The term digital supply chain is very prevalent in current logistics and supply chain news, but it is a term that many people are still unfamiliar with. It is important to understand what a digital supply chain consists of and how it could potentially save your company money, time and even your environmental footprint. In order to decide if it could be right for your company, we will break down what it means to have a digital supply chain.
So, what is a digital supply chain?
A digital supply chain is similar to a typical supply chain, but the foundation is built on web-enabled abilities. Many supply chains use a combination of paper-based and IT-enabled processes. A true digital supply chain goes further than this hybrid model to entirely capitalize on system integration, connectivity and the information-producing capabilities of "smart" components.
Ultimately, the goal of a digital supply chain is to create insights for greater efficiencies, getting rid of waste and facilitating more profits. Companies that have adopted a digital supply chain are better equipped to move resources, assets, people and inventory from point A to B at any time. They also have potential to generate a reduction of costs by responding early to transportation and manufacturing risks before they even happen. The potential payoffs of a digital supply chain include savings in many areas, including resources, time, money and even a smaller environmental footprint.
A successful digital supply chain has processes that continuously analyze inventory levels, customer interactions with products, carrier locations, and equipment. A digital supply chain then uses this information to help plan and execute at improved levels of performance. Technologies such as GPS tracking, radio frequency identification (RFID), barcodes, smart labels, location-based data and wireless sensor networks are all part of a digital supply chain.
Building a digital supply chain requires a complete and extensive strategy that is a fundamental part of the business plan, and one that weaves in organizational structure, operations, systems, physical assets and processes such as procurement and payment. Additional efforts, on the other hand, can possibly result in organizational silos, data duplication and inefficiencies.
Is it right for you?
Digital supply chain technologies are truly helping some companies achieve a step change in performance in more complex areas. Consider the potential of automated replenishment to transform the manual processes of your business.