CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 17, 2019
Forward Thinking

Tips to digitizing your supply chain

In today's ever-changing world, the need for an intelligence-driven supply chain is imperative. Here are some tips on how to get started.

To keep up with customer demands, disruptions, data, and new technologies, many companies are focused on digitizing their supply chains to create greater visibility and meet customers' expectations. During a CSCMP EDGE Conference session, Heidi Benko, vice president of solutions strategy and marketing of supply chain at software company Infor; Adam Hutchinson, managing director of consultancy Accenture; and Mikko Sivonen, senior director of global trade and logistics for footwear distributors Deckers Brands, discussed ways in which companies can work toward creating an intelligence-driven supply chain today and into the future:

  • Think of the process of digitizing your supply chain as a journey, broken down into four parts: descriptive (enable visibility and insights), predictive (add data science), prescriptive (inform decisions), and autonomous.
  • Create one version of the truth in your supply chain by building one repository to house all your data.
  • Low-hanging fruit can be a great first step. Find a problem within your organization that can be solved in a short period of time.
  • When you go down this journey, agile deployment is absolutely necessary. Break down your process in digestible chunks - don't take longer than three to four weeks to get things up and running.
  • Don't wait to start your digital journey until all your data is clean. It's important to note that the tools you'll use to create your intelligence-driven supply chain will naturally help you clean your data as you go.
  • Create a dedicated team comprised of C-level partners all the way down to users to manage the digitization process.
  • When considering an artificial intelligence (AI) tool, get your audience and user to understand "why" this tool will work; don't focus on "how" it works. Many people want to understand an AI model before buying it, but these systems are so complex that spending too much time on the how's of the system can be time consuming.
  • Intelligence brings insights within your organization, but making connections with your partners in one single place can be the true key to success.


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