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May 19, 2020

Reliable Supply Chain Data Hard to Come By

George Leopold

via Shutterstock

The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains, and one consequence is a growing lack of reliable data about suppliers that costs businesses plenty since the novel coronavirus emerged.

A research report released this week by supplier intelligence vendor Tealbook finds “dwindling confidence” in supplier data resulting in significant financial losses, a situation the majority of survey respondents expect to become worse before improving.

A majority of business executives polled said they don’t trust supply chain data, doubting that supplier portals are updated. Of those, 51 percent report that outdated and incomplete procurement data results in everything from missed production deadlines, unhappy clients and a hit to their bottom lines. Hence, companies surveyed by Tealbook said they spend an average of 21 days validating and bringing suppliers onboard.

“Trusted supplier information is the most critical asset a procurement organization can possess, [influencing] billions of dollars of business decisions, and without it, organizations lose the ability to be agile when supply chains become overrun,” said Matt Palackdharry, Tealbook’s vice president of sales and commercial strategy.

As supply chains are reconfigured by the pandemic, the company argues that trusted supplier information will only grow in importance. “The whole world is feeling the effects of COVID-19, and geopolitical issues will force us to rethink regional economic structures,” Palackdharry added.

The need to link industry sectors like manufacturing with dependable sources of materials is growing as some sectors are attempting to re-shore production. That requirement as fueled the rise of digital manufacturing services vendors who help transform those materials into products.

Indeed, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on a range of industries hurt by supply chain disruptions. For example, sourcing intelligence platform vendor Supplyframe recently reported 53 percent of electronics product launches have been delayed due to supply chain disruptions associated with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the lack of timely, complete supplier data is forcing companies to look elsewhere for reliable information. Sixty-three percent of procurement managers polled said they were forced to rely on search engines while an equal number were forced to gather data at industry conferences. On average, 60 percent of respondents said it took up to four days to straighten out supplier data.

Tealbook, which helps companies fix enterprise supplier data, said it commissioned the supplier information conducted by Wakefield Research of about 250 procurement and sourcing executives.

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