Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
What is digitization, you might find yourself wondering? It’s commonly looped in with the processes that come along with the Digital Transformation and digitalization within specific fields. These two share different purposes, but often strive for similar goals to streamline and update workforce tasks and goals taking place around the supply chain. We commonly hear of Industry 4.0 being associated with the ‘Future of the Supply Chain’, and while there are some very processes occurring, we’ve still got a long way to go to ensure that all procurement processes and campaigns can completely transform the supply chain.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, various supply chains were beaten down due to outdated systems trying to handle the incoming flow of orders, while operating on a skeleton crew due to the layoffs and absences. It’s been found that there are several deliveries that are required to run with face-to-face interactions and paper-based signature retrieval processes, but that really hasn’t been able to happen due to social distancing measures and mandates put in place throughout several regions. In many workplaces, managers have strived to enforce digital approaches whose main goal is to eliminate the necessity for face-to-face interactions so that business can continue to improve and prosper during and after the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital tools and resources such as automation, IoT, and various datasets of analytics can help to boost supply chain productivity levels for now and even in the future. Starting off with how the supply chain can monitor operations with ease, real-time visibility is essential for any fast-moving dependable business, for without it, how would managers be able to predict trends and pick out where an error occurred throughout the line? According to a survey of data, 84% of Chief Information Security Officers have found that living and working without real-time visibility insights is the greatest challenge of their role. Throughout the whole process it’s vitally important that purchase orders, invoices, shipping notices, and simple messaging are all communicated from the supplier to the customer across the variety of channels that they travel through.
Accuracy is Key
If a customer were to receive a message that their shipment has been placed “on hold” without any other context, this action could result in a lot of frustration and anger within the customer relationship. It’s important to understand that if a technology solution can remove the mystery from the weaker spots of the business to provide greater insights into how the item is both tracked, traced, and monitored, then perhaps this is the type of technology for companies to invest in. Another advantage of real-time visibility is that workers are able to quickly repair any structural deficiencies that are taking place throughout the supply chain, removing the potential for any errors. The usage of AI and advanced analytics will help to increase the accuracy of such predictions, providing managers with a plethora of useful insight points that can help to put forth smarter decisions that can avoid any catastrophic disruptions.
The shift to a more digitized supply chain isn’t an easy process, but once the issues have been worked through, this upgrade will leave businesses operating more smoothly and efficiently than ever before. While one is navigating through the right technologies and strategies to implement, it is absolutely crucial to allow human leadership to directly follow this decision, because this choice helps to get those strategies flowing and operating consistently. Though there are many steps to follow before one is to perfect their supply chain operations, embracing technology is a positive step forward towards mastering supply chain management and putting forth better productivity for customers from all around.
Future Proof & Repeat
In order to best optimize the supply chain for a futuristic workflow, that digital transformations will bring requires additional effort to ensure that customer concerns are addressed and unmet needs are fulfilled. In response, transformative activities will help to overcome and understand the new challenges that are presented, for example, automation to accommodate the rapidly changing landscape of industry requirements and in return allowing employees to augment their job roles to better fulfill the incoming consumer demands and workplace regulations. Manufacturers are growing smarter and wiser and they are locating their digital footing through enabling connected, intelligent, and trusted solutions into their supply chains to increase the resilience and drive within their business operations.
If you’re interested in learning more about smart supply chains and the manufacturers that go along with them, be sure to check out Episode 22 of our TEConnect podcast, where we dive deeper into the world of Smart Manufacturing with Honeywell’s VP & GM of Productivity Products, Michael Noyes. Listen more as we unpack which technologies are working and which aren’t, depending on the system in place.