Digital transformations are hard work and require more than just technology to be successful. In the countless times I’ve managed multi-party setups, the greatest obstacle was consistently the most intangible one: Trust. Companies today are networks, so if your partners aren’t on board with your vision, the solution you choose – no matter how robust – will ultimately fail. As you define your priorities, also use this process as an opportunity to consult your network about how your needs align.
Mention ‘supply chain Control Tower’ to anyone in the industry and they’ll nod in recognition. Ask anyone to define it and you’re likely to get a slightly different answer from nearly every person you ask. Why is that?
Software providers often latch the term onto different capabilities, depending on what sector or area of the supply chain they’re intending to address. Moreover, most control towers simply provide visibility and leave much to be desired about control, or actionability. They show users what’s going on (often in a limited scope of the supply chain) and if any corrective actions need to be taken, users tend to have to log in elsewhere to execute them. This also means that your corrective actions are only as good, timely, informed, and comprehensive as the system through which you’re mediating.
With all the technology being promoted, it’s incredibly challenging for companies to effectively weed through the noise and find a robust solution that will actually help with its full range of needs. Here’s a quick and practical guide to simplify the process.
We recently discussed how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (the psychological stages of human growth) applied to the supply chain (business growth within the industry). This evolution is closely linked with a digital transformation, which itself can be mapped according to a similar journey of fulfillment.
The guiding principles are the same: growth requires building one fundamental layer at a time in order to achieve full potential. Just as businesses must build their capabilities and networks one stage at a time, so too does a digital transformation strategy require various upgrades in technology and innovation to enable new business models through previously unimaginable functionality.
Tariffs, Brexit, and the issue of uncertainty are rampant in the news and have become hot topics for management and round table conferences. It’s increasingly clear that ‘easy fixes’ like stockpiling merchandise before a hike deadline or seeking exclusion options are impractical. They’re also not viable, long-term solutions for businesses that want to do more than just survive each disruption.
Visibility is often touted as the number one solution to the various, looming international trade policy changes – i.e. US-China punitive tariffs, the UK’s torturous divorce from the European Union, NAFTA/USMCA. But though it’s invaluable to see the highest areas of impact, it’s not a panacea.
Visibility alone is passive, and easy fixes are one-offs in an ever-changing landscape. If you want to truly master this new, global domain and stay ahead of the competition, here are five vital steps you can take to boost your supply chain resilience.
When you think of the supply chain, it’s easy to recall the antiquated notion of a literal chain of command and linear process. The chain begins at Point A, the order, and ends at Point B, the delivery of the product; what happens in between is as predictable and routine as goods flowing down an assembly track. When consumers were generally local and products typically unchanging, it was practical to invest in the same team of partners, routes, and practices.
The breakneck growth of the Internet has radically disrupted that paradigm. The continuous demand for newer, better offerings has shortened product lifecycles and upended the practice of stable partnerships. As dynamic networks are the new normal, technology has emerged to better form and manage these vital relationships.
About a decade ago, Satoshi Nakamoto shared an idealistic vision to remove the intermediaries – i.e. financial institutions – from monetary transactions between individuals. The Bitcoin network is a truly democratic solution, favoring autonomy, decentralization, and the greater good of the community. The rules surrounding its future growth and development are clear, and they bar any non-majority user groups from altering the core design.
The Bitcoin network owes its success to novelty; born of the modern world, it never had to contend with legacy transactions or link to physical assets. New bitcoins are simply “minted” directly into the network. However, the very features that make blockchain successful in this instance also hold it back from other use cases.
At the beginning of last year, we asked the question: Is 2018 the Year of Supply Chain Networks? We have since established that the answer is not only a resounding yes, but that these growing ecosystems now have a name: multi-enterprise supply chain business networks. They have become such a prominent staple of the industry that Gartner recognized them with a dedicated Magic Quadrant. Toward the end of the year, we ruminated on Why Multi-Enterprise Business Networks Add Value & How to Choose Wisely, which began to touch upon two important queries posed in the former article: What’s the best way to build and connect these networks? And what considerations should we take into account?
Growth, global expansion, and building complex networks of partnerships are a boon to businesses, but they also come at a price. Greater complexity invites greater risk and room for error, and if companies aren’t careful, they may easily enter into unwieldy processes and systems that are ineffective and inefficient.
Gartner just released their Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks. But what exactly are they and how can they help your business?
At its root, the term encapsulates how supply chains have evolved into complex networks involving multiple parties and partners. Across orders, organizations must communicate with everyone from manufacturing and warehousing to transportation partners, freight forwarders, distributors, retailers, and others. While having all these connections is certainly advantageous, the pressing question is: are you really making the most of what you have?
Supply chain networks are the future and we’re not the only ones speaking about it. Multi-Enterprise Business Networks are becoming a hot topic for analyst firms such as Gartner and many solutions are touting their network of partners and suppliers.
The definition of Supply chain visibility has evolved more than any other term in supply chain. From track and trace to multi-tier inventory, supply chain visibility is used to describe improvements in how we use data to track and make better decisions in our supply chain.
Today, we would like to talk about end-to-end supply chain visibility and how organizations are using supply chain orchestration in order to get real-time actionable visibility into the orders that are being executed throughout their end-to-end supply chains. This is key.
Digitization has changed everything. It’s changed not only how we interact but how we make decisions with readily available information. This accessibility to information and organizations has flattened the playing field for every organization as they look to market and sell their wares.
Supply chain networks and our ability to collaborate across them is becoming a critical core competency for successful supply chain operations. With more external parties and partners involved in helping us to deliver a positive customer experience through the supply chain, it’s critical that we evolve how we think about these parties, their impact on business success and how we consistently improve collaboration across them.
Aftermarket services are a critical part of the “customer economy” and operating flawlessly can increase revenues and help with customer retention. However, in a recent survey of retailers by ARC Advisory Group and DC Velocity, less than half (42%) have the ability to measure the full financial impact of returns.
With today’s growing supply chain complexity, we’re seeing organizations struggle to deliver customer value with their supply chains at a cost that helps to make their business profitable.
It’s a huge problem that is getting more difficult by the day as organizations and supply chain professionals look for answers in their strategies and the technologies they use as the foundation for their supply chains. Oftentimes, the solution is not replacing the legacy systems they have in place but by connecting and extending them with a supply chain control tower.