Supply chains as of today are a series of discreet, siloed steps involving marketing, product development, manufacturing, distribution, and eventually customers. We are already witnessing a paradigm shift, with more and more companies going digital. Organisations that are quick to jump on the band wagon, will have a competitive edge over others as digitalising supply chain brings significant economic benefits to both top and bottom lines: Companies with highly digitised supply chains and operations can expect efficiency gains of 4.1 percent annually while boosting revenue by 2.9 percent a year. Informa interviewed the international supply chain expert, Alain Baeyens, on the latest trends in supply chain digitalisation across industries. Read the interview below:
How are Supply Chains evolving in 2019 and beyond?
On the one hand, we live in an increasingly complicated globalised environment often described as VUCA; volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous on the other hand we, the customers become more and more demanding, we want everything personalised and right now. We, therefore, need to redesign our supply networks. Move from a company-centric model to customer-centric, from a pull to a push model. Our Supply Chains will need to become very agile. The main actors will be small flexible autonomous entities collaborating with each other. The decision process will be supported, by end to end supply chain visibility Big data and Artificial Intelligence. The decision centres will move closer to the customer.
What is Supply Chain Digitalisation?
Digitisation is a catch-all but for me, it means using today’s technology to create a completely integrated ecosystem with full visibility for all supply chain actors with the goal to increase customer satisfaction and agility and to reduce Supply chain vulnerability.
What are some of the challenges faced by organisations when digitising their Supply Chains?
I see digitisation as a change process, today most supply chains are highly siloed with an emphasis on the execution and a lot of manual interfaces. In the new supply networks, the low value-adding operations will gradually disappear, people on all levels will need to be empowered to (re)act and decide within the scope of their responsibility. To secure a smooth transition, organisations need to create a digital vision, share that vision with the whole organisation, identify the key people and give them the proper training.
What steps are organisations taking to digitise their Supply Chains?
The successful implementation of a digital Supply chain starts with awareness and a shared vision. All the actors in the supply chain organisation need to onboard. The next step is to have a clear roadmap; what needs to be achieved and by when. The roadmaps can be very different depending on the business you are in and the goals you want to achieve but two things are essential: the first one is prototyping. Prototyping is usually done by small independent teams. The objective is to do the proof of concept, to demonstrate the value of digitisation of concept and to create momentum. The second one is a training programme to make staff digi-ready.
Alain Baeyens is an independent supply chain consultant with over 25 years of experience. His focus is on supply chain optimisation, change management and training. He is convinced that especially in this age of technology the human factor remains a key element for a successful supply chain. Supply Chain Digitalisation, is an interactive course offered at Informa Middle East that will help you understand the challenges and the opportunities of the new digital landscape. You will be able to distinguish what is just a “hype”, what is “nice to have” and, most importantly, what are the “must-haves”. You will also be able to understand the next steps you need to take to step into the digital world. The course will show you how digitisation will make your supply chain more efficient, agile and customer-focused. Find out more about Alain’s upcoming course, Supply Chain Digitalisation which takes place from 7- 10 October 2019 at the Address Hotel, Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE.