As companies grow and respond to changing market conditions, organizational functions can become siloed and create inefficiencies that do not meet customer needs. However, companies can become “intelligent, future ready” with a connected supply chain and strong connective tissue.

Companies across industries face disruption at every turn:

  • Technology is accelerating product lifecycles, business operations and customer interactions.
  • Changing consumer expectations.
  • Global disruption across supply chains.

Business leaders expect teams to respond quickly to market pressures. Siloed operations cause businesses to churn, which reduces productivity and has a rippling effect across the entire value chain.

The lack of engineering and supply chain integration causes numerous value chain failures, including:

  • Poor market planning due to improper product mix, poor customer segmentation, market mistiming, or a supply imbalance.
  • Disjointed processes and data among teams create clashes at key integration points and lead to repetitive processes and trade-offs among feasibility, time to market, and customer experience.
  • Siloed design libraries and product data creation result in poor traceability, redundancy, and low design re-use.
  • Late changes in the design/engineering process without downstream supply chain collaboration leads to delayed GTM and customer timelines.
  • Early lifecycle inventory constraints result in highly manual efforts to balance supply, manage orders, prioritize customers, and allocate inventory. Late lifecycle excess inventory results in similar planning efforts to manage burn-thru campaigns and inventory pull-backs.
  • Lack of collaboration between procurement & engineering diminishes innovative design and weakens the value chain.

Become “intelligent, future ready” by extending supply chain collaboration, planning upstream into engineering and R&D functions, and involve supplier networks earlier in upstream design and engineering processes. In other words, “shifting left” and building end-to-end connectivity and a digital thread will drive improved value chain outcomes and agility. Cross-functional visibility across R&D, design, engineering, and supply chain activities creates a functional interlock that drives competitive advantage.

A connected supply chain with strong connective tissue creates a streamlined end-to-end customer focused process across product development and engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, and after-sales.

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Building your connective tissue requires cross-functional interlocks

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Connected business tissue creates a market advantage and efficiently outpaces the competition, increases customer value and reduces costs—while remaining agile in the face of uncertainty. 

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Building connective tissue requires companies to embrace four themes:

  1. Modular building blocks
    Adopt a module product design structure to minimize the need for custom designs. Leveraging pre-defined product configuration options simplifies SC planning, reduces inventory costs, and reduces E&O.
  1. Cross-functional interlock
    Implement cross functional product development teams to ensure early insights to design benefits and challenges. Reducing or solving for unknowns and constraints early in the design process will ensure adequate materials and reduce time to market.
  1. Digital thread and digital twins
    Digitally interconnected capabilities and processes enable connected product data across the value chain. Improved traceability and improvements to cost, quality, speed to market, and reduced time to implement design changes.
  1. Cross functional analytics
    Create a connected ecosystem of data, technology, tools, people, and processes to produce insights that solve business problems. Improve business performance by unlocking predictive insights and automation, improving performance, and enabling informed decision making.

Creating a connected tissue to drive value

Supply chains are feeling the impact of unprecedented global disruption, testing their abilities to function efficiently and timely. Connective tissue bridges the gap and drives real outcomes.

Sales, product & portfolio management

Eliminate products with little regard to how they are built. Create configurable products with modularized features supporting sales process and telemetry data-driven requirements analysis.

Design systems engineering

Put an end to siloed teams with disconnected processes and limited data search capabilities. Create model-based systems engineering in multi-disciplinary teams connected on a single product development platform.

Supply chain planning

Avoid late involvement, manual processes, and outdated data that cause delays and uncertainty. Create connected data and seamless supplier collaboration that drive supply chain visibility and agility.

Sourcing procurement & inventory

Remove part and supplier proliferation and long inventory lead times. Create engineering and sourcing integration that drive component reuse, volume aggregation, and reduced inventory levels.

Manufacturing & quality

Eliminate disconnected data, processes, and partners that limit efficiency and agility. Create connected manufacturing partners and data-enabling accelerated site qualifications and streamline manufacturing processes.

Delivery & installation

Reduce the lack of standardized components that drive assembly and installation complexity. Create modular product structures.

Installed base, product in-use experience

Eliminate limited flexibility for customer-specific experiences or continuous engagement. Create securely connected products for continuous performance tracking and closed-loop design feedback.

After-sales & service

Abolish operations that are decentralized, reactive, and disconnected from the rest of the enterprise. Create telemetry-data-driven product monitoring enabling predictive maintenance and value-add services.

If your company is looking to create a market advantage, efficiently outpace the competition, increase customer value, and reduce costs, follow the steps above to fortify your connected supply chain.


Copyright © 2021 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture and its logo are trademarks of Accenture.

This document is produced by consultants at Accenture as general guidance. It is not intended to provide specific advice on your circumstances. If you require advice or further details on any matters referred to, please contact your Accenture representative.

Suresh Veeraraghavan

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Supply Chain & Operations, North America Resilience Lead (West Coast)

Horst Groesser

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting

Steve Roberts

Managing Director – Industry X, North America West Lead

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