How to Build An Intelligent, Predictive, and Connected Supply Chain


Growth in the industry and fierce competition are often cited as the top reasons behind supply chain transformation. But according to 45 percent of businesses, technology tops the list. Fifty percent of companies consider data and analytics as a prime driver of change, while 42 and 40 percent of enterprises say IoT, artificial intelligence, and ML are the key transformation drivers, respectively.

In this blog, we explore how you can begin digitizing the supply chain for your enterprise and what benefits you can expect.

A Connected Supply Chain Increases Visibility and Control

To gain maximum supply chain visibility, you need to maximize connectedness. It is critical that this connectedness is not confined to the supply chain partners, but extends to include “smart things” as well, as we design and manufacture smart assets.

To leverage partnerships to their full potential, it is important to have a comprehensive approach. The typical organization today is only digitally connected to 10 percent of its key suppliers, leaving a whopping 90 percent of partners in the dark where processes are manual and visibility is hampered.

Suppliers are only a part of the puzzle. A connected supply chain brings everyone in the purview of digital and achieves total visibility creating an end-to-end digital supply chain. A holistically connected supply chain will include logistics service providers, design and research teams, equipment manufacturers, and manufacturing partners.

To further enhance the visibility and control, we need to connect all assets functioning within our network. Perhaps, on this front, an organization is only 5-10 percent connected, leaving a wide opportunity for improvement.

Organizations can aim to connect assets such as equipment on the shop floor, trucks on the road, robots in the warehouse, and much more. Embedded sensors which gather data regarding key metrics such as asset location, health, temperature, can help achieve improved visibility into operational data.

A connected supply chain results into the ability to minimize inventory levels efficiently, improve responsiveness, accelerate execution, and optimize costs even in the face of uncertainty and volatility.

A Predictive Supply Chain Drives Improved Outcomes

Insights into the new data gathered from a connected supply chain can help determine what happened in the past and predict what could in the future. Today, organizations are leveraging data to predict patterns in their supply information to enable better forecasts and outcome predictions.

This is a huge step forward from the traditional reactive supply chain that is always chasing alerts and putting off fires in real-time circumstances. Instead, organizations are now using ML and predictive analytics to see what’s coming and take proactive measures to minimize or eliminate a negative impact on functions.

With insights constantly coming in from trends, customer behavior, social media, and so on, businesses are gaining a deeper understanding of what their customers want and responding faster to their demands.

Predictive capabilities can optimize a variety of processes and bring a host of benefits:

  • Improved equipment uptime and availability owing to proactive measures taken after monitoring and analyzing sensor data with predictive maintenance.
  • The ability to detect and bypass potential quality issues with predictive quality management. Combine data on asset operations, quality tests, warranty claims, and social media sentiment to analyze the complete picture.
  • On-time delivery by leveraging data from current weather and traffic conditions, and combining it with connected vehicle data to track and trace dynamic routes and optimize them.
  • Predicting demand by consolidating data from point of sale systems, customer sentiments, and more with third-party market trends analytics.

An Intelligence Supply Chain Delivers Outstanding CX

An automated supply chain will eliminate manual labor from various aspects of a business such as equipment manufacturing on the shop floor, moving goods within the warehouse, counting inventory and sounding low-availability alarms, and so on.

One critical area ready for automation is leveraging real-time information to drive DDMRP – demand-driven material requirements planning processes. Drive material and information flow by actual demand. 

You can dampen the effect of supply and demand variation by measuring dynamics inventory buffers and assigning them at decoupling points. Therefore, inventory replenishment can be driven by actual demand rather than guesswork.

Intelligence infused into supply chains creates one that is self-correcting, allowing experts to devote more time towards high-value, strategic issues that help enhance the customer experience.

Integration from Design to Operation

To do this, you require integration across several phases, including design, planning, manufacturing, operations, and delivery. This integration does not demand organizational restructuring or breaking it down into silos.

Instead, data flow can be designed to create bridges across the existing silos, something that can be done leveraging today’s intelligent, connected technologies.

New products can be designed with insights into customer demand, delivery execution challenges, manufacturing, and operations. 

As circumstances change along the way, the digital, connected, intelligent, and predictive supply chain will offer the agility to adapt to those changes seamlessly. Such a supply chain can go a long way in helping organizations thrive in this digital economy of many struggles, where customers demand more and better, every day.

itelligence India helps empower supply chains with intelligent ERPs like SAP S/4HANA. As an SAP platinum partner, we are committed to bringing the best in your supply chain by enabling digital transformation for your enterprise. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation with our experts.

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