3 Ways the DCI Toolkit Helps Your Customers Get Started in Their Digital Supply Chain Transformation

While the MHI Annual Industry Report has been detailing the benefits of a digital supply chain for the past eight years, not every organization has been able to launch its own transformation process. One reason for the lag is that many top leaders (and/or their organizations) lack the mindset required to make a digital supply chain happen.

To help companies overcome that barrier to adoption of digital technologies and innovations, MHI unveiled a free self-assessment tool, the Supply Chain Digital Consciousness Index (DCI), in 2019. The online resource helps an organization quickly assess its current digital mindset, as well as gauge its progress on the journey toward technology adoption. Users rate their operation’s awareness level with a digital maturity classification (dormant, developing, heightened or elevated) across the categories of leadership, innovation/technology, customer engagement, talent, and workplace environment.

However, simply knowing where one’s organization stands on the path to creating a digital supply chain isn’t enough. That’s why, a year later, MHI unveiled the DCI Toolkit to help companies increase their digital mindset across all five categories. If your customers are stuck on the road to digital transformation, here are three ways the DCI Toolkit will help kickstart their journey:

1. Prioritize focus. To use the DCI Toolkit, it is first necessary to complete the online DCI self-assessment, which typically takes less than 30 minutes. Based on the differential in ranking between a company’s current and desired digital state, the system automatically recommends the order of prioritization for focus on each category.

In recognition that the magnitude of the gap between the two states might paralyze some operations, preventing them from taking the first step, the DCI Toolkit specifically advises users to pursue improvement in categories that require the least amount of effort. Why? Because to gain organizational buy-in it’s important to first grab the low hanging fruit to demonstrate progress.

By focusing attention first on the things that are concrete, achievable, and relatively easy to do, a supply chain operation can achieve a digital success upon which the next steps can be taken. Even incremental progress can have a big impact when making a digital cultural shift.

2. Develop action items. Based on where a company currently falls on the digital maturity spectrum, a customized series of prescriptive actions is provided by the DCI Toolkit. The recommendations are intuitive, accessible, and focused on helping a company fill in the gaps between their current and desired digital state.

Notably, the action items are intended to advance a company progressively through the digital maturity classifications. That is, one-by-one, as opposed to leapfrogging from dormant to elevated, for example. Attempting a significant — rather than step-by-step — change can lead to wasted time and investment, as well as potentially prompt an operation to abandon the total effort.

Interestingly, it’s been observed that changes made in the lower current states (dormant to developing) deliver greater potential for digital supply chain transformation than those made in the higher states (heightened to elevated). That’s because progress made in the initial phases of a digital supply chain journey tends to deliver significant results, while advancements made within the later phases are generally refinements or extensions of earlier capabilities.

3. Set realistic timeframes. Depending on an individual company’s needs, either one or multiple DCI categories (leadership, innovation/technology, customer engagement, talent, and workplace environment) can be tackled first. However, it is important to strike a balance between prioritizing a digital transformation and not expecting results overnight. Typical timeframes for digital technology rollouts across multiple scenarios are included.

Ultimately, the DCI Toolkit urges users to accept failure as part of the process, test digital technologies in small pilot projects, learn from the outcomes to apply those experiences moving forward, and quickly scale up successes. Supply chain organizations willing to measure their DCI and tackle the barriers to innovation by leveraging the latest digital technologies will benefit from a transformation backed by experimentation, ingenuity, and innovation.

The time to act is now. Introduce your customers to the DCI Toolkit today.