digital transformation of supply chains

Impact of digital transformation on supply chains: George Harb, OpenText

The pandemic and the Russia Ukraine war, as we already know, has impacted several sectors in the IT industry. However, supply chains disruption is probably one of the most troubling occurrence that the industry had to go through over the past two years, which ended up impacting businesses and consumers severely. George Harb, regional vice president – APAC for Business Ecosystems at OpenText, in a recent interaction with Dataquest said that digital transformation of supply chains is the only way to overcome these disruptions.

DQ: How has digital transformation impacted supply chains?

George Harb: Digital transformation has allowed organizations to be a part of a much bigger and larger ecosystem. There has been an impact of COVID-19 on Indian consumers, most say that purchasing ethically sourced or produced items matter to them and a significant proportion admits that it has only started to matter to them in the last couple of year or so. This change in consumer behavior has prompted organizations to rethink their strategies.  Investing in the right digital technology is now essential to building a strong supply chain network that can withstand disruptions and changing consumer demands. 

Every organization should invest in systems and solutions that integrate with the broader ecosystem; operating in isolation is no longer a viable route for long-term success. There has been a ripple effect of digital transformation on global supply chains, it has resulted in creating a groundswell of opportunities to deliver improved customer experiences through more seamless communications and faster decision-making. To build an ethical supply chain, an organization must have access to information that it can trust. The acceleration of digital transformation initiatives such as the cloud will be the future of organizations’ operations and increase transparency.

DQ: What are some of the characteristics of the modern supply chain?

George Harb: As the modern supply chain incorporates more organizations across a broader geographic footprint than ever before, it becomes increasingly complex. Below are the characteristics of a modern supply chain

  • Importance of the consume: Ethical choices for consumers has increased with technology facilitating collaboration and transparency in the supply chain. This has become increasingly important for today’s environmentally conscious and socially responsible consumers. Consumers have become alert and now they prioritize buying from organizations that make it clear they have ethical sourcing strategies in place.To meet such kinds of needs, investing in technology by the manufacturers has allowed them to share data in real-time. It gives them clearer visibility into partner performance, and practices, which is making it much easier to establish. This results to operate an ethical supply chain that appeals to the demands of today’s consumers. 

There are still a few manufacturers that are simply dragging along with their digital transformation efforts, but on the other hand, it is quite evident that many others are recognizing this opportunity and using emerging technologies to accelerate progress. The combination of IoT, AI, and data analytics will ensure an efficient and resilient supply chain, but it will also deliver maximum transparency into the working practices of supply chain partners and give organizations the opportunity to earn customer loyalty by demonstrating that their entire supply chain operates ethically.

  • The next level: acceleration of the digital transformation

To take it to the next level and build true resilience, organizations need to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives so their supply chain ecosystems can integrate data analytics, transactional content, and security, while providing robust activity reporting, content creation, and receiving capabilities dashboards. 

The heart of the fourth industrial revolution is the emerging technologies. AI and data analytics are transforming the speed at which manufacturers are creating products by using past data to recognize which methods work most efficiently. Hence, it’s not at all surprising to see that many organizations are embracing these emerging technologies to drive growth. Consumers are already aware that there’s no Planet B, and organizations es need to make strides in their operations and supply chain processes to show they are actioning what’s needed to protect and restore our planet for the future.

DQ: Why should organizations invest in technology in the supply chain?

George Harb: We are in times when organizations have to trade their traditional norms and values to suit a new set of consumer demands and expectations. While technology is transforming organizations’ capabilities, the same applies to supply chains. The global-supply chain networks that have been created years ago are being transformed into a contemporary nature of agility and flexibility, to provide resilience in an increasingly volatile world. The aim of the supply-chain system is to help optimize efficiency and profitability which aligns the supply and demand aspect with logistics and the consumers. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) a software, which does a lot of the hard work for the organization, helping organizations es to thrive in a market that is completely saturated with competition.  An organization will be better enabled to run leaner operations, strengthen supplier relationships, and forecast with confidence, courtesy of the help you get from timely information and insights provided by the ERP system.

DQ: How can organizations utilize the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast supply chain disruption?

George Harb: The pandemic’s effect on the supply chain- has been tested across the globe. The combination of IoT, AI, and data analytics provides organizations with access to intelligent supply chain data that will analyze activities within the organization and with downstream partners and even measure them. To take it to the next level and build true resilience organizations need to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives so their supply chain ecosystems can integrate data analytics, transactional content, and cybersecurity, while providing robust activity reporting, content creation, and receiving capabilities dashboards. The required information must enable transparency and securely between employees, organizations departments, and extended organizations networks with the help of modern technology, like the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and big data to connect all stages of the supply chain. IoT is known to take the level of transparency to another level by combining organizations’ assets with digital assets. The organization can pull information from devices or shelves, monitoring what’s being picked up and what’s being returned. It helps organizations es understand production lines and capacities, identify failures, and put in place a contingency to increase productivity.

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