How networked ecosystem solutions can provide enhanced visibility in your supply chain

Today’s organizations must be able to see far beyond their four walls – not just into the availability of finished products or work in progress from their suppliers, but into the supply chains of their suppliers’ suppliers. Only then can businesses:

  • Clearly comprehend order flow
  • Realize what is in the overall supply chain at a given moment 
  • Better understand their risk

Digitally networked operations bring those vital capabilities to life to enable informed, real-time decisions. 

We recently asked Sean Harapko, Principal, EY Americas Supply Chain, our most pressing questions about the imperative for supply chain transformation. Here’s what he had to say:

Sean Harapko

Sean Harapko
Principal, EY Americas Supply Chain

 Insight 1

What do we mean by the term “networked ecosystem”?

Harapko: According to EY research, companies are moving from a linear supply chain to a networked ecosystem.

 Insight 2

What if you own a large part of a vertical?

Harapko: Even if you own a large part of a vertical, you are still going to have customers and suppliers, and you are going to need real-time transparency to make sure you can provide customers what they need at the right price at the right time and manage risk. 

 Insight 3

There are a lot of pieces. How does one keep them moving forward?

Harapko: When we think about today’s supply network ecosystems, they do not need to be linear where products and information flow just one way.  

 Insight 4

Why should companies move toward the network ecosystem model for supply chains? 

Harapko: They have no choice, and the data show it. The two biggest areas of impact during the COVID-19 pandemic were demand forecasts and supply constraints.

 Insight 5

What do these supply constraints involve? 

Harapko: The supply constraints involve both the distribution of your supply and your actual supply. For example, in the energy industry we saw the effect of the extreme weather in Texas this winter, as well as recent events in the Suez Canal.

 Insight 6

What do we mean by supply chain resilience?

Harapko: In the supply chain, it means companies can get items to their customers when they need them. It also means agility.


 Insight 7

What are the pitfalls that organizations should be wary of as they make the transition to a fully networked digital ecosystem? 

Harapko: Organizations need to think through their core competency. They should ask themselves questions such as: do I have a brand that people are going to buy?


 Insight 8

What are the prospects for adoption rates of the digitally networked supply chain? 

Harapko: We have a perfect storm happening. There is recognition at the board level that the supply chain is a key part of a company’s strategy.


 Insight 9

What trends/results can we expect to see in the short, mid and long term as networked ecosystems take hold?

Harapko: We expect companies will look at their internal performance metrics, determine how to get the control tower to know what is going on, then move to a digital twin, then move to autonomous.


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