How Will You Weather the Next Storm? Build a Stronger Supply Chain

Posted: 10/20/2021 - 09:00
How Will You Weather the Next Storm? Build a Stronger Supply Chain

How Will You Weather the Next Storm? Build a Stronger Supply Chain

In the world of procurement, there is always another crisis right around the corner. Time and time again, the industry has been rattled by various disruptions and forced to reconsider how we will weather the storm better than we have had in the past.

Unfortunately, the latest disruptions prove that companies still have not taken the necessary steps to protect themselves from the harrowing impacts of crises like loss of revenue, negative effects on consumers and more. So how are procurement professionals supposed to build stronger, more resilient supply chains that are agile enough to withstand these unfortunate events?

Examine the Past

Crisis can strike at any time, often causing a number of devastating results. Unfortunately, when it comes to better preparation, the age-old adage “history repeats itself” definitely applies. One of the best ways procurement leaders can learn from past mistakes is to be fully aware of what they’re up against.

Natural Disasters

The last decade alone has presented its fair share of natural disasters that have caused major supply chain disruptions. Earthquakes have resulted in a loss of power to millions and an abrupt pause in vehicle manufacturing. Hurricanes and typhoons across the world have inflicted damage to transportation hubs and caused fuel shortages, while agricultural losses have affected local, national and international product supply chains.

Man-Made Crises

In 2015, the Port of Tianjin in China faced multiple explosions and uncontrollable fires as a result of a lack of proper safety protocols — thousands of vehicles meant for sale were destroyed and several buildings were compromised. In 2016, the new Brexit  ruling caused a number of employment, trading and travel regulations to be upended, resulting in a stunt of the U.K.’s economic growth.


It goes without saying that COVID-19 is the largest shock the supply chain industry has ever seen, and it’s still not over. With unprecedented disruptions and a highly increased demand for supplies, in less than two years, this crisis has caused supply chains all over the world to come to a grinding halt and cost the industry an estimated $28 trillion in lost revenue.

Using Data to Protect Against Disruptions

Without plans in place — and the capability to properly execute those plans — organizations will face the same disruptions again. While procurement leaders can’t prevent a crisis from happening, they can create a contingency plan that allows them to weather the storm without experiencing major disruptions. Formulating this plan begins, first and foremost, with good supplier data.

Think about it: Supply chains experience disruptions when the supplier that was intended to provide a good or service is unable to do so. If you have strong supplier data at your disposal, you can develop a plan to replace that supplier quickly before a major disruption occurs.

The problem is, very few organizations have that strong supplier data in the first place. In fact, 72% of procurement leaders are concerned that their supplier intel has not improved since the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them vulnerable and unable to remain agile. The ironic thing is that 96% of that same group agrees that agility is more important than cost savings.

Improving Data Management

To improve supplier data, procurement teams need to first examine how they’re aggregating and managing data. Too often, they use manual methods — such as web searches and spreadsheets — to keep track of information, but this leaves data siloed and teams unable to quickly find alternative and diverse suppliers.

To improve agility and resilience, organizations need to invest in technology that automatically harvests, analyzes and improves supplier data. This digitization allows for better flexibility so they can easily find the suppliers necessary to maintain a strong supply chain.

Building Supplier Diversity Programs

When planning for crises, a good contingency plan will always include alternative suppliers, routes and production models. No matter how many or few suppliers your organization works with, there is always room for diversification to allow for better responses to any disruption.

Planning to use alternative suppliers is one thing — finding them is another. Using an automated, digital system for supplier discovery can assist procurement teams in finding diverse, alternative suppliers in a fraction of the time compared to manual methods.

Strong Data is the Key to Weathering the Storm

In the procurement world, it’s not a matter of if there will be the next crisis, it’s a matter of when it will strike. By learning from past mistakes and improving access to quality supplier data, your organization will be able to  handle the crisis with agility and flexibility and stand strong against disruption.


About The Author

Stephany Lapierre's picture

Stephany Lapierre is the Founder and CEO of Tealbook. Her mission is to deliver a "Trusted Source of Supplier Data" to an ever-growing eProcurement space. Prior to Tealbook, Stephany spent 10 years building a successful strategic sourcing and procurement consulting firm focusing on large-scale sourcing optimization projects.

Given her experience and visibility into the data issues crippling procurement, she built an impressive technology, data team and launched Tealbook. It is the only Big Data company that provides a self-enriching and self-maintaining mechanism that connects to all procurement software critical to the success of a digital procurement transformation.

Tealbook has been adopted by Fortune 100 companies across multiple sectors and has won prestigious awards including Spend Matter 50 Vendors to Watch, Gartner’s Cool Vendor, CIX Most Innovative Company and Most Upside Potential by C100.

Stephany is a highly coveted supply chain thought leader, and one of the most influential minds in emerging data technologies. She has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Supply Chain, and featured as an industry leader by Forbes, BetaKit, Globe and Mail, Supply Chain Professionals, and IT World. She has received numerous awards as a female tech founder for her innovative approach to using Big Data and AI to improve supplier data. Stephany has attracted Tier 1 investors such as Workday Ventures, BDC Capital, Refinery Ventures, Grand Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.