Building a supply chain for the future

Building a supply chain for the future

What do we mean by the term Supply Chain automation? To some this conjures up dystopian images of computers taking over the world dominating their human masters.

Thankfully the reality is a little more subtle. Supply chain automation refers to the systematising of part or all of a workflow to improve processes. In essence, it means utilising technology to centrally manage a complex web of working parts.

For the insurance claims industry Supply Chain automation refers to utilising technology to create a seamless process between insurers, their customer and suppliers involved in the process to achieve the best possible outcome for the customer.

The process of having to make an insurance claim can often be stressful and, dependant on the severity of the event sometimes traumatic for the customer. Added to this customer demand and expectation has increased dramatically in recent years and been accelerated by the recent Pandemic. Customers want easy, technology driven interfaces with their insurer and insurance supplier and a speedy, convenient claims process that creates a zero customer effort experience.

Current supply chain processes within the insurance claims sector are somewhat clunky, very resource demanding for both the insurer and supplier and don’t guarantee the best service for the customer. Additional complexities are introduced when the chain contains multiple suppliers who rely on each other to complete their piece of the process before beginning work. This leads to a breakdown in communication between suppliers but more importantly with the customer which, is the major cause for complaint especially at repair stage.

The nett result of the existing model is a poor customer experience and a poor customer experience will always result in the loss of customers.

What if this could be improved, what if customer interaction throughout the supply chain process was timely, accurate and value adding every time?

With the increasing availability of technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Big Data automation is being utilised more and more frequently in the insurance industry.

The application of an automated, intelligent single platform core within the supply chain process would facilitate instantaneous interaction between all parties involved and seamless end to end processing improving communication and reducing delays and potential complaints.

Let’s use the property claims process to demonstrate how supply chain automation can benefit the claims experience. Joe Bloggs has an escape of water, reports it to his insurer, they validate the claim and Joe chooses to use the insurers BRN to carry out the repairs.

Everyone involved in the chain is working from the same platform. The insurer, customer and all suppliers involved in the process can see and act on the same notifications and progress in real time.

Using supply chain automation the insurer appoints the relevant network contractors who receive an automated instruction detailing claim and customer information. At the same time the customer receives an automated notification confirming contractor information and timeline for contact.

Using the shared white label app the contractor makes direct contact with the customer to arrange a visit to scope the works, recording one of many data points automatically. Once a scope is complete the contractor uploads it to the system and the insurer is notified approval is required which they can also do via the app or web portal.

Once works are approved the contractor composes the schedule of works and inputs each trade and relevant dates into the system. This is uploaded so the customer, insurer and any follow on contractors can see what trades are required, on what dates and when works will start and finish.

Follow on contractors can diary their own start dates based on information input by the initial contractor and begin to agree these dates with the customer. This will significantly reduce delays in the chain.

Throughout the process both the customer and contractor utilise the App to communicate reducing the burden on the insurers claims handler. The handler will have full sight of all interactions and can intervene if required but is freed to concentrate on more complex tasks. Any unforeseen cancellations can be communicated immediately and directly to the insured.

In addition to this integration of a machine learning chat bot can help manage customer enquiries without the need for human intervention.

Upon completion the contractor uploads completion images demonstrating the quality of works. Should the customer be unhappy or identify snagging works they can upload images through the app, send directly to the contractor and arrange additional visits as required. Completion and payment triggers are carried out through the app or web portal.

Throughout the process data is being collected at various points which will allow analysis of suppliers or even individual trades that can be compared against pre-agreed metrics enabling closer management of performance.

It’s evident automating part or all of the insurance claims supply chain process will bring a number of potential benefits for businesses, namely;

  • Reducing manual effort
  • Reduced resource requirement
  • Increased productivity
  • Greater efficiency and accuracy
  • Greatly improved communication
  • Dramatically improved customer service


With such overwhelming benefits attached to Supply Chain Automation can you afford to delay making the change?