This is a very challenging time for businesses and industries everywhere. Regardless of the industry sector or size of the organisation, everyone has felt the impact of COVID-19, particularly as border controls became more stringent and the movement of people and goods more restricted.

SAP Senior Vice President of Digital Supply Chain, Hans Thalbauer noted that supply chains are broken, exemplified through a lack of visibility, lack of collaboration, and lack of coordination.

Since most supply chains are based on transaction and reactive models, multi-faceted supply networks cannot adapt quickly enough to spikes or drops in demand. COVID-19 has inadvertently demonstrated the weaknesses of this system and highlighted the need for change.

Digital technology platforms can create the transparency and connectivity necessary to mitigate risks and navigate through crises. Visibility across supply networks is vital in response to emergencies. In the United States, SAP helped a client secure 500 hospital beds in 30 minutes – ensuring that they were able to quickly develop a temporary hospital and use those beds to treat patients with COVID-19.

This is a time to unite, to focus on everyone’s safety and assist those we can. In response to the huge shifts we are seeing globally across industries, SAP recently hosted a series of virtual forums called 2020 Adaptive Strategies in a Changed World. There were seven industry-specific episodes focused on key challenges, solutions, and learnings from this current crisis.

Also, to help guide businesses through this challenging period, SAP is offering free tools and resources through the crisis period, to support an enhanced supply chain and improved experience management. These two critical branches of business dictate an organisation’s success – because a company’s ability to provide the right product and service to customers and staff is paramount.

Supply Chain Management and Disruption
SAP’s primary focus has always been helping businesses anticipate and adapt to change through technology. Looking at supply chains, we’ve already seen the importance of interconnectivity, the ability to create transparency across supply networks that is embedded across different organisations, departments, and borders. The more connected we can make disparate systems and processes, the greater visibility we can create across supply chains to better manage sudden spikes in demand.

The ability to intelligently manage supply chains with data driven insights helps business plan, adapt, and grow. It’s about understanding planning as a service, which is possible through SAP Integrated Business Planning, which is freely available for business looking to scenario planning and evaluation of supply chain impacts, options, and financial implications.

The SAP Qualtrics Supply Continuity Pulse solution also broadens the visibility of organisational supply chains to gain an understanding of suppliers’ situations, analyse risks, and better manage the experiences of staff and suppliers throughout the business ecosystem.

Using this solution, businesses can gather feedback suppliers to understand potential supplier restraints and delivery timelines risks, areas for optimisation, and ways to better collaborate with suppliers to ensure business continuity even during crises. This is critical as suppliers, staff, and customers all face extraordinary challenges and organisations must be seen as responsive and communicative.

Communication and Support for People
Building team cohesion during crises, supporting teams transitioning to remote work or reskilling them for organisational changes, is vital. Employees need to feel heard and supported, which is why their engagement can be better managed and understood through platforms like Qualtrics.

St John Ambulance sends out a weekly pulse using Qualtrics to understand how staff are feeling, the associated root causes, and what they can do to help. With the ability to provide this quick and convenient service across any device helps keep volunteers engaged and provides significant insights for improvement.

St John Ambulance also noted that the speed and ease at which Qualtrics was able to go live, the in-built reporting tools, and automatic alerts, have all made the volunteer experience easier to manage and understand.

The data insights produced during this time of crisis will help business safeguard themselves from future impacts, building resilience and discovering best practice. It is a challenging time, but it also presents an opportunity to refine practices and ensure that everyone is kept informed and safe.

SAP is here to help and provide assistance for any business struggling to digitally transform and adapt to these rapid changing circumstances. Sign up to the second edition of the Adaptive Strategies in a Changed World series – going live on August 6th 2020.

This article originally published on Linkedin.