Building a digitally anti-fragile supply chain to deal with disruptions


The Coronavirus pandemic is causing labour shortages, travel restrictions, and significant disruption to businesses and global supply chains. But even if we manage to bring Coronavirus under control, living in a globalised world means that the next disruption is always just around the corner.

Astrata, a provider of enterprise management software and advanced location-based IT services (telematics), suggests that developing a digitally anti-fragile system may be the solution when it comes to tackling future supply chain disruptions.

The Coronavirus outbreak is causing a number of challenges to companies and public services, including:

  • Supply chain bottlenecks
  • Explosive increase in demand for specific goods and deliveries
  • Problems with tracking the location of vehicles and assets
  • Lack of visibility of movements and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)
  • Difficulty with viewing data in a single front-end application

Even in “normal” times supply chains aren’t completely resilient to sudden shocks and supply shortages. Businesses are often unaware of what’s happening across their supply chain beyond the first tier, so they don’t know where threats to production capacity exist. This makes it almost impossible to proactively manage a situation like the Coronavirus outbreak. When disruptions occur, many companies are unable to identify and connect with alternative suppliers, resulting in a tangible impact on production. Making manual changes to orders or shifting suppliers is a lengthy and complex process and, in times of stress, is a luxury few companies have.

That is why essential services need to develop digitally anti-fragile supply chains that aren’t just strong, but also flexible enough to ensure they continue working regardless of disruptions. But, most crucially, digitally anti-fragile supply chains don’t just survive disruptions, they improve because of it. Because all parties can benefit from increased access to data, they will also benefit from having transparency of what’s happening across the supply chain. Decision makers can spot single points of failure and make informed choices about how to manage any disruption. And the enhanced ability to collaborate with sellers and other parties in the supply chain ecosystem means that these decisions can be implemented quicker, which is critical at times of stress.

This is particularly important for governments and essential public service providers, supply chain providers and online retailers. In a crisis, when movement is restricted and evidence of health and safety is required, the ability to ensure safe passage for drivers and staff is vital. Automation can help to alleviate bottlenecks and provide visibility across fleets and goods.

Astrata’s solutions offer a single view and single point of processing; visibility of Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and capabilities to communicate in a secure environment, assign and re-assign stock and people; data display in one web-cloud interface; flexible workflows and a straightforward transportation management system, with ePOD (electronic proof of delivery), vehicle, staff, maintenance and incident management; and monitoring and geofencing of routes, ensuring safety and driving behaviour. Additionally, our powerful business intelligence and analytics can provide crucial insights and executive overview of the most different KPIs, which can be fully customisable. 

Abdallah Harati, Senior VP Sales & Marketing at Astrata, said: “Our software can be deployed very quickly, with our team ready to go on the ground. Users only need to download our app, so that insight into the locations and status of staff, load and vehicles can be obtained very easily. In addition, we can quickly link their own vehicle systems to our platform.”

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