BCG: A Fast Lane to the Future ─ The Bionic Supply Chain

By Oliver Freeman
The bionic supply chain is an opportunity to adopt next-gen capabilities and collaboration as humans and tech augment in a new way in procurement...

Dealing with supply chain issues isn’t a new concept for businesses; for decades now, especially since the ‘tech revolution’, companies have been trying to get procurement and global supply chain network management down to a fine art. A science, if you will. And, for the most part, they had ─ until COVID-19 hit. The pandemic brought to the fore supply chain issues that industry-leaders believed they had put to bed and highlighted that organisational performance challenges are, in fact, still a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

With the technological development of the past decade or so, much of the disarray that could have been, was not, during the pandemic; supply chain has long-since been wholly manual, with automation touching key points many years ago, through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other advancements in the tech realm. Moving forwards, though, we will need more assistance from technology, as well as increased skillsets for our human workforces, so that we can increase resiliency in the face of adversity. 

“A bionic supply chain leverages the best of what both machines and humans have to offer and allows them to work together seamlessly.” 

Bionic Adoption

As we emerge from COVID-19, companies across the world are going to need to adopt a bionic operating model. With assistance from “adaptable key performance indicators (KPIs) that focus on optimising overall performance in any situation, a platform organisation that works cross-functionally, and a data and digital platform (DDP) that enables collaboration”, the bionic supply chain will successfully fuse the best of tech with the best of human resources for overall optimised efficiency and quality at all stages of the procurement process and either end of the chain. 

Right now, no company has turned its supply chain operating model fully bionic, but many have jumped in leaps and bounds towards it. For the industry-leading multi corporations, there is a real desire to feel the full benefits of digitisation. First, they need to be able to identify the critical flaws in their current operating models and innovate solutions to rectify them, so that they can pave the way to a new, bionic future. 



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