Published 07. Aug. 2018
Digitalization of the Entire Supply Chain: The Why and the How
Bringing together technology, people and processes to realize business results.
As organizations strive to keep pace with customers’ rising expectations, supply chains are faced with a juggling act: balancing the needs of product customization, quality, delivery performance while under cost and time constraints. Add to this shorter product life cycles in many industries and an increasing pace of innovation impacting the supply chain. Organizations who are unable to quickly introduce new products run the risk of losing market share from being overrun by more agile or new competitors.
This changing environment makes accurate demand planning and forecasting more crucial than ever before, and businesses must find a more innovative approach to supply chain management. The key to this is the introduction of technology that enables the company to quickly and effectively gain visibility into the entire supply chain, react quickly to changing market demands – all of this in close collaboration with their business partners.
How do organizations respond?
The agility of the organization should expand to members of the extended supply chain to enable quicker and more accurate responsiveness. It’s about empowering the supplier network through collaboration. It’s about responding quicker and more cost effectively and creating real-time instantaneous communication with your business partners and treat them as an integral part of your supply chain and network.
Inventory is one of the most treasured assets a company has, but many companies fail to manage it efficiently. As the nature of supply chains changes due to shortening product life cycles, so must the strategies used to manage and improve inventory.
Technology has become critical to selecting and executing a supply chain inventory program. Companies should seek technologies that allow them to optimize the positioning of inventory across the supply chain and that facilitate collaborative inventory processes with business partners, helping to manage and forecast more effectively.
Realizing Value from Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can take a variety of forms to help organizations – machine learning, cognitive computing and deep learning, to name a few. A key deliverable from any of these technologies is finding the unseen patterns within your supply chain to identify and take advantage of value opportunities. Leveraging AI enables supply chain professionals to focus on more strategic multiplier value-adds to the business.
Hurdles to overcome obstacles to accelerate this journey
One of the obstacles companies face in accelerating collaboration across the supply chain is that not all suppliers are well-connected or willing to get on board. The issue typically doesn’t lie with the largest suppliers who are usually well-integrated with automated EDI connections. The challenge lies with the long tail suppliers with fewer transactions where the investment in 1:2:1 EDI connections and training isn’t viewed as worth the effort. While transactions with these suppliers might be lower volume and lower value, they can still be critical for your production and represent major reliability risk. So how do you include suppliers with differently vested roles in your supply chain? Millions of companies all over the world from all industries use SAP Ariba Network, a cloud-based network to manage their business relationships of their end-to-end supply chain.
This network is designed to enable a true digital collaborative approach, where buyers and suppliers collaborate on forecast, transactions, quality issues and manage their entire procurement process from source to settle, while controlling costs, finding new sources of savings and building an ethical supply chain. The SAP Ariba Network offers the appropriate interconnectivity with suppliers whether it is EDI, a supplier portal or smart email that matches the level of collaboration and is still hassle-free for buyers and suppliers to use and create full transparency without any latency across the entire supply chain and all the suppliers part of it.