Digital Supply Chain Platforms
SO WHAT BENEFITS CAN YOU EXPECT?
The digital supply chain has been heralded as the next wave of technologies that will reshape how the supply chain is managed in organizations of various sizes. Many companies have embraced digital solutions within their own organizations. They are seeing initial success in terms of visibility and collaboration within their organization. They are looking to scale this to the next level to bring in the same capabilities at the network level and require collaboration and planning across their partners and suppliers.
Role of data in Digital platforms
The important aspect of the digital supply chain is data. Data powers a digital supply chain. To be truly digital-enabled, a strong data backbone is required at the organization level. This would require data from multiple sources to be
- combined in a uniform fashion
- stored in an unambiguous location and
- made available to all parts of the organization through a standard set of interfaces
Thus there is a clear need for a data platform that would form the heart of a digital supply chain. This data platform should be driven with the support of the CIO and the CTO of the organization along with the supply chain leadership to ensure that there is adoption and compliance within the organization.
Collaboration through APIs
Along with bringing a uniform approach internally within the organization one of the important features of a digital supply chain is external collaboration with vendors and partners. Partner collaboration always brings in the need for a cloud based platform that is powered by API and microservices for ease of partner integration.
Bringing in a Platform Strategy
Organizations have to enable a cloud-based collaboration platform for their vendors and suppliers and also a powerful data platform for their internal stakeholders. This requires a focused effort on a strong platform strategy as no single product vendor provides all these capabilities without some form of custom technology/ vendor lock-in. Further, your vendor’s size and technology maturity will also determine the kind of collaboration that would be possible.
Digital platforms will enable new business strategy
Today businesses do not look at strategies in isolation without technology playing a key role. With technology playing a significant role in every business process, the digital platform is not just a technology choice but a foundation for a new business strategy as well. We see digital platforms playing a key role through the following
- Modern technology platforms in the supply chain space today embed so many variants of business processes in them. The ability to configure what is right for our organization and in some cases bringing a newly redesigned operating model will play a key role in shaping business strategy.
- New business strategies tend to have a roadmap for implementation. By establishing a roadmap up front, it allows operational IT managers to develop a list of functional capabilities for implementation through one or more products. The goal is not to create best-of-breed products for every function and create a disparate and unmanageable environment but the idea is to build an open architecture that allows for easy plug and play of new capabilities as the roadmap develops.
New digital platforms should enable collaboration both within and outside the organization. This portrays the supply chain organization as a business function that is now thinking and moving strategically rather than cost optimization as it has traditionally been known for. A digital platform-driven strategy will enable this internal change of the organization’s perception.