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Authenticity: The Supply Chain’s Missing Link 

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Author: Adam Novak, Senior Vice President at PAN Communications, headshot
Adam NovakSenior Vice President, B2B Tech
cargo ship, supply chain

Supply chain concerns have emerged as a trending topic in news periodically over the past couple years. But supply chains have been functioning for as long as business has been around. When they function correctly, they often go unnoticed. 

PAN has been supporting communication for supply chain companies for more than 25 years. In that time, we’ve been fortunate to work with brands that move goods at all stages on their journey from company to customer. From global supply networks like SAP Ariba to e-commerce and logistics giants like UPS Capital and technology that helps rule the roads like Solera, PAN has a wide range of experience that reflects every niche of the supply chain ecosystem. 

Links in the Chain

The supply chain has always been a part of business — no matter how far goods must travel or how complex their production is, eventually they have to find their way to the consumer.   

Amid the 21st century boom of the online global marketplace, and combined with same-day shipping, next-day delivery and just-in-time everything, the supply chain became more than just a part of commerce. Companies and consumers grew accustomed to acquiring anything from anywhere in a matter of days, even hours. 

In 2020, the public’s perception of the supply chain changed again — likely forever. As lockdowns forced downsizing, lost shifts, closed borders and rising costs, supply chains no longer functioned as flawlessly as they once had. Previously niche issues became mainstream ones, shining an initially unwelcome spotlight on an entire industry — a light that two years later has still not gone out. 

This spotlight has also attracted widespread market attention. Venture-backed supply chain management companies raised a record amount of money in 2021, and that number accelerated in the first half of 2022. With logistics woes persistent through the first half of 2023, the supply chain industry is still in need of innovation.

The supply chain is now one of the most important societal underpinnings in the world — and that is just the type of technology that we’re best-equipped to serve. While the spotlight may still be bright, it’s no longer unwelcome. 

Authenticity: In Short Supply

Where there’s a lot of attention, there is also a lot of noise. The resulting dynamic is one in which people are engaged, but they’re also frustrated and still confused, two years later, about why these challenges are recurring and what can be done to resolve them. More voices can in some cases mean more solutions, but too many can create ambiguity. Supplies may be scarce, but there is no shortage of perspectives.  

With logistics woes persistent through the first half of 2023, the supply chain industry is still in need of innovation.

Fortunately, with activity comes opportunity. Authenticity and trust are now major differentiators as the overall market expands and the competition at every link in the chain increases. 

Build an Authentic Supply Chain Brand

  • Transparency. Just as the industry has adopted supplier transparency, communications must be transparent about how supply chain companies do business. PAN helps our clients highlight their diverse and inclusive supplier initiatives, consistently communicate solutions and share the stories of users who are solving common problems.  
  • Collaboration. When it comes to the global movement of products, even the biggest companies don’t go it all alone all the time. It’s called a supplier ecosystem for a reason — and we encourage companies to leverage their external environment as much as possible. Whether they have relationships with partners or consultants, trade organizations, or third-party data to validate a position and show strength in numbers, we help clients engage their broader community to showcase partnership and strength in numbers.  
  • Trust. People are worried about recession, inflation, geopolitical disruption and more. Risk is everywhere, so it’s important to address each risk responsibly and comprehensively. Two years into shortages, the conversation has moved beyond speculation — but some brands still operate with a degree of superficiality. That won’t cut it anymore. The movement toward purposeful work and ESG initiatives has created an untapped opportunity to associate brands with a better world and more fulfilling employment. Brands need to do more than just clear the bar if they want to capitalize on potential. 

Ongoing Agility

The ability to seize the moment will never go out of style. As such, it’s important to have a wide variety of insights and perspectives in response to the supply chain risk of the day. 

Here are some examples of how we’ve helped clients address their role in mitigating each risk: 

At the end of the day, relevant perspective shouldn’t be in short supply. We’ll continue sharing more insights and best practices from our client base about how to build qualified awareness and cut through the noise. 

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