PwC: Connected And Autonomous Supply Chain Ecosystems
The COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out in China in 2019, has had a heavy impact on industries around the world throughout 2020, with global lockdowns forcing shutters to close across warehouses and factories around the world.
Digital technologies are becoming increasingly commonplace throughout not only the supply chain industry, but the world, with the ability to evolve and transform the linear operations of supply chains into more autonomous, efficient and effective ecosystems.
looking into anonymous ecosystems. With more than 1,600 industry leaders surveyed across 33 territories, PwC found that around 9% of supply chains have invested in advanced capabilities by Digital Champions, achieving strong cost savings for 7% of supply chains.
Digital Champions, listed by PwC as “Digital Supply Chain Champions,” are the companies well ahead of the curve for supply chain excellence, and are the ones making real savings when investing in autonomous supply chain operations.
The survey found that volatility, uncertainty and major disruptions are forcing companies into shifting the focus of their supply chains quickly. Transformation and improved connectivity are crucial to success, with a self-orchestrating, autonomous supply chain ecosystem the key for companies hoping to work more efficiently, anticipating opportunities and addressing challenges before they can even arise and pose a threat.
Environments and markets are becoming more and more challenging for industry players. It’s becoming harder to cope with the ever-changing state of the industry, with firms needing to ensure that they are constantly evolving, innovating and improving. The need for continuous innovation and cross-functional collaboration means that the end-to-end value chain must be constantly considered, with the needs of the customer and every other contributing factor, from warehouses to factories, must be prioritised.
Cross-functional teams and communities, which work in collaboration with supply chain centres of excellence, can drive innovation and advanced capabilities, which in turn, builds a continuous cycle of development and deployment approaches.
PwC’s Reinhard Geissbauer, the Global Digital Operations Partner, said “Developing advanced supply chain capabilities makes strong economic sense and gives companies the agility needed to respond to disruptions," following the release of the research.
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.