Thought Leadership

The challenges and blurring of supply chain management and supply chain risk

By Blake Snodgrass

Growing risks and requirements are ever-increasing, interrupting the interchanges of logistics processes and applying more strain on supply structures. These factors are causing customers to demand more, needing shorter lead times and production cycles requiring greater transparency, efficiency, and flexibility. Therefore, logistics ensures reliability and on-time delivery, confirming accurate delivery dates.

Also, a resilient supply chain requires protection against attacks and threats because a complex network of worldwide supplier relationships that collaborates processes and logistics can have disruptions. Supply chains can be affected by many factors; however, intelligent IT solutions can effectively boost the resilience of supply chains. 

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It is essential to digitalize the process to unleash the power of these solutions. The data stream flows into digital applications and functions, automatically performing bundling, analyzing, and evaluating information to ensure end-to-end supply chain visibility. This smart technology reaps early-warning systems with seismographic precision providing virtual planning tools that make impactful decisions and management and monitoring tools that give orientation. Subsequently, you have a supply chain that is more resilient and robust to cope with unpredictable events. 

The most significant supply chain risks, according to the risk management platform Resilience360 in 2018, were:

  • Trade flow uncertainty
  • Cybersecurity incidents
  • Climate change/extreme weather events

In 2019, the report predicted further uncertainties relating to raw material shortages, recalls, safety risks, and stricter environmental regulations. Also included are essential commodities such as lithium, cobalt, and adiponitrile. However, the analysts were unable to predict the pandemic or its impact.

Essentially global threat scenarios for the supply chain require a constant, permanent crisis team. So, industries and commerce of tomorrow want to know solutions, not problems, to the supply chain management, knowing when you can get delivery and whether the goods will find their way. Therefore, logistics service providers must provide information and flexibility that offers customers answers to supply end-to-end chain visibility, which has also become a political talking point via the Supply Chain Act.

The digital revolution is overturning conventional business models of industries, including logistics. For example: 

  • When something can be 3D printed, why ship it? 
  • When machines can make production materials, there is no need to order more.
  • When a shipment automatically shares real-time delivery status, it’s no longer necessary to estimate arrival times.

In the modern world, paper is a remnant of the analog era. 

Learn more in the Supply Chain Resilience white paper.

Siemens Xcelerator, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software, helps companies of all sizes create and leverage a comprehensive digital twin that provides organizations with new insights, opportunities and levels of automation to drive innovation.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at