Internet of Things (IoT) is probably one of the most used buzzwords in our business. IoT is about making everyday objects more efficient and “smart” letting the users act only when necessary instead of constantly checking things, like a smart bin that tells you when its full or smart thermostat that learns your preferences so you do not need to adjust it manually constantly, etc.
The same principle could be applied for Supply Chain Management: Make your Supply Chain smarter, standardize the processes and as long as things move forward the way they are supposed to, you do not need to worry and let your SCM brain alert you in advance when things go astray so that you can react before things go critically wrong.
This principle is best described as the digital transformation in the supply chain. Every company has his own digital ambition and a different journey to get there. Key is to have a central plan, to make sure all is connected and there is one visibility layer, that will be the command center, which also helps to have an over-arching view over processes instead of making local improvements.
Why to transform your Supply Chain
The main reason for digital transformation should be to make your SCM smarter.
According to Supply Chain Collaboration expert, Roeland Vermeulen, this would benefit: agility, efficiency, competitiveness and become disruptive within your business. Supply Chain experts in my network pointed another reason could be: simplicity in different flows, visibility/cooperation and quality.
How to Transform your Supply Chain
The majority of companies face slow adoption of this type of B2B integration. This is caused by the high cost of traditional point-to-point connections, which often require special message formats, mappings and complex system integration. However, where companies used to focus chiefly on visibility within their own four walls, many organizations have now been forced to also look outside the four walls and combine efficiency and responsiveness to stay ahead of other competing supply chains.
Bring back standardization idea, having single version processes, and also B2B integration that reduces lead-times and creates efficiency.
If you would assess your current B2B integration, how are you connected: System-to-System, Telephone/Fax and/or e-mail, Web portal or Mobile app with your suppliers, customer and 3PL?
What to Transform in your Supply Chain
It depends on organization and the burning points, starting from low hanging fruits and gradually extending the scope. Of course priorities would be different if you would ask it to the different people within the same organization but according to our Supply Chain collaboration experts the key processes you could transform could be: Exceptions management, delivering order, shipment & transactional data, Performance / Status KPI’s and Financials.
In the Why, How and What of Digital Transformation in the Supply Chain there is a lot to improve but key is to make your Supply Chain (Brain) smarter. I hope this inspired you to answer this question:
What is your digital ambition now and in 2 years, and which role are you willing to take?