The latest Supply Chain Digital Show on LinkedIn features an interview with Andy Hancock, Global Vice President for the SAP Digital Supply Chain Centre of Excellence. Together with his team, Andy helps customers shape the future of their businesses using SAP software solutions.
The following is an edited version of Andy’s interview on the show with Supply Chain Digital Editor in Chief, Sean Ashcroft.
What is the SAP Centre of Excellence (CoE)?
We serve SAP customers, And also have internal stakeholders, such as the people in our sales and pre-sales teams, who we help with subject matter expertise. My team are from across all industries. They've actually been in the customers’ shoes. In CoE they become a trusted advisor, a link between the sales force and the customer.
The trusted advisor role is to become a thought leader. We pick up the trends of supply chain from around the globe - the impacts of technology and also enablers that come into that space. We guide the customer towards the direction they want to go in.
What is the biggest challenge faced by supply chain?
It's all around visibility. Supply chain visibility was lacking in the pandemic, and organisations have stepped up to close that gap. There were a lot of data silos in organisations.
The challenge is to break that down when it comes to planning, manufacturing and logistics. That's what I see people doing right now.
If we start to look a little further ahead I think sustainability will be the next big thing. Companies will be held accountable on that.
Part of the talk about visibility is about capturing the data that is necessary to pass on if organisations are to meet their sustainability goals. Businesses will have to start thinking about advertising their sustainability credentials as a marketing tool, because people will care more and more about this.
Where do you see tech taking supply chains?
The best way of describing what is going to happen is to say there will be a tapestry of digital threads. There's lots of information flying around and organisations have been able to connect into that.
If we take something like digital twin tech that we've been hearing about for the past 10 years or so, I think this will begin to benefit companies not only from an asset maintenance perspective, but also from a social perspective - in terms of how the company is plugged into the circular economy.
I also see technologies such as edge computing and 5G augmenting existing infrastructures.
And artificial intelligence has already surpassed human capability in being able to identify more information at a quicker rate, so from a quality perspective we're going to start seeing this being put into production lines.
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