The Future of Intelligent Digital Supply Chains

By Emily Cook
Traditional supply chains are linear and focused on the production and distribution of products. We look at the future of digital transformation...

With the fast-paced and competitive nature of the supply chain, it is essential that businesses are strategically planning digital transformation strategies. A key part of an intelligent digital supply chain is the implementation of technologies such as; artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing and much more. 

What makes an Intelligent Digital Supply Chain?

In order to create a successful digital supply chain, companies must provide real-time visibility across every aspect of supply chain management. Visibility can be enabled through the optimisation of cloud computing in order to create a connected ecosystem. 

The majority of today's supply chains use both digital and analog processes, however, a fully digital supply chain would eliminate the use of paper, manual entry and data request through a phone call or email. A fully digitalised supply chain would be electronically connected and managed using real-time tracking to add visibility to the manufacturing, transportation and logistic processes. End to end digital connectivity allows for management and optimisation of the most complex supply chains, from customer to supplier. 

The Challenges of a Digital Supply Chain

Most companies have begun their digital transformation journey. Implementation of technologies such as IoT, blockchain, predictive analytics and others mentioned previously are essential. However, this journey doesn’t come without challenges. Although digitising the supply chain is a topic that has been in conversation for years, increased customer demand and the current global pandemic has been a catalyst for many companies. 

The main challenges are faced by smaller companies that struggle to internally integrate technology, meaning that they have to look externally to outsource these functions. Companies will go to external businesses who have already made the investments into digital technology. 

As a result, it is essential for companies to begin digital transformation initiatives that optimise the latest technologies in order to create a more visible and connected supply chain. Connected supply chains are often data driven and allow for real-time adjustments that exceed the need for traditional systems. 

It is important that companies understand the need for digital supply chains in order to replace long, manual processes and highly organised manual communication management systems. 

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