It’s a little over three years since a global pandemic tipped supply chains into turmoil. From lockdowns to bullwhips, spiraling inflation to a cost-of-living crisis disruption has been coming in waves, leaving many of us wondering what fresh challenges might be around the corner. 

On June 1st 2023, experts from Quyntess and our partners Tradeshift joined special guests from AdyenProject44, and TransExecutive in Rotterdam to discuss the vital role that technology will play in helping businesses embed resilience and agility into their supply chains. 

SCI Guest Speakers

“Traditionally, supply chains have been built on the premise of stability,” said Rob van Ipenburg, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Quyntess. “What we are seeing now is a far bigger emphasis on embracing change and factoring this into their strategic planning. By 2024, the mantra for new SaaS will be 'composable API-first and API-only'. Although composable thinking is great and we get it by offering our SCM apps with bi-directional API-based integrations with TradeshiftAdyen and project44. But how do THEY get this? 70% of the business case is contingent on adoption and change management, regardless of the chosen architecture and technology."

SCI Rob van Ipenburg

Tradeshift’s latest Index of Global Trade Health suggests supply chains are still feeling the impact of a pandemic-induced bullwhip cycle. And while the current wave of disruption might be dissipating, normal remains a pretty broad spectrum for businesses attempting to find their footing. 

“Building resilience means looking at supply chains as a whole,” said Stephen Cleminson, Regional Director of Alliances, Tradeshift. “We’ve seen pressure mounting on both the buyer and the supplier side of the supply chain. CEOs and CFOs are recognizing the need to eliminate blind spots. The only way to do this is by taking a far more holistic approach to digitization across their supplier base.”

SCI Stephen Clemenson

A packed house of finance and procurement leaders from across Europe agreed that the only way to build resilience to future shocks was to digitize with a particular focus on the automation of manual processes. They acknowledged however that such investments would require robust strategies to manage change. 

“Transformation is akin to redecorating the shop while it’s still open for business,” said Harold Hendrickx, Founder and Managing Director, TransExecutive. “Success requires a well-balanced and enabled team that will have the right mindset, ownership, team spirit, and drive to achieve the transformation.”

SCI Harold Hendrickx

Supply Chains must talk money as well and here is where our valued fintech partner Adyen comes in. When it comes to money we go back to the 1923 process of paying approved invoices late, Payments and cash flow are the next frontier and will naturally align all parties: We need banking services for the supply chain to work, but we don’t need everyone to go through their own bank.

"31% of US and Canadian firms already use virtual payment cards to either make or receive payments. Automation is what is driving the trend to use virtual cards in a B2B context. Using virtual cards to pay your suppliers is the next generation of payment services in B2B context to help speed up transactions, reduce manual work, and support additional protection," was explained by Michiel Kossen, Sales Manager Issuing at Adyen. 

 SCI Michiel Kossen

"Supply chains nowadays are a mess, however, there are so many different gaps that automation already can solve with real-time information," said Michel Stekelenburg, Sr. Director of Strategic Accounts at project44. "End-to-end supply chain visibility across all modes and geographies has a positive impact and results in better customer retention, reduction of transportation costs, improves working capital, and supports sustainable supply chains all over." 

SCI Michel Stekelenburg

A big thank you to our speakers whose insights provided the catalyst for a lively set of discussions on everything from supplier diversification, ESG monitoring, and the role of generative AI in the supply chain. 

Special thanks must also go to the fantastic delegates who made it such a special event. And for those of us who weren’t able to attend this time, stay tuned to our channels and follow us on LinkedIn for information on coming events and hope to see you next year at Supply Chain Innovators 2024!