Making Supply Chain Ready for Digital Revolution


Supply chain management has improved a lot in the past twenty years; thanks to progress in logistics, infrastructure, communications and information technology. Key businesses have proven compliant and robust through times of economic uncertainty, but they are now faced with a different type of challenge – the digital revolution.

Digital revolution is perhaps best explained as the implementation of new technologies to speed up operations, sales and customer service, back-office productivity and ultimately, the growth of the business from end-to-end.

Customers – who, when talking about the supply chain, can mean suppliers, channel partners, distributors, wholesalers, retailers or the end-consumers – are more educated and empowered than ever before. This means that they can move faster, do more study, and have often made up their mind on what they’d like to buy before they even engage with you. Consequently, companies in the supply chain must be able to match them in their quickness and digital ability at every stage of the procurement ride.

Enhanced day-to-day vision and productivity is crucial to maximizing the breaks that exist within supply chain management. When you first start researching into the world of new technology it can feel awesome. Highlighted two key technology developments will be key to reaching digital revolution success.

  1. Automation

Research showed that 17~18% of salespeople battle with manual data entry, 10% use invalid spreadsheets for reporting and study and 6~7% feel ineffectively prepared for sales meetings. Allocating time and manpower to manage these tasks is an old and inefficient use of resources. In the modern business environment, many software applications already use task bots to automate data entry, reporting, and the collation of information for meetings.

In coming years, automation will change the workplace even further and free employees from the burden of administration. This is a good thing – it means employees will be able to prioritize work such as building customer-supplier relationships, eliminate errors, promoting company’s brand, identifying key suppliers, working on pricing structures, and closing targets.

2. Digital Revolution Acceptance

Most people will acknowledge the importance of data and are happy to make use of acumens. However, they can often treat it as if it’s the sole duty of the IT department. On the contrary, data governance can and should involve every department that has contact with customers in some shape or form: purchase, production, sales, marketing, customer service, and operations.

The main barrier, however, tends to be a lack of education. This can easily be defeated with some internal, company-wide awareness campaigns. Once teams are taught about the ways that technology can improve their productivity they are much more enthusiastic and much less apprehensive.

Technology roadmaps with digital revolution can be a useful tool to transition any company to a more data-driven approach. They don’t have to be huge undertakings that require a lot of time, but they do need to include:

  • A realistic description of how to improve your current situation with technology.
  • The technology and/or software that will need to achieve the aims outlined above. For e.g. ERP, CRM, etc.
  • Clear visibility of who will be affected by the implementation process, and how they will use the technology to achieve their specific objectives.

As mentioned above, user training and mentorship schemes can also go a long way to help your team feel more familiar and comfortable with using the technology. Ultimately, they need to feel a part of the process to embrace it.

All enterprises in the supply chain have something to gain from digital revolution. That means the whole professional needs to be on board.