With COVID-19 creating shockwaves across the globe, awareness of the importance of supply chain visibility is higher than ever. Supply chain leaders need to seize the moment and press even harder for the creation of a digital end-to-end supply chain.
To help kickstart that effort, Richard Donaldson, vice president at the online commerce platform Requis, lays out six steps in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' (CSCMP) March 2020 Hot Topic publication. According to "Welcome to the Decade of Supply Chain: a Digitization Roadmap," companies on the path to digitization need to:
1. Set the stage for change: To overcome a company's natural resistance to change, supply chain leaders need to communicate the business case and identify pilot projects that address specific needs.
2. Ensure asset and inventory accuracy: A good place to start the digitization effort is with your own asset records, according to Donaldson.
3. Step up their asset disposition game: Once a company knows how many assets it owns, it can start to dispose of those that are not needed. This will help offset the cost of the digitization effort, says Donaldson.
4. Implement workflow-oriented solutions: In particular, companies should look at digital solutions to manage manual-intensive workflows such as procurement, compliance, and full-asset life cycle management.
5. Integrate your platforms: No one solution will be able to perform all of a business' functions, so Donaldson recommends looking for tools that will be able to easily "talk to one another."
6. Integrate next-generation technologies: Within the next five years, technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will have matured enough to help with pattern recognition and forecasting, writes Donaldson. These new tools will need to be integrated with existing technology.
With the right tools, argues Donaldson, organizations can handle the "roller coaster ride" of the 2020s and "come out of it with a more efficient and adaptable network." However, it will take dedication from corporate leadership to build systems that are flexible, efficient, and user-friendly.
This Hot Topics is free to CSCMP members and nonmembers by visiting cscmp.org.