Supply chain digitalisation - where to start?

Supply chain digitalisation has morphed from an experiment to a business imperative over the last two years. While digital transformation for the food and beverage supply chain is still largely driven by COVID-related urgency, the pandemic was merely an accelerator for an already fast-emerging trend. According to research from Boston Consulting Group, more than 80% of companies plan to kickstart their digital transformation campaigns in the near future. How can you use technology and digital tools to strengthen your supply chain business?

Stop Putting Off that Software Update 

Technology in the supply chain is nothing new, but many companies haven’t updated their technological capabilities since first introducing data handling several years ago. Traditional technology of demand forecasting for supply chain businesses was, at its implementation, a milestone in logistics. However, this type of technology is no longer sufficient, as it is incapable of handling this decade’s market fluctuations.  

The good news is that there are tools out there that are more capable of handling said volatility. The easiest way to find out what they are is to look at your competitors – invest in some market research to determine which software you should be spending your budget on. Many businesses place all their bets on a single digital tool that goes out of date within a few years; avoid this by being constantly on the lookout for new technology that may be better suited for your business and the ever-changing nature of supply chain. In a world that is moving faster than most of us can keep up with, it’s crucial to try and stay on top of the plethora of tools available to you as a supply chain business.  

There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Information 

When faced with digital tools that provide us with pages and pages of seemingly endless statistics, data, and insights, it’s easy to get excited. This excitement can quickly turn to being overwhelmed. The downside of the technology currently available specifically for supply chain businesses means that we are often completely inundated with numbers and information that need to be distilled into something meaningful, a process that still requires human input, and several hours of it. Therefore, it is time to start looking at digital tools that can help you streamline your supply chain data and glean the most important insights from the wealth of information available to you.  

This is where advanced analytics come into play. Raw data is often unstructured, disorganised, and frankly just a pain to look at. After all, there is no point in having encyclopedias full of data if your workforce can’t analyse and leverage that data quickly. There are now a growing number of entities out there – like Amazon Web Services, for example – that can play a huge role in distilling your supply chain data and turning it into actionable insights.  

A key thing to keep in mind here is that digital transformation is an ongoing process – introducing a couple new digital tools to your supply chain won’t set you up for success forever. Rather, digitalisation is an ongoing process of innovation that must remain adaptable and agile. Fortunately, most technologies developed nowadays are constantly updated by their developers and respond to market needs. Taking the leap into digital transformation means staying up to date with all the latest tools available to your business to ensure you are always fit for the future.  

Start With Your People 

The world of digital transformation can feel daunting, especially with mounting global pressure on supply chains to digitalise fast, whilst remaining secure, agile, and quick. As an executive in your business, it can often seem like juggling all of the above is nearly impossible. And to make it even more intimidating, many a business has failed in their attempt at digital transformation. 

The first step to a successful digital transformation is to look at your workforce. Do they have the skills necessary to adapt to a new era of supply chain management? If not, it’s time to start looking at L&D initiatives aimed at getting them up to speed. And most importantly, do they support this transformation? The easiest way to ensure a seamless integration of digital tools into your supply chain is to make sure your workforce is fully behind the initiative. With the support of a team that has the appropriate skillset, mindset, and culture, digitalising your supply chain will become infinitely easier.  

If you discover that you need to plug some gaps in your workforce with supply chain leaders, it’s best to begin the search process now. Supply chain leaders are in high demand, especially those with technological skillsets, so taking a look at the candidate pool available to you and re-evaluating your hiring processes is much better done sooner rather than later.  

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and developments taking place across the end-to-end supply chain. Proco Global remains available to discuss any of the ideas mentioned above and how we can help you implement your vision of the future through finding the best talent out there. For more insights, visit https://www.procoglobal.com/insights. 

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