Industry Trends

How Digitizing Supply Chain Processes Improves Visibility

Many companies have shifted to digital infrastructure in recent years, but digital transformation is often fraught with barriers and problems that can disrupt supply chain operations. In fact, 70–80% of digital transformation programs fail to meet their goals, according to recent Forbes surveys. How can businesses avoid common pitfalls and construct a successful road map for digitalizing their supply chains?

Transportation management systems, visibility platforms, real-time tracking systems, and data infrastructure solutions are critical components in the supply chain technology evolution. These innovations help drive digitization efforts and lead to improved operational efficiency, service quality, data insights, and cost savings.

A digital end-to-end supply chain process takes a centralized approach to data management, integrating information from disparate systems to create a comprehensive view of supply chain performance and promote strategic decision-making. This blog will examine the benefits of digitalizing the supply chain, specifically improving E2E visibility for better data insights. 

Challenges in Modern Supply Chain Management

Modern supply chain management presents numerous challenges that businesses must address to remain competitive and efficient. From dismantling data silos to managing supply chain risks, these obstacles require innovative strategies and technological solutions. 

Overcoming Data Silos

The fragmentation of internal systems and the integration of complex external systems pose significant challenges in achieving cohesive supply chain management. Companies often face difficulties with disparate systems like SAP or Oracle not communicating effectively and with WMS and TMS only partially integrated into ERP systems, complicating both internal and external visibility. This lack of integration can make it seemingly impossible to standardize data and make informed decisions.

A solution lies in pinpointing essential data points across the supply chain, covering everything from inventory and logistics to external factors like weather and market trends. By centralizing data through supply chain management software and employing APIs for real-time visibility, companies can overcome silos and integrate data from numerous sources. Utilizing data mining tools to gather insights from external data, like social media and industry reports, further enhances decision-making and supply chain efficiency.

Managing Supply Chain Risks

PwC’s 2024 survey data highlights the critical importance of risk mitigation, with supply chain disruptions (46%) and cyber threats (40%) topping the list of concerns for operations professionals. Hence, a shift from reactive crisis management to proactive resilience planning is needed. 

Furthermore, the complexity of risk management—covering prediction, identification, and recovery—demands a strategic overhaul of digital tools. Insights from PwC suggest a targeted approach in upgrading technology can pinpoint and bolster weak spots in risk management, urging a reevaluation of digital strategies to align with contemporary challenges.

Modernizing Supply Chain Software to Enhance Digitalization

The latest generation of supply chain software not only collects data from a wide range of sources and devices but also communicates it promptly and efficiently. Supply chain executives may access information from every part of the supply chain through integrated and networked data interchange, boosting accuracy, traceability, and operational efficiency.

Businesses can use newfound visibility to identify new patterns and tendencies, allowing them to make more holistic business choices. According to a recent McKinsey report, almost 80% of organizations have incorporated such visibility dashboards to amplify and optimize the supply chain management process.

Most significantly, data consolidation provides insights that speed up the order-to-cash cycle, resulting in a supply chain that is quicker, more flexible, and more efficient.

Because supply networks continue to change, investing in technology to automate end-to-end supply chain processes is essential for establishing the flexibility and agility needed to stay competitive.

Technological Innovations That Enhance Digitalized Supply Chain Processes

Leveraging technological innovations is pivotal for enhancing the efficiency and transparency of supply chain processes. From integrating advanced artificial intelligence to adopting blockchain technologies, these advancements offer opportunities for streamlining operations and improving overall supply chain visibility.

The Role of AI

How ready are executives to invest in modernizing their supply chain processes through artificial intelligence? Here are some numbers from a Gartner press release distributed in January 2024:

  • 66% of respondents said the roll-out of Generative AI was already part of their supply chain planning process.
  • The amount reserved for this particular tech was reported at 5.8% of the annual 2024 budget on average.

According to Gartner, the motivation behind adopting GenAI lies in its vast potential to boost productivity, make businesses more agile, and cut expenses.

Supply Chain, On-Chain

Blockchain is another technology capable of transforming supply chain processes, particularly in regard to security and transparency.

The immutable and decentralized nature of blockchain ensures a tamper-proof ledger, reducing the risk of counterfeiting and enhancing product authenticity. At the same time, smart contracts automate supply chain processes, reducing manual record-keeping and enabling secure, transparent financial transactions. Additionally, blockchain helps with risk management by providing a comprehensive and unalterable record of events, from tracking raw material origins to ensuring compliance with regulations.

Supply chain digitization is undoubtedly necessary for modern companies, with AI and blockchain technologies proving to be essential. 

How Can Visibility Software Facilitate Digitalized Supply Chain Processes?

Being well-connected with suppliers and logistics partners keeps businesses up-to-date on critical supply chain processes and helps them identify potential risks early. A high level of visibility makes it easier to respond to issues quickly and minimize the consequences of unexpected disruptions. As companies attempt to make their supply chains more agile, they face the reality of increasingly complex data sets from a wide range of systems. Making sense of all this new data can be challenging, but when paired with well-designed integration and automation, this data can be used to achieve new levels of visibility that extend beyond simple shipment tracking.

An advanced supply chain visibility software solution is a convenient and streamlined way to obtain true end-to-end visibility. These systems allow all stakeholders to access activity and transaction data and detailed shipment information in a clear and integrated environment.

Accelerating Your Supply Chain with Agistix

Agistix is a global supply chain visibility platform that enables businesses to keep a finger on the pulse of their supply chains, reaching true visibility through data centralization.

Agistix’s solutions support the requirements of today’s quickly evolving data interfaces and formats, enabling businesses to make non-disruptive and efficient changes. Our advanced platform offers multifunctional, easy-to-use supply chain visibility solutions accessible wherever and whenever you need them–in the office or on the go.

Ready to learn more? Book a consultation to see how our supply chain management solutions can work for you.

Author

Trevor Read

President at Agistix based in San Francisco. I am an entrepreneur with a passion for data, and technology. I am results-oriented and committed to developing fast-deployment solutions to help customers seize the new opportunity coming from big data in the global supply chain.