Technology has introduced us to a world of endless possibilities. Digital technology, especially in the last two years of the pandemic, has gone through multiple-fold innovations and changed how we function as a society. And so these lines said by Jeff Bezos hold more true today than ever before: “In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility; that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.”
And so, digitisation of the supply chain, as it is one of the most important arms of any business, has seen some major transformations in the last few years. It has enabled organisational flexibility, business process automation, and accelerated innovation across industries. A digitised supply chain model can be more effective if it is integrated into a company’s overall business model and organisational structure, thus needing a digital transformation roadmap.
Supply Chain Digital Transformation Roadmap
Supply Chain Digitisation is the replacement of manual functions with digital processes with the help of software which is either in-built or licensed. It involves operational changes like procurement of clean, valid master data, processing it under one unified platform, and providing end-to-end visibility.
A digital transformation roadmap involves steps that help a company achieve its goals depending on its business processes, ambitions, and demands. It requires a thorough analysis of gaps in the system. A vision is formulated for the company, and this helps start the streamlining process.
Digital technologies enable business intelligence to transform the linear process into one in which data flows in various directions to a centralised platform, making the process more agile, reducing cost, and helping in proper planning and forecasting.
For a functionally effluent digitised supply chain management ecosystem, the following elements should be considered in the long run:
Harmonising operational goals and technological goals
Involving all stakeholders
Leveraging data-driven devices and business intelligence tools
Developing analytical capabilities
Aligning with the Industry 4.0 concept
Companies that can put these together as a whole will advance hugely in terms of customer service, flexibility, efficiency, and cost reduction.
Significant Performance Improvements With Digital Transformation
With innovation in the supply chain comes the overall performance improvement of a company. Different teams collaborate to focus on supply chain performance and cover the shortfalls. They may integrate internal and external systems and data to identify the broken bridges. This collaboration may involve multiple teams, like analytics, finance, operations, marketing, etc. to sit together and analyse the redundant tasks, improve workflows, and collect data with surveys to change their strategies and provide better results. E.g., Operational changes may save a lot of costs, time, environmental impact, and end-user experience.
The emerging 4.0 concept is an all-inclusive jargon for a new industrial shift that embraces a set of future industrial developments. The growth of Industry 4.0 is based on mature technologies, products and processes. It aims to achieve practical improvements in terms of automation and operational efficiency.
With the help of cloud-based technologies, real-time data is accessible to everyone from different geographical areas removing the device or location-based barriers. Tools like bar code reader and OCR revolutionised the logistics planning system and improved invoicing facilities.
Industrial internet of things
IoT is an ecosystem consisting of sensors, applications, and associated networking equipment that collect, monitor and analyse data from industrial operations. It connects machine tools and sensors on the shop floor and gives the engineers, managers, and other stakeholders visibility into production.
Evolution of supply chain technologies
As time passes, technology has raised the end user’s baseline standards. With the introduction of same-day delivery options and worldwide shipping features, there is a need for a more globally connected network. Hence, we have evolving technologies like AI, blockchain, automation, etc. Let us explore those in the next few paragraphs.
Solutions like AI, blockchain, and automation
When the pandemic hit, the world stopped for a minute. Then it was forced to evolve with digital solutions like Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, automation, etc. It helps us find and record data and make informed decisions based on that data. E.g., in a company that manufactures and supplies a product directly to its end user, AI can help keep track of all their cost, process, resources, time, raw materials, customer databases, etc. It can also track where most orders come from and identify the pattern behind them. This pattern can then be applied to other areas as well. AI is very user-friendly, and we all use AI technology on our smartphones.
Similarly, blockchain helps with security against financial fraud by keeping our financial transactions private. It essentially removes the third party’s involvement in a transaction between two people, leading to a more decentralised system. Of course, blockchain is much more complex and more profound than just this, but this is what it essentially does.
Automation helps with logistics planning and removes unnecessary steps to make a process more efficient and effective in less time. It has made the lives of humans much simpler. From age-old wheel inventions to complex and more advanced inventions of machines, automation is one of the oldest and most stunning solutions.
The vision behind Digitisation
The time to act upon this vision is now. It is no longer something that is yet to happen. It is happening now and will keep happening at the same pace, if not faster. The technology will keep improving and make businesses more profitable and customer friendly. We even have our first ever AI-powered virtual humanoid robot as a CEO in a tech company in China. Our world is rapidly changing, and the good thing is how we manage them.
According to Gartner, there are four supply chain predictions for the years following 2022:
By 2026, 75% of large enterprises will have adopted some form of intralogistics smart robots in their warehouse operations.
By 2026, more than 75% of commercial supply chain management application vendors will deliver embedded Advanced Analytics (AA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data science.
By 2026, 25% of Supply Chain Execution (SCE) vendors will have rewritten their core application to a microservices architecture, but only 5% of supply chain organisations will have adapted to true composability.
Through 2025, 25% of supply chain decisions will be made across intelligent edge ecosystems.
When significant business changes happen, they always help decision-makers find alternative ways to avoid any predicaments. And in reality, these problems are opportunities if addressed proactively. Organisations can tap into new opportunities and fulfil the dream of the global supply chain and get a competitive edge. Intugine with its innovative technology and supply chain management expertise has been contributing to the advancement of logistics operations for shippers. More than 75 global enterprises have enabled themselves with digital transformation and have brought process efficiency to their day-to-day supply chain activities. With their robust multimodal platform, customers can view FTL, PTL, ocean, rail, and air shipments under a single view. They also develop IoT devices like smart locks, GPS trackers and GSM trackers. Through their automated supply chain processes, customers can place orders digitally, track shipments in-plant and manage docks, calculate freight payments and print electronic proofs of delivery. To learn how you can enable the same for your organisation and get that upgrade from the traditional practices, get in touch.