Rapid improvements in modern technology have successfully helped organizations increase efficiency, reduce costs, and boost profits. Companies are moving aggressively on their automation strategies. It’s all about using sophisticated tools and techniques to forecast and learn deeper insights about your organization and market. Although traditional supply chains used technology, their systems were primarily executed based on historical data and manual processes. On the other hand, digital supply chains pull real-time data and replaces manual processes with automation.
Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change business processes and methods. Gartner predicted that companies can move two times faster with digital transformation and that leaders must adopt a playbook for business model change. Identifying new ways of executing tasks, reveals new solutions which leads to increased innovation via digitalization. For instance, upskilling employees to use new software platforms to reduce time-to-market by reimagining the way you do business. Supply chain digitization requires a holistic transformation mindset that includes both processes and people. With this, enhancing the digital customer and end-user experience will not only improve loyalty and retention, but also increase revenue and productivity.
Digital Supply Chain Benefits
So how should an organization develop and execute a strategic plan to digitize supply chain operations? There are two ways to digitize supply chain operations: build or buy. Building a solution in-house requires extra effort from your team and additional maintenance which may be too big for development teams with other responsibilities. Often times, purchasing a software solution will require customizations to integrate into your existing systems and allow your teams to focus on daily operations. Regardless of the decision, build or buy, an agile and iterative approach is necessary to implement successfully.
A good digital transformation strategy aligns with the business goals to generate specific outcomes such as improving work processes efficiency, increasing growth, or lowering operational costs. Creating a systematic roadmap for your digital initiative ensures that the goals and focuses of the transformation are clear. This approach ensures all impacted areas will be aligned on common goals and contribute to better coordination of digital transformation efforts.
Steps for digital transformation:
The key to success for any supply chain is efficient exchange of information. Managing and maintaining efficient inventory levels can be a full-time job. Digitizing inventory management not only helps to optimize stock but also reduces storage cost. With staff spending less time entering data and managing reorders, digital inventory systems can also reduce labor costs while improving production lead times. Real-time inventory visibility data ensures accurate stock levels at each location to provide optimal order fulfillment delivering to customers on time. Improved customer satisfaction will lead to a boost in product and allow staff greater forecasting capabilities. Understand the goals you seek to achieve through digital transformation by analyzing your current technology infrastructure and processes to properly monitor your specific success metrics. That understanding will allow for the creation of a digitization roadmap well suited to your business’ supply chain.
—Ashely Rhodes, St. Onge Company
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