Digital Transformation in the Supply Chain

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The supply chain is entering a new era of digital transformation — known as Procurement 4.0 — which helps manage costs and provides greater insight into operations. According to a recent Forrester report, a majority of businesses (65%) believe they are in this stage of development. But our newest report, Aligning the Supply Chain in the Age of the Delivery Economy, tells a different story, where 79% of supply chain professionals are still using a combination of suboptimal methods to manage transportation processes. 

As a result, many businesses are missing out on vital data collection, lack the ability to remain competitive in an evolving digital landscape, and are not able to meet the demands of the Delivery Economy — the pervasive sentiment in which consumers expect low cost, fast and highly transparent delivery of goods.

Missing Out on a Key Component to the Delivery Economy

One of the key features of the Delivery Economy is the growing demand for real-time tracking (minute-by-minute, mile-by-mile) and is a feature the majority of customers have come to expect. However, nearly three-quarters (73%) of supply chain professionals stated they don’t offer this level of tracking. Without embracing quality data and reliable analytics that come with this latest wave in digital transformation, real-time tracking is not possible, leaving companies at risk of not meeting customer expectations or transparent, fast delivery. 

Current Processes Need to Step Up Their Game

While supply chains are implementing transportation, warehouse, and order management systems to gain more precise insights, many are still using legacy and manual processes to manage and communicate ETAs, inventory, and more. 

Not only do these processes require a great deal of time and resources, they lead to delayed and incomplete access to important insights. Without access to this information as it’s occurring, stakeholders aren’t able to proactively adjust plans.

Supply chain professionals are using a combination of suboptimal methods to manage transportation processes:

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Source: Aligning the Supply Chain in the Age of the Delivery Economy

Out with the Old, In with the New

Our report found that nearly half (44%) of supply chain managers are concerned that their outdated systems are not equipped to handle changing or future needs of the Delivery Economy. Increasingly, the supply chain will have to turn to newer technologies to fuel operations.

For example, at project44, our Advanced Visibility Platform automates the complex task of consolidating, cleansing, normalizing, and enriching data into a format everyone can understand and act on. Direct API connections and integrations with ELD/​telematics providers allows access to high-quality data in real-time.

Seamless system integrations also ensure everyone’s working off the same information. Utilizing an API-centric approach allows seamless integration to the systems relied on daily and feeds data into the TMS, ERP and more — without any lag time.

Lastly, powerful analytic tools are key to helping managers and executives better understand the cause-and-effect relationship of occurrences in the supply chain and gain highly accurate ETAs. These tools help uncover performance data on shipments and carriers. They can also discover trends and patterns, which can be used to determine if issues are isolated or systemic. Analytics tools and insights are a valuable way for the supply chain to increase productivity and cost savings.

The Supply Chain is Moving Toward Procurement 4.0

Digital transformation in the supply chain has the potential to lower costs, fuel efficiency and offer valuable insight into data that can be shared across channels. It’s imperative the supply chain drops legacy methods and embraces new opportunities to achieve end-to-end visibility. When supply chain pros can predict delivery times based on historical data, track shipments despite the mode of transportation or global location, and give supply managers reliable and real-time updates, the supply chain can truly meet and exceed demands brought on from the Delivery Economy. 

Learn more about how supply chains are responding to the Delivery Economy.