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How to deal with inflation: Think digital tech


After looking at some of the most common ways in which inflation impacts businesses, the big question now is what to do about it? In the not-so-distant past, stand-alone business technologies lived in siloes and hoarded data. Business leaders became frustrated because even with the best of intentions, the right hand often had no idea what the left hand was doing. 


But today, the essence of digital business systems is integration. Data from disparate departments informs real-time actions and reporting. People and machines across a global supply chain share intel as and when it happens. Information from every corner of the business and world is centralized, secured, and accessed from anywhere – leading to greater agility and faster, more confident decision-making .


Here are some ways that digital tech can help your business during inflation:


Spend more strategically

When procurement teams can quickly and easily produce variety of spending reports and profiles, it helps them make informed decisions. The ability to customize data analysis and leverage predictive analytics further adds to accuracy and an enhanced ability to peek around corners. This extra layer of confidence and insight can help businesses to make enterprise investments and take advantage of the lower cost of debt (during inflation). It can also help to inform helpful and innovative cost-saving measures, without compromising standards.


Forecast optimum liquidity levels

Roman olive oil supply chains go back almost 2,000 years and records still exist of those early supply chain managers tearing their hair out, trying to manage inventories and predict supply and demand. Fortunately, modern supply chain planning solutions can help to centralize and integrate inventory forecasting, and materials requirement planning (with DDMRP). By accessing and analyzing data from across the business, these solutions can help you more accurately hedge the value held in both your inventory and your raw materials. And inventory financing software can further protect you by allowing you to speculate on future purchases at today’s rates – in anticipation of an inflation rate that will exceed the cost of that debt.


Diversify your sourcing

Even before the lessons taught by COVID, it was no secret that it was unwise for companies to put all their eggs in one basket where their suppliers were concerned. Yet if businesses knew the risks, why has there been so much inertia around supplier diversification? The answer is primarily due to the hassle and risk of finding and onboarding new vendors and service providers. What companies are looking for today are software systems that can help them source and vet new suppliers, integrate their processes and applications, and manage all their interactions on a single, unified platform.


Optimize your manufacturing

Today’s best businesses already have formidable sustainability goals and targets in place. And with the rise of inflation, there is no better time to for companies to minimize waste and energy usage. Fortunately, smart manufacturing technologies are literally built for this kind of thing. For example: Industrial IoT networks can not only save on maintenance costs by predicting maintenance and service, they can also integrate with ERPs and smart systems to recommend more ergonomic and power-saving workflows. And with integrated business systems, manufacturers can take their cost-saving measures literally back to the drawing board. With analytics and simulations, designers can reimagine new and existing products that keep the quality yet cut back on the amount and cost of raw materials used in manufacturing.


Streamline your supply chain operations

The combined necessity and complexity of a global supply chain makes it a uniquely vulnerable component in your business. If managed with strategy and care, your supply chain can bolster you up and over your competition. Yet if allowed to become siloed and inefficient – especially during economic disruption – it can drag you down like a bag of rocks. It’s therefore no surprise that some of the most powerful modern software solutions have to do with supply chain optimization and efficiency, including:

  • Supply chain control towers that give real-time visibility across the business, on a unified, cloud-based platform
  • Integrated business planning tools to centralize and optimize activities ranging from sales and operations (S&OP) to response and supply planning
  • AI-powered simulations and digital twins that help test new supply chain processes and push virtual assets to their limits, without the costly risk of physical damage

Tighten up your payables and receivables

During inflation, businesses don’t want to leave their payables sitting around any longer than they have to. Furthermore, in times of instability, businesses want to minimize the risk of large amounts of outstanding receivables. Traditional finance processes are complex and slow – taking weeks (or months) to settle accounts. When the economy is a bit wobbly, businesses need financial management solutions that can deliver customized, real-time reports, and make cash available sooner, before inflation reduces its value.


Optimize your workforce and business processes

When it’s time to tighten belts, digital solutions can help you boost productivity and efficiency. On the factory floor or in the back office, smart cloud technologies help to automate both physical and administrative tasks. This benefits your teams by reducing their load of error-prone and repetitive tasks. It frees them up to work on more value-added tasks. And connected technologies also help you get a bird’s eye view of both your workforce and your business processes, showing you where bottlenecks and problems are, and what to do to reduce them.

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