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Stability, transparency, data, investment: Four supply chain lessons from expert consultants

Just a quick glance at the business pages will show how supply chains are becoming more connected and more brittle. In an age of reliance on the quick, successful flow of goods and materials around the world, how can companies regain at least a modicum of control — or, even better, reimagine their supply chains as new ways to drive value?

Thanks to our presenters at Celosphere 2023, we have some answers. We know process optimization supports more resilient supply chains — so we sat in on three supply-chain-centric sessions with IntegrityNext, Protiviti, and Deloitte to learn how, exactly, businesses are improving their processes in service of supply chain stability.

LESSON #1: Greater sustainability can lead to more stability. 

Celonis partner IntegrityNext emphasized that sustainability isn’t simply an emotional pull or ethical imperative — sustainability measures also help organizations make their supply chains more stable, compliant, and cost-effective. 

Beyond finding opportunities for decarbonization and regulatory conformance, supplier sustainability management tools like IntegrityNext offer trustworthy information on materials sourcing and vendor history, helping businesses see which suppliers are the smart choices. These granular details — like knowing exactly where a vendor’s materials come from, how their workers are paid, what natural resources or infrastructure they depend on, and how ethical their business practices are — can help businesses make informed decisions about who they work with, leading to better management of supply chain risk.

Integrated with Celonis, IntegrityNext can not only provide a much more accurate view of your business’s environmental footprint — it can give you an end-to-end view of your supply chain, so you can weed out bad actors while strengthening ties with trusted, reliable partners, helping you meet your goals for ESG compliance, budget, and resilience all at once.

LESSON #2: Transparency supply chains are resilient supply chains.

Though their Celosphere 2023 sessions were separate, Celonis partners Protiviti and Deloitte focused on a similar theme: building transparency within supply chains.

Protiviti, a global consulting firm, helps clients with supply chain optimization (among other initiatives) using Celonis. The main obstacle most supply chain clients grapple with, according to Protiviti, is murkiness about the inner workings of their processes, whether in lead times, sourcing, planning, distribution, or other functions. By using Celonis to generate a clearer picture of how discrete parts of each supply chain operate — both independently and in relation to one another — Protiviti can then harness process intelligence to help clients zero in on where problems arise. And then take the steps needed to fix issues and find opportunities to create value.

For Deloitte, transparency is also crucial with clients regularly dealing with deviations in logistics processes, leading to empty trucks, supply bottlenecks, and scheduling snafus. Using Celonis’ process intelligence capabilities, Deloitte helps businesses cut through the confusion to see precisely when, where, and why these issues are occurring, and how to resolve them proactively. 

LESSON #3: Get your data to work for you — and share it with partners and vendors.

Data, especially when shared and analyzed holistically across entire supply chains, can help supply chains work more effectively, according to IntegrityNext and Deloitte. Too often, however, useful data goes ignored or underutilized, they also agreed. 

Deloitte’s clients deal with lack of data, poor quality data, and data not used correctly, but the global firm is using Celonis to address all three. Because Celonis can safely work on top of many types of existing software (like SAP), businesses are able to visualize data with a digital twin, then drill down into it for easier analysis across the myriad systems used within the supply chain. Celonis also helps Deloitte take data out of endless spreadsheets, letting more people access, organize, and analyze it. All in service of solving supply chain issues and finding new opportunities.

Data sharing is at the heart of IntegrityNext’s supplier sustainability monitoring. Drawing on data and records from thousands of sources, IntegrityNext has created an ever-evolving hub of supplier information. Businesses can use it in conjunction with Celonis to, for example, prioritize suppliers based on spend, risk or sustainability performance, with Celonis increasing connections over time to create a fuller picture. As more Celonis customers use IntegrityNext, more suppliers are eager to share their data, fostering a growing industry-wide emphasis on quality data, transparency, ethical business practices, and compliance within supply chains.

LESSON #4: Proactive investments in supply chain planning and analysis yield long-term returns.

Investing in measures to help with supply chain planning, proactivity, and optimization builds long-term supply chain resilience, shared Protiviti and Deloitte – even if the initial investment of time, money, and resources seems considerable.

Protiviti said process intelligence is useful for both quick insights and longer-term, more complex use cases. But the team added that users should plan for significant startup time and effort to make it worthwhile. Quick insights and simpler initial Celonis implementations (focusing on a single factory, for example), aided by extensive planning, can then pave the way for larger, lasting organizational change. All 18 master data fields from Protiviti’s first Celonis proof of concept still live in SAP, and are still used to further review other processes. Meanwhile, the management consulting firm has expanded its process optimization practice with new Celonis use cases in procurement, inventory management, logistics, and more.

Proactivity has been a long-time goal for Deloitte. Otherwise, said the Deloitte team, companies spend too much time firefighting. Though there can be obstacles to implementing software like Celonis — such as cost, internal resistance, or complex tech stacks — the returns in efficiency, clarity, and foresight make it worthwhile for most organizations. Celonis has helped with better forecasting, smarter lead time planning, earlier alerts for issues, and better communication with suppliers, all of which save Deloitte’s clients time and money while giving a decisive competitive advantage.

Supply chains can be brought under control – the question is how exactly you’ll do it. Process intelligence may well just be a great place to start.

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Kelly Fritz
Senior Content Creator

Kelly Fritz is a Senior Content Creator at Celonis. When not writing, she spends way too much time searching for vintage dresses, underpriced houseplants on Facebook Marketplace, and ever-faster bike routes between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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