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Organizations are paying more attention than ever to digital supply chain management in their efforts to turn them into powerful growth engines. In a perpetually connected ecosystem, enterprises are challenged to meet growing customer demands for providing speed, convenience, and accuracy. Today, customers not just want products in their hands faster than ever but also expect a personalized experience. The vulnerability of supply chains were exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and has underscored the need for Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) to build digital supply chains that can serve as profitable growth engines for new business models and superior CX. Organizations need to focus on digital supply trends and adopt strategies built around flexibility and scalability. Such a digital supply chain strategy enables businesses drive growth by facilitating faster movement into new geographies, informing new products and services, and meeting ever-evolving customer demands.
Organizations understand the significance of digital supply chain transformation and leveraging leading-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Analytics, IoT, Robotics & Process Automation, Blockchain, RFID, (GPS) tracking, smart labels, barcodes, etc. to enable supply chain modernization, process enhancement and real-time visibility.
Digital supply chain management can help organizations augment operational efficiency by automating redundant, manual processes and reduce the likelihood of human error. Further, supply chain digitization can improve decision-making capabilities, drive substantial cost-reduction and accelerate revenue for organizations. However, hopping on to the digital supply chain transformation bandwagon can be overwhelming for organizations, especially those who are not digital natives. A McKinsey study revealed that organizations that embarking on an aggressive digital supply chain strategy, can expect to boost their annual revenue growth by 2.3%.
Let us delve into how organizations can leverage digital supply chains and propel business growth.
Supply chains need to go beyond transferring products from Point A to Point B and serve as the vehicle for enabling a company’s purpose. A recent survey revealed that 86% expect the environmental impact on the role of the CSCO to be significant over the next five years. To cite an example, consumer goods organizations might have the purpose to be the most environmentally responsible company in their segment. Supply chain leaders of such consumer goods organizations can identify ways to reduce environmental impact through their supply chain by leveraging analytics to ensure ingredients are sustainably sourced and energy usage is renewable. Such initiatives enable organizations build an impression about contributing to the well-being of the society, which may turn out to be a growth driver. It is about making your customers believe in your purpose, which in turn, leads to customer loyalty.
Focus on the Future of Supply Chains
Organizations are investing a lot of time and effort in optimizing their digital supply chain capabilities. But with supply chains becoming digital, networked, and centered on customer outcomes, enterprises need to keep one foot in the present (from the stability perspective) and also focus on the future (from the innovation perspective). Hence, it is imperative for organizations to build digital supply chains that are dynamic and flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing environments and requirements, while also generating new business value.
Share the Supply Chain with the Ecosystem
The changing market dynamics have created a pressing need for organizations to adopt an ‘our supply chain’ approach over a ‘my supply chain’ approach. Such an approach is the need of the hour because technology has blurred the lines between industries, thus paving the way for ecosystem collaboration, wherein competitors can be business partners. Such ecosystem partners assist CSCOs in thinking outside of the box, encourage them to look beyond the four walls of their organizations and identify new avenues of innovation and growth.
Upskilling Supply Chain Teams
Organizations must accord high priority to upskilling their supply chain teams in their efforts to support the supply chain of the future, which calls for a patchwork of talent – domain experts, customer service superstars, and operations gurus. This workforce upskilling is a must-have for adding new value. Organizations need to focus on skills relevant to the new normal because the skills that made organizations successful yesterday may not be what drives them forward. At the end of the day, businesses have to harness the power of innovative thinking and important skill sets to drive digital supply chain transformation.
Organizations will continue to embrace digital supply trends in their larger objective of augmenting operational efficiency and accelerating profitability. Organizations need to realize that digital supply chain transformation can be the enabler for foraying into new markets, devising new strategies, or reaching out to more customers. Digital supply chains are poised to ring in a wave of new possibilities in coming times and organizations embracing it will stand to richly benefit from it.