Digital transformation in Supply chain

CPO Innovation

Digital transformation in supply chain is rightly considered by all as ‘ vital ‘ but has an element of associated uncertainty on the start/stop events in deployment for best results. A general lack of awareness alongside required skills amongst the supply chain executives & partners has been a deterrent to drive a potent strategy. While it was a buzz word for some time, organizations realized that the only way to get best dividends out of this one is with serious focus on formal initiatives to drive this transformation. It is all about effective use of digital applications for simplification / decoding to improve cost, lead time, agility, inventory optimization and more with a view of differentiated service offering for a delighted customer experience. A recent study indicates that companies that aggressively digitize their supply chains can expect to boost annual growth reflected in their revenue as a measure of success.

This fourth industrial revolution in the current and developing environment aided by advanced disruptive technologies and trends such as robotic process automation, Internet of Things, virtual reality and artificial intelligence is dramatically changing the way we live and work. It would be a wrong bus to miss where a sprint later may never be enough to catch up. Transformation road map ought to be on a super aggressive timeline with highest priority on execution with some learning on flight. It is hence essential to get the basic transformation approach and set the vision for a futuristic supply chain. Since ‘one size does not fit all’, digital transformation should not be perceived as a solution to all operational bottlenecks. Evolution of process changes have to be addressed with kaizen/continual improvements with a good integration of technology in operations.

Good news is that Supply-chain organizations, being key to a larger spend are likely to get all enablers towards the digital transformation with required technology upgrades as developers create applications to take advantage of data generated by ERP systems. Applications largely focus on actionable improvements in streamlining transactional activities such as those involved in end-to-end planning, supporting major operations like warehouse management and sharpening analysis to drive results. 

Suggested key items in planning the journey of digital transformation in supply chain should include the following though not restricted to:

  1. Details of the planned improvement with big data and its analytics for desired goal
  2. Choice of right Technology with capability to synthesize into the current process
  3. Change management within the organization & partners to embrace disruption culture
  4. Speed of execution with learning , experimenting despite failing at times