The Strategic Supply Chain Role of the Post-Pandemic CFO

By: | Category: Distribution / Manufacturing, eCommerce, ERP

Manufacturers and distributors find themselves amidst a new set of post-pandemic challenges. Demand is sky-high, costs are volatile, labor is scarce, and over-stressed supply chains struggle to get back up to speed. In fact, with so much disruption to global supply chains, a new term – supply pain management — is entering the vernacular. CFOs have a strategic role to play in a post-pandemic economy. In fact, a strategic CFO may have a more significant impact on the business than any other executive. Here are five ways a strategic CFO can improve supply chain management and reduce the pain.

1. Choosing agile cloud technology

CFOs play a major role in determining the direction their organizations take regarding a technology platform. Strategic CFOs recognize the limitations of outdated platforms and move to equip their employees with the digital tools they need to keep operations running. Modern cloud-based ERP offers robust supply chain management functionality, and the agility they provided to remote workers during the pandemic has cemented their value. Protiviti annual Finance Trends Survey revealed that 72% of CFOs ranked cloud-based applications as a top priority to address over the next 12 months.

2. Gaining real-time insight into costs

By acquiring and integrating more information, CFOs can help the business develop a more responsive and reliable supply chain. Costs are changing more rapidly than ever. As a result, it is no longer helpful to evaluate future profitability by looking at historical data. To be effective, strategic CFOs need real-time visibility into production costs, raw material pricing, and landed costs (shipping and transport fees) — along with insight and information surrounding their suppliers’ activities. The effective use of data and the application of technology tools are essential for gaining this visibility.


3. Increase supply chain visibility

Always important, supply chain visibility rose to critical status during the pandemic and into the recovery as volatility continues. A company can’t realistically grow its business when it tracks its supply chain through emails and spreadsheets. The more channels, regions, and partners, the more room there is for error. It is critical to migrate business processes to a dedicated application supporting efficient manufacturing, production, distribution, quality control, cost visibility, tracking, and reporting. As drivers of their company’s technology initiatives, strategic CFOs play a significant role in selecting software applications that bring the supply chain to light.

4. Upgrading metrics

The pandemic has only increased CFO’s requests from the business for real-time data, including frequent, detailed and dynamic financial analyses and forecasts.

Modern, cloud-based ERP applications collect a tremendous amount of data, but a strategic CFOs needs to cut through to the critical information to better understand their business operations, share this insight cross-functionally, and use it to drive strategic decision making. The targeted use of dashboards, KPIs, and other business metrics provides CFOs and their colleagues throughout the organization with visual windows into the data that matters to them. Continual monitoring of these metrics provides the organization with a way to measure performance over time and can help identify trends and opportunities.

5. An integrated technology platform

Bringing data and people together across the organization results in faster, better decision making. When a business holds data in multiple disconnected applications, it can be a struggle to quickly access and assemble it in meaningful ways. The strategic CFO can lead the initiative to adopt a technology suite that supports every aspect of the business operation — including supply chain management — eliminating the silos that slow data sharing and analysis. Adopting new integrated technology streamlines data management and provides CFOs with the information and confidence to make informed decisions — making this a key element in any recovery plan.

Strategic CFOs are masters of complexity

CFOs in manufacturing and wholesale distribution companies are masters of handling complexity. They provide guidance in every area of the business – from technology to operations to the customer experience. This skill and expertise makes them ideally suited for addressing post-pandemic supply chain challenges. As a strategic CFO, you play a critical role in optimizing your organization’s supply chain. By providing the right technology infrastructure, your organization can grow while adding fewer employees — keeping them focused on high-value tasks and on client facing opportunities. It adds up to an environment where time saved is capacity earned.