Ripe for a digital supply chain adoption?
At least some sort of technology has significantly changed our life to date for the last few hundred years and will continue to do so in the future. Work, leisure, study and increasing aspects of our day-to-day activities are impacted by products released while we are still learning about the precedent version given the speed of innovation and deployment.
A common example for our supply chain space comes from not long ago when the responsible for warehouse operations kept receipts and issues — or movements — of merchandise in handwritten logs updated once the transaction took place. Those index cards captured date, balance, and persons involved among relevant data for best warehouse management practices since they were introduced back in 1898. Today available technology automates most of the movements with no delays and increased details stored in large data sets used for improvement based on deep analytics, i.e., cost to fulfill, procure to pay savings and room for optimization. Data itself is not enough anymore for a best business practice, insights are.
Digital applications from resource planning (ERP) to customer relationship (CRM) and master data (MDM) to name a few are quite common in current business environments but using them qualify as a digital supply chain? Not quite since integration is always a challenge in the technological landscape where those different applications reside, and the lack of a seamless flow is an obstacle to enjoy the full value of the suite of applications. To provide context for what seamless means imagine few transactions a day in a mom-and-pop convenience store compared with a global network with movements in milliseconds, where each integration between applications adds opportunities for errors if not blocks in the road.
In summary a digital supply chain platform is conceived, built, and operated under the premise of data integrity — where the flow of data both in volume as in quality is ensured end to end irrespective of the scale of business. This attribute alone is determinant in the integration of different functions whether signals from the asset, requirements triggered by events or time, or fulfillments activated for specific demands to vendors are all treated with same rigueur and diligence under business rules. No conversion from one application to the other, nor manual approval when automation is available and no waiting time for signals generated in the platform.
How to determine the ripeness of a business for a digital supply chain? Any business case should highlight how data will be managed in the business flow for such a solution to ensure integration. If this is the case, you may be already in presence of an inbound digital supply chain and could not be a better start for this transformation thus avoiding being drowned in useless data.
Digital Supply Chain Management
Richmond, September 26, 2021