by Gilles Leyrat, Executive Advisory Board Member, Blume Global
As I recount the past 25 years, there has been tremendous change and evolution in the supply chain industry. I’ve witnessed customer demands dramatically increase with the rise of digital technology, as customers now expect their orders to be delivered within one to two days, which was uncommon prior to the launch of services like Amazon Prime in 2005. Rising consumer demands have even affected the traditional brick and mortar retail experience, with customers coming into stores expecting the products they want to be in stock and available for them to purchase immediately.
In addition, supply chain digitization is now a widespread necessity for any organization seeking to thrive and survive in this new digital age. However, though this knowledge and information is widely agreed upon, 85 percent of U.S retailers have yet to digitize their entire supply chain processes and many organizations are continuing to rely on manual processes. In this post, I outline steps supply chain organizations can take to digitize, as well as what I believe is holding them back.
How Supply Chains Can Optimize Customer Experience through Digitization
As an industry, we have to ensure the supply chain cycle is shorter and more predictable, with greater accuracy in shipping and delivery. Supply chain digitization offers organizations a pathway in which they can fulfill customers’ expectation for on-time and quick deliveries and reduce overall production costs. Here are three areas organizations can focus on to realize these goals:
Seamless Management: To better meet customer demands, create a tighter link between the online and physical supply chain. Seamless management will give organizations real-time visibility, improving customer service and facilitating proactive resolutions to unforeseen disruptions.
Predictability: Another step to realizing supply chain digitalization is to acquire a toolset and digital capabilities to enable predictability. This will allow organizations to be as accurate as possible, improving execution and going above and beyond customer expectations.
Traceability: Provide customers with knowledge of where their products are coming from, by using technology that grants organizations real-time visibility.
By focusing on these three areas, organizations can exceed customer expectations and differentiate itself from competitors.
Barriers to Supply Chain Digitization
In conversations with supply chain organizations looking to begin digitizing their operations, I’ve noticed two recurring barriers.
First, they often begin by discussing digitization from a technology standpoint, attempting to find a problem to solve with technology. Rather, organizations should approach digitization from a business outcome perspective, starting from the problems they face and then asking what kind of technology would enable them to solve the issues.
Secondly, supply chains are often fragmented and have multiple players. If one member of the supply chain is not using cohesive technology, then the whole system breaks down. Adoption and digitization need to happen across the entire supply chain ecosystem in order for its full benefits to be realized.
Ultimately, onboarding a digitized supply chain will enable organizations to get a better return on operations and free people from tedious tasks to instead focus on more strategic work, transforming the way the business operates. To ensure the company’s continued market relevance and sustained success in the coming years, adopting new supply chain technology is no longer an option, it’s an imperative.
To learn more about the benefits of digitizing your supply chain, read our learning center article here.