You could argue that there’s something unseemly about attempts to find a silver lining in a cloud of disaster. And events of the past three years certainly merit that word. But, being human, we strive to make the best of a bad situation, and such efforts often yield positive results that might otherwise have never been realized.
That’s certainly the case with global supply chains, which were forced to adjust in radical ways when COVID-19 shut down the world in early 2020. What followed was a seemingly endless cascade of disruption, congestion and interruptions in supply and demand. Those that survived the ordeal bounced back with a keener understanding of the risks that lurk ahead, and are (one hopes) taking steps now to bolster their supply chains against future calamities, whatever form they might take.
It’s no surprise, then, when misfortune serves as a catalyst for innovation. Or that this year’s submissions to the Supply Chain Innovation Award would be especially rich. Now in its 17th year, presented by SupplyChainBrain and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, the award recognizes creative accomplishments in all stages of the supply chain, from planning to sourcing, procurement, manufacturing, distribution and delivery. We’ve honored companies from healthcare, consumer goods, retail, high-tech, logistics and consulting, to name a few, whose unifying characteristic was a commitment to continuous innovation.
The case studies under consideration this year were as varied as they were compelling. The winner was Holcim, a provider of sustainable building materials. Its submission, appropriately titled “Crisis as Innovation Catalyst,” described the digital transformation journey of Holcim’s Transport Analytics Center. It related how the company used data-driven business intelligence to increase road safety, efficiency, profitability and sustainability, as it pursues the goal of becoming a net-zero emissions enterprise.
Other finalists in the 2022 SCIA competition were:
Roambee, a provider of supply chain visibility tools, which deployed smart sensor technology to transform and super-charge rail transportation on behalf of a British multinational chemical company.
Kimberly-Clark Corp., whose EARL (Early Tendering and Leveling) program optimized the movement of thousands of truckloads of product from its mills to distribution centers.
Invent Analytics, which helped FLO, a major European footwear retailer, to meet the ever-increasing demands of an omnichannel supply chain network, resulting in a marked reduction in lost sales.
American Eagle Outfitters, which reinvented its complex retail supply chain with an open and collaborative platform that turned a corporate cost center into a profit center.
Everstream Analytics, which helped a multinational life sciences company acquire visibility into its entire supplier network, and assess both current and future risk, through the use of predictive analytics.
SupplyChainBrain congratulates all of the finalists in this year’s SCIA competition. We trust that you’ll draw some profound lessons from their experiences, and be inspired to create supply chains that are more agile and resilient in times of unprecedented volatility. And don’t forget to trumpet your own accomplishments, by entering next year’s Supply Chain Innovation Award competition. We can’t wait to hear from you.