It would have been impossible for anyone to fully predict the impact of digitalisation on the supply chain. However, the digital supply chain is here to stay, and it is the difference between success with growth versus stagnation and business loss. The customer or consumer now has the power, and it is digitalisation that makes it possible for the supply chain to respond.
The digital supply chain is fast, responsive, agile, flexible, adaptable, and specifically – capable of being customised. The ability to differentiate as a result of the digital age is enormous. The single customer can be served in a way never possible before.
The backbone of course is technology. Consumers are aware of the possibilities of technology, such as cloud-based tech, or drones, and as such have new expectations. It is becoming an increasingly competitive market as a result.
Digitalisation Makes Innovation Possible
There are changes afoot with regards to technology itself, most notably through the Internet of Things (IoT). However, innovation is impacted at another fundamental level: that is, the ability to use current information and technology in partnership with new digital capabilities, therefore harnessing more from existing processes.
This means that those in the supply chain world who aren’t keen to embrace new technology, and new ways of using existing technology, and actively applying it to their part of the chain, will be left behind. Thriving against the competition depends largely on a willingness to embrace what digitalisation can bring, and to not be scared of it.
Look at some of the success stories – Amazon, DHL or Uber. These businesses haven’t just embraced existing digital tech but have actively sought out their own, and in so doing, radically changed the marketplace. They did this by something that is absolutely central to the process – connectivity.
Connecting Different Elements of the Chain
Connectivity is possible on entirely new levels thanks to the digital nature of the modern supply chain. It is this connectivity that is bringing enormous changes and gains. All of a sudden, the different elements within the chain are connected with reliability, visibility, and flexibility. Digitalisation has made this possible. It’s the combined process of technology, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence, which is bringing about a powerful change.
The Digital Supply Chain – You Need It
The fact is that every high performing supply chain today operates on a bedrock of digitalisation. Traditional operations have become antiquated and not fit for purpose in the modern world. To meet the needs of supply chain strategy, digitalisation is not optional.
Whilst many businesses understand this and are seeking to head in to the future with a digital cap on, they possibly aren’t looking deep enough. It’s not just about introducing digital technology to already existing operations, but fundamentally looking at those operations from the bottom up, as if starting again, with the digital technology now available. It requires re-invention.
Digital supply chains that have been created and nurtured in this way are the ones who are most connected, and scalable, and flexible, capable of meeting the demands of the modern consumer.