Fostering supply chain maturity through a shift to a digitized ecosystem in the cloud

January 15, 2021


The evolution of supply chain business models has been accelerated by unprecedented disruptions. As a result, there has been a clear shift from analog supply chains models of the past into a trajectory towards a digitalized ecosystem. These new business models recognize and necessitate the move to a digital and integrated supply chain that provides visibility and ease of use for consumers.

This journey is about moving towards a world where all parties participating across your network are connected to a single version of the truth. Supply chain thinking is shifting from ‘linear supply chains’ to ‘supply chain eco-systems’ propelled and supported by digital technologies.

Gartner has established a five-stage model of the journey to supply chain maturity, ranging from manual, analog systems to a fully digitalized ecosystem. Key differentiators along this evolutionary chain include consideration of data and collaboration, with the ultimate goal of integrating data across multiple systems to achieve a fully connected ecosystem that provides transparency and visibility for your company both internally and externally.

Why supply chains belong in the cloud

In line with the shift to digitalized supply chain ecosystems, a fully connected ecosystem on a shared cloud platform with increased reliance on automation and autonomous decision-making enables the continuous supply chain and real-time plan-execute-sense & respond capabilities. It is only through the continuous supply chain deploying these capabilities that establishes a closed loop across your supply network with visibility as core tenant that you can simultaneously optimize service levels, COGs & working capital.

Technology has evolved to where it can facilitate enhanced information sharing between members of the supply chain ecosystem, as well as allow organizations to effectively synthesize and interpret that information for improved decision-making. Modern platforms, such as the cloud—as well as modern tools, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT)—empower supply chain organizations to evaluate and implement decisions that drive the best possible outcomes.

Manual processes can hamper productivity and hinder decision-making. Today’s supply chain management requires automation, efficiency, and speed. Cloud-based tools can provide the capabilities that organizations need to effectively capture and act upon insightful analytics and information.

As organizations are able implement more proactive decisioning capabilities, less time is spent reacting. Cloud-based tools can help transform a rigid supply chain into one that possesses flexibility and agility to adjust as needed and stay ahead of the competition.

A modern, cloud-based supply chain solution deployment can often be implemented easily and quickly—with a new solution up and running in weeks, instead of the years it can take for a traditional, on-premises implementation. Cloud-based solutions typically include all the tools an organization could need to digitally manage its entire value chain.

Digital transformations can occur through strategic, well-planned processes—in small projects tailored for an organization’s bandwidth, budget, and immediate needs. The gains from each phase can even help to fund subsequent phases—early wins can build momentum and generate support during the transformation. As organizations continue to progress their supply chains through the digital maturation process, all parties involved will experience shared benefits and happier customers.

To learn more about how supply chain management is evolving, check out the complete best practices guide today.

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