How Digitization Can Improve Processes and Visibility

By Sue Doerfler

Some organizations have embarked on a road toward digitizing processes and their supply chains. And the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic likely will cause others to adopt automation and other digitized practices to increase resiliency, streamline manual processes, provide efficiencies and move talent into more strategic roles.

But what if they don’t? What if they continue to rely on manual processes?

Organizations that don’t move forward with digitization will likely lose customers and fall behind their competition, according to according to a report from Supply Chain Management Review.

Digital Supply Chain Management: What’s the Cost of Doing Nothing?

notes that supply management organizations face escalating challenges and complexities, including working with new suppliers and facilities in new regions as well as the need for more visibility into their supply chains and real-time capabilities. Of particular challenge: (1) collection and sharing of data can differ by supplier and (2) the importance of meeting customer needs.

Implementing an integrated ERP system that can track and store data across departments, customers, employees and other areas can help, the report states. Such a system can enable companies, whether manufacturers, distributors or others, gain better insight and improve decision-making capabilities.

While digitization can sound overwhelming and expensive, the cost of not doing so can be greater, according to the report. Among the suggestions:

  • Starting small, which will make the project more manageable
  • Adopting more functionalities over time
  • Collaborating with suppliers and vendors, some of which will experience similar challenges
  • Using a cloud-based ERP system, which can ease the digital adoption process and offer flexibility and scalability.

“As the pace of change increases,” the report states, “businesses can’t afford to wait on the next technology update, nor can they spare resources to implement those upgrades, diverting resources from value-add initiatives that improve company strategies and operations.”

About the Author

Sue Doerfler

About the Author

As Senior Writer for Inside Supply Management® magazine, I cover topics, trends and issues relating to supply chain management.