors, Hermes’ existing development team built a minimum viable product in just eight days and created a customized supply chain solution that tracks 20 million daily cross-border shipments in two months.
- Inventory management is known for its colossal logistics processes that involve continuous scanning, measurement, and product orders — all repetitive processes that can benefit from automation with an internal portal or app. Intratuin, one of the largest garden centers in Europe with more than 80,000 products and 65 franchise stores, needed to streamline their logistics processes by integrating all systems (including their barcode scanners) into a single application. With two developers using high-performance low-code, the company launched its new app in far less time than expected and replaced repetitive ordering steps with automation.
OutSystems to Support Fast-Paced Supply and Demand
A high-performance, low-code platform like OutSystems can help you rapidly modernize your management systems across logistics, orders, inventories, tracking, and e-commerce — all without adding disjointed point solutions or extra development resources. Without a legacy anchor holding you back, your development team – small or large, juniors or superstars — can build apps that decisively add volume preparedness, resiliency, and end-to-end visibility.
The breadth of OutSystems Supply Chain customers — who have revolutionized their underlying systems — make the case for high-performance low-code. In addition to the examples above, you can also check out what leading companies, like Estafeta or Container Centralen, are doing with OutSystems to solve lingering challenges in Order Management such as:
- the rise of omnichannel and the proliferation of new sales channels,
- countering system rigidity to innovate and comply with customer expectations, and
- breaking free from manual processes and automating order fulfillment.
Visit the OutSystems Supply Chain webpage to learn how you can solve your unique supply chain challenges with high-performance low-code solutions.