Many companies are waking up to the power of data and analytics to improve their marketing efforts but seemingly few are beginning to embed digital transformation and technology into their supply chain practice in a strategic and meaningful way.
This presents a huge opportunity for early adopters, especially in non-tech-focused industries like construction and engineering. By pursuing a path of data and digitalisation in the supply chain, companies can begin to drive significant competitive advantage by rethinking their approach to their suppliers using data – not contracts.
We believe there are five main benefits to embedding a digital strategy and data-led approach to your supply chain operation.
Supply Chain Design
Many companies are focused, quite rightly, on the here and now – satisfying customer demand and aligning sourcing, production and operational; and infrastructure requirements to meet the market today and tomorrow.
The challenge is that long-term planning often gets left on the table and crucial decisions for investment and restructuring can’t be effectively planned without detailed and digitalised supply chain data.
You can’t base a five or ten-year supply chain strategy on anecdotal, qualitative information, often loaded with bias from the last week or month. It’s a sub-optimal decision-making process that compounds risks and when you’re operating in today’s disruptive business environment any measures to ameliorate potential problems, minimise risk and enhance resilience are welcome.
As we’ve already hinted at above, the ability to analyse data quickly and easily gives you the ability to make better decisions across the entire organisation. Whether it’s a salesperson pushing for a product variation to satisfy a particularly tricky customer or strategically planning new product lines for five years, having data-powered discussions can remove the emotion from the proceedings.
Data is the ultimate leveller and helps dichotomise facts and opinions.
These data can then be discussed openly internally with different teams, or with suppliers and decisions made to flex between agility, resilience and commercial success. It balances being overly risk-averse with being bullish about potential success.
Data helps you model and test scenarios more completely rather than a suck-it-and-see approach that can leave you in the wind to any small fluctuations in the supply chain.
A data platform can be a great unifier within the business, beyond the immediate benefits for the supply chain and operations function.
Sure, you get the benefits of a single, universal view of your data, shared across your teams and simple self-service portals for suppliers to upload their documents, accreditations and a place to store your contracts… but the benefits reach far beyond this.
The unification of operations, sales, logistics and leadership teams is a huge benefit as the focus shifts to achieving a mission and vision rather than solving immediate problems, getting through an audit or clearing the inbox influxes. Data removes divisions.
The unification is also apparent between internal and external stakeholders too. Moving to a unified supply chain data platform like SourceDogg means that your suppliers also have clarity and transparency too. This allows them to align their goals with yours and your success is their success. Performance can be tracked and proactively worked on together. No supply base is infinite, so a carrot-and-stick approach is an outdated and largely unproductive way to work in 2022.
Foresight beats hindsight, and although we’re not advocating that a supply chain data platform can see the future and provide uncanny crystal ball-Esque predictions of the future – the vast array of data available helps immeasurably in anticipating the future.
We’ve seen huge disruptions across the world over the last few years and anchoring your tactical day-to-day operations in data can help fend off some of the unpredictability that is seemingly inevitable nowadays.
Data allows you to be more agile, to predict and model scenarios and plan accordingly – or at least recognise the risks and take them anyway for commercial gain.
For companies wishing to drive increases in revenue and profit, there are only a certain amount of levers to pull. Using a supply chain software platform that is powered by data means that you can gain both planning and productivity benefits that cannot be realised without it.
Whether it’s cutting down the admin busywork of searching through inboxes for relevant supplier info or running sourcing events or managing supplier relationships – this all takes a huge amount of time and effort for your staff.
Running any business can be extremely complex with lots of moving parts and change seems to be the only constant, so gains in operational effectiveness and efficiency help deal with this complexity by systemising and simplifying processes and minimising the chance for human error.
We may be biased of course, but we believe that implementing a data-driven supply chain software platform can be an incredible transformational step for businesses looking to grow and gain competitive advantage.
We work with a diverse array of customers across a multitude of industries and thousands of suppliers every day to help them realise the five benefits above. We’d love to help your supply chain teams too – so get in touch for a personalised demo with one of our supply chain experts.