Driving efficiency throughout the supply chain with full-stack observability

March 10 2022

Supply chain management is a complex dance impacted by forces beyond your control. Full-stack observability can help make the process a lot less stressful.

Supply chain woes continue to challenge the global economy, contributing to a wide range of product shortages, rising inflation, and even backlogged ports inundated with cargo. Add to that a multi-year pandemic, natural disasters, truck driver shortages, a dearth of semiconductors and more, it’s no wonder why businesses are struggling to find innovative ways to overcome myriad disruptions while continuing to hit their financial targets.

AppDynamics identifies business success as being defined by the customer experience, which has been greatly impacted by supply chain chaos. If you can’t provide a product or service, your customers may quietly defect to a competitor. The cost, efficiency and productivity of your supply chain play a critical role in your success, but achieving business agility and resilience isn’t easy. Inventive technological solutions require creativity and tenacity, and every digital touchpoint matters.

Monitoring and managing the supply chain effectively protects the lifeline of your operation, which in turn promotes customer loyalty and business growth. It enables you to focus on the end user experience and better understand how application deficiencies are causing a loss of sales. For example, AppDynamics Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) is a real-time monitoring tool that identifies vulnerabilities that contribute to outages, downtime or disruptions to the user experience – such as slow page-load times – and assesses the root cause of issues that affect performance while recommending solutions.

Achieving this efficiency isn’t easy. A recent Gartner study found that nearly four of ten business leaders are concerned that their supply chains are not well-positioned to handle today’s challenges, such as resource shortages and global trade conflicts. Similarly, 42% of chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) report feeling pressure not only to maintain current margins and profitability but also to reach higher targets for innovation, speed and sustainability.

The solution? Full-stack observability, which blends visibility and insights with business context to achieve operational excellence and ensure success. With full-stack awareness, your business can move beyond domain monitoring and transform siloed data into actionable insights that provide shared context for your IT teams.

How full-stack observability drives supply chain efficiency

The vast and complex nature of the supply chain often spans the entire business operation — material planning, procurement, integration, warehouse and fulfillment, distribution, returns and more. This global labyrinth makes it difficult to see every internal and external connection point, dependency and third-party integration across the chain.

The complexity of this intricate chain is magnified by a rapidly evolving array of emerging and transformative digital technologies – serverless cloud solutions, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more – each potentially obscuring transparency and visibility from your suppliers and customers. IoT sensors and tracking capabilities, for instance, enable real-time tracking of goods throughout the supply chain, including manufacturing, transportation and logistics processes. Yet despite these cutting-edge enhancements, IoT innovators are reporting a variety of problems including security, privacy and scalability issues.

Take this hypothetical IoT example: at a landscaping store chain, customers use handheld scanners to select the trees and plants they want to buy. But the scanners stop working at one store and the scans don’t make it to the cash register. The store says the scanner is fine; the data center says the app is fine. Each siloed team blames the other. Days pass before the retailer discovers the true culprit: the WiFI the scanner uses to communicate with the app. Unfortunately, nobody was monitoring the WiFi. The moral? Without full-stack observability, you get the usual finger-pointing. But with a full-stack approach, you can connect the dots and quickly find the root cause.

Supply chain innovations can present a sort of technology or application sprawl in which companies employ a patchwork of legacy and cloud technologies that don’t always play well together. As a result, they increase workload demands on your IT team, which must focus on fixing immediate problems rather than on innovation. Furthermore, this mixture of legacy, modern and third-party technologies is often managed by siloed teams using different performance-monitoring tools. The result: gaps in visibility that cause headaches for technologists trying to pinpoint performance-impacting issues. In a recent AppDynamics poll, 87% of technologists said the increasing complexity of their IT stack is causing long delays in identifying the root cause of performance issues.

Better visibility into your IT environment

Full-stack observability encompasses a shift in how organizations maintain visibility across their IT environments, respond to incidents and optimize performance. A growing number of global businesses, including our parent company Cisco, use full-stack observability solutions to improve efficiency and embrace a digital supply chain that harnesses the value of the cloud, AI/ML and IoT for essential business operations.

By understanding how supply chain performance impacts your business metrics, you can streamline and optimize key areas to boost product margins — and ultimately the bottom line. Rapid discovery of supply chain issues, such as how AppDynamics leverages anomaly detection, makes it easier to find and fix trouble spots and get your business back on schedule.

Full-stack observability helps align the teams supporting your supply chain environment. It brings together infrastructure, application, network, security and business leaders to focus on the right outcomes, essentially changing from a reactive to proactive mode. It also enables you to quickly identify, triage and isolate issues, reducing mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) as well as the number of war room incidents.

By playing a key role in your supply chain management strategy, full-stack observability can drive higher revenue and customer satisfaction. Download The ultimate guide to Industry 4.0 observability to learn more.

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