Failing Fast – How to Evaluate and Leverage Technology to Build a Supply Chain for the Digital Age

The looming disruption from digital supply chain technologies is creating increased pressure on supply chain teams to get their arms around this new reality, according to new White Paper from the University of Tennessee Global Supply Chain Institute titled “A SAVVY Guide to the Digital Supply Chain.”

The paper suggests that supply chains, and the organizations which support them, are in the early stages of a digital transformation that will likely represent the biggest change in the integrated supply chain era.

This transformation is creating new and complex supply chain requirements and pressures—including those for sustainability, cost efficiency, transparency, speed, disruption and risk mitigation. This along with the reality that most supply chain organizations are operating with systems built for another, more siloed, era when end-to-end visibility and monitoring of a complete supply chain were not necessities.

Digital supply chains offer the promise of solutions for these challenges. However, they also bring fundamentally change to the practice of supply chain management. This paper defines the most prominent digital technologies that supply chain managers are likely to confront over the next three years and summarizes the emerging trends uncovered from a series of field research interviews with senior supply chain and technology experts across multiple industries. These trends include:
–Rethinking data
–Technology stacking
–Internal collaboration and realignment
–External collaboration
–New capabilities, businesses, and processes
–Sustaining human capital
–The changing nature of work

The paper then introduces the SAVVY framework to help leaders make informed decisions about supply chain digitalization technology. The SAVVY framework leads supply chain management executives through a process of assessing where digitalization might be successfully employed within their organizations on the following dimensions:
Sources of data
Analytical capabilities
Variety of applications across the supply chain
Value provided to the organization
Your changing role

The paper also includes a digital supply chain maturity assessment to help assess how your organization has transformed its supply chain to meet the challenges of the digital economy.

The paper does a good job of helping supply chain teams up the learning curve so they can make better and more informed decisions regarding the digital supply chain technologies available to drive the performance improvements that consumers are demanding.

It also comes with a warning that supply chain leaders must begin to incorporate this new paradigm into their organizations or risk being quickly and irreversibly left behind by competitors who do so. The good thing about some of these technologies is that up-front costs and risks of adoption are being reduced. Top companies are finding ways to fail fast. This involves empowering employees and teams to take calculated risks.

The paper can be downloaded here.

The newly releases 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report – Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Innovation also covers this important topic. Download it here.