Strategy

COVID-19’s Lessons for Supply Chain Management

Jesse Lee 1 year ago

This article first appeared in Medium.

With so much attention and emphasis on COVID-19’s impact, past and present, one wonders what the future will hold, in terms of how it relates to our fields of expertise.  Here at Brooklyn Vendor Assurance, we focus on vendor management, which in our view covers a wide array of disciplines: contracts, risk, performance, relationship, policy, and regulatory compliance.

We are members of the International Association of Commercial Contract Managers (IACCM) and were happy to see some published research today on exactly this: future ways of working, at least as pertains to contract management.

Preceding this report, IACCM published a Benchmark study on COVID-19 impact and found that customers of first-generation contract management tools “are frequently not satisfied and in many cases have achieved very little deployment.”  It cites adoption-blocking challenges such as “weak data flows” and the fact that “[m]any systems were not fit for purpose… A combination of poor understanding of requirements and limitations in software capabilities meant that many systems simply did not have the functionality needed for the contracting process.”

This is a natural result of a fist-generation market responding to first-generation demand.  And again IACCM research, corroborating our own, reflects exactly what that demand was: “The most common implementation is a contract repository – and after that, all other functionalities show a marked decline.”  (IACCM Benchmark Report: 2019).

Indeed, this wide gap in vision and functionality is partly what inspired us to bring BrooklynVA forward, as the only purpose-built solution, and a next-generation solution, designed from the ground up for true vendor management and supply chain resilience.  It takes much more than a contract repository to accomplish those business goals – in fact, the best place to be is on a platform purpose-built to tackle the challenges and automate work, in an integrated fashion.

And what does that work look like, as we learn COVID-19’s lessons for supply chain managers?  IACCM takes an early position on this, in today’s report: “Business Impact of Coronavirus: Emergence.”  As captured in this one graphic, the advice, and emerging demand is now for that more integrated approach, with meaningful collaboration, transparency, digitisation, and with shared risk management workflows.

IACCM, Business Impact of Coronavirus: Emergence: 2020 (www.iaccm.com)
IACCM, Business Impact of Coronavirus: Emergence: 2020 (www.iaccm.com)

[m]any systems were not fit for purpose… A combination of poor understanding of requirements and limitations in software capabilities meant that many systems simply did not have the functionality needed for the contracting process.

IACCM Benchmark Report: 2019 (www.iaccm.com)

This research and advice is gratifying to see, since it more closely reflects the Brooklyn product and platform vision, and it more completely aligns to best-practice advice of industry leaders and analysts over the last few years.

One does not actually accomplish such a transformation, absent a strong leadership aligned to driving business value – and in Procurement case, that means accelerating the business and IT roadmap of the enterprise with every decision they make and action they take.

Hopefully a lasting lesson learned for those in our field, as the world emerges from COVID-19 initial lockdown and shock, will be that driving the best value from a contract entails the best holistic management of the contract, risk, performance, and relationship in play.  It is a holistic mindset, ideally assisted by technology of the right resilience and design.

We think we have something interesting and at hand, ready to meet that challenge.  Interested in learning more? Please get in touch to find out more.

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