November 26, 2019

The Digital Supply Chain And You

Logistics professionals are beginning to witness a massive gap between the current state of digital supply chain management and the industry’s future needs. In as little as five years, an organisation’s efficacy can not be dependent on its sole internal efforts alone. Today, the success of an organisation depends on how well industry players can develop a network of partners in the supply chain as well as make good on the service needs of individual customers.

Logistics professionals are beginning to witness a massive gap between the current state of digital supply chain management and the industry’s future needs. In as little as five years, an organisation’s efficacy can not be dependent on its sole internal efforts alone.

Today, the success of an organisation depends on how well industry players can develop a network of partners in the supply chain as well as make good on the service needs of individual customers.

An exciting turn of events through the digital supply chain

This assertion indicates that companies undergoing a successful transformation must now depend upon every partner within its value chain. Simply put, a weak link in the supply chain could create an unwanted effect that extends to its digital partners.

Success and survival are dependent on managers considering the big-picture perspective concerning the entire supply chain.

A little less talk

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what’s happening at the moment. A Capgemini Consulting study on the adoption of digital supply chain management reveals some starting takes.

Key highlights of the survey include responses from logistics managers that offer the following eye-opening information:

  • 85 per cent of extended-partner data is unavailable to their organisations
  • 77 per cent of data across the supply chain is analysed and used for insight into operations such as data logging, condition monitoring, data collection, and analysis
  • 95 per cent feel optimistic that digital supply chain management will improve

There is still much to accomplish in terms of moving toward a holistic digital supply chain, yet there is a ton of optimism behind it. Therefore, logistics companies must start moving toward the direction of a digital transformation to match expectation in the future.

In short, it isn’t going to happen magically without considerable effort behind it.

Looking ahead in this article

In this post, we share information regarding the digital supply chain transformation over a few main areas including how the industry is currently responding, why investing in it is crucial, and a few steps that you and your team can take to initiate your own internal efforts.

How logistics managers are currently responding to the digital transformation

One way in which executives and managers are responding to the need for a digital transformation lies within their ability to include automation companywide. This is a step in the right direction since it moves the supply chain ahead while guaranteeing the continuation of growth.

Here are a few ways in which logistics managers are responding to the current technology climate relating to supply chain management:

They are placing emphasis on skills development

Fortunately, logistics managers are investing in the technological skills and understanding of their employees. These efforts include the support of continuing education and additional on-site training. While training costs may detract from the bottom line, the long-term investment is going to become more prominent.

They follow social trends, not technological fads

In the tech world, we see a lot of ‘fad’ technology enter the marketplace. The good news is that logistics managers are responding by following strong trends and indicators that align with big-picture trends.

In short, they are trying to figure out ways that provide a seamless customer experience while remaining socially and environmentally viable. Examples of these efforts include sustainable sourcing materials and reducing environmental impact.

How digital supply chains benefit your organisation

As we stated earlier in this article, an extended partnership digital supply is only as strong as the weakest link in the line. With that being said, taking advantage of a digital network can elevate how you process and communicate and connect with people, places, and things.

When you actualise and adopt a fully-digital supply chain, there are some genuine advantages your company can gain. Here are a few ways in which a logistics provider can benefit from digitising its supply chain network:

1. You become future thinking

The most significant advantage of using a digital supply chain lies within its very existence. By working with dashboards that provide insight related to data logging, condition monitoring, and data collection and analysis, you are more mindful of the long-run time horizon.

2. Your data is no longer an afterthought

Before CRMs, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation, data was something that we recorded, calculated, and reported into information, not insight. Sure, we would apply some historical knowledge such as noticing an increase or decrease in the previous years sales, but that was about it.

Today, a completely digital transformation can fuse data across business units, departments, and locations to assist you in gaining deeper meaning into the data that exists within your organisation.

3. You can use data visualisation to make decisions on-the-fly

Data visualisation is going to reign as more companies incorporate AI and automation throughout their networks. The reason for this result is that it’s easier to make more effective decisions when applied to data.

For example, if you are trying to make adjustments on-the-fly concerning goods in transit, you might recognise cost-efficiencies better in a visual format, rather than digging through text and data.

As you can see, there is a lot to be gained by taking your supply chain digital. There are opportunities to save time and money while keeping your pulse on what’s ahead.

Now that you have a solid understanding of why digital supply chain buy-in is essential to the success of your organisation, it’s time to shift focus on taking action. In the next section, we go over a few steps that you can choose to start implementing your own strategy toward digital transformation.

Steps you can take to modernise your digital supply chain

Even without the use of technology, logistics companies are exposed at critical points throughout every stage of the supply chain. So, when you add the needs of thousands of suppliers and a complete digital transformation, things can get overwhelming.

Perhaps this is one of the most substantial barriers to participation among logistics companies. However, you can proactively begin taking steps toward a digital transformation of your own with the following ideas:

Understand where you are starting

Check the temperature of your organisation to genuinely assess where you are at in terms of a digital transformation. Then, compare your observations against potential risks involved. Doing so allows you to make better decisions throughout the entire implementation process.

Devise a strategy that makes sense

After understanding where you stand and the potential challenges involved, it’s time to start strategising and goal-setting that aligns with your logistics company. Involve your suppliers, customers, vendors, and business managers in the discussion since they are the ones who can tell you what will work and what won’t.

Think about what you want to accomplish long-term

Have you noticed a running theme yet? Long-term, future thinking, forward-minded: they are all terms synonymous when going through a digital supply chain transformation. It’s for this reason that you will want to consider your future needs as you design and implement your networks and systems. Think about the financial costs, service offerings, and potential pitfalls as you evaluate your options.

Perform your due diligence

The mark of a sound supply chain is its ability to remain strong, flexible, and delivers steady returns. We highly recommend investing the time and money in a comprehensive supplier analysis.

You can incorporate your findings into contracts that will be put into place. From a legal standpoint, this action can mitigate your exposure to potential risks when working with suppliers.

Segmented rollout keeps things simple

You don’t have to overwhelm your entire organisation at once with an entirely new system. In fact, you might create inefficiencies and unintended problems if you manage it this way.

Instead, working with a software solution that rolls out your new network and system in phases. This makes training and troubleshooting much more efficient and effective.

Final thoughts and considerations on the digitisation on your supply chain

The digital supply chain transformation is upon us, friends. And it’s time to make changes now. Your future needs are going to rely on those of the capabilities of people in your network. Likewise, they will be evaluating you for the same.

Don’t get left out in the analogue cold by putting off the inevitable.

This industry is built on a foundation of agility and grit. Make sure that your efforts stay true to your roots by taking small, actionable steps regularly. And in five years, you might look back and thank your past self for recognising the need to stay ahead of the competition.

Elevate your digital supply chain with Logmore

Did you enjoy this article? There others on our blog that address freight and supply chain management. We have additional materials that you may find interesting, including Digital Logistics: What Is It, and How Will It Affect Your Business or RFID vs QR as a Data Transmission Method. These posts will provide you with additional insight related to digital supply chain management.

If you and your business teams are considering making the shift from analogue to digital using technology that supports data logging, condition monitoring, data collection, and analysis, the Logmore team would like to learn more about your individual needs. You can book a meeting to discuss your options.

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