Powering The Digital Supply Chain With Technology

Richard Howells

Part 3 of the “The Digital Supply Chain of One” series

Growing customer expectations for personalized products and immediate service are making supply chains more complex. And as businesses extend their reach globally, processes are further complicated.

More than ever, the entire supply chain network needs access to vital information, real-time data analytics, and internal and external collaboration tools.

So, where can businesses turn?

The evolving digital world requires innovative answers. Fortunately, technologies like the following are emerging and converging to help address these challenges faster than ever before.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is generating massive volumes of data, connecting everything from the products we buy to the cars we drive to the homes we live in. With products and assets becoming more connected and intelligent, the easier it will be to efficiently integrate predictive, automated activities with business processes. And as functions get smarter, new business models – based on data from goods, assets, machines, and vehicles – will begin taking hold, ushering in an era of new and radically adaptable businesses.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence

The wave of Big Data flooding business is helping make assets smarter through embedded, easy-to-consume machine learning capabilities. Organizations are taking advantage of insights based on artificial intelligence and business analytics to support competitive capabilities such as predictive maintenance and usage-based billing.

Predictive analytics

Within Big Data is an abundance of unstructured contextual information – weather, traffic, social media trends, and demand signals – that offer companies real-time, 360-degree views of their supply chains. Businesses are using this information to identify new opportunities and mitigate risks as the entire value chain becomes more transparent. By leveraging this data to support predictive analytics, decision makers can pinpoint trends and optimize operations faster than ever – a critical competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced environment.

Blockchain

Blockchain, though a young technology, has the potential to accelerate supply-chain digitalization by securing transactions, ensuring traceability and chain of ownership, and shoring up cybersecurity.

Laying the foundation for your digital supply chain

With innovative technologies providing a roadmap for the future, companies are beginning to see the full potential of a digital supply chain. To make this a reality, knowing when and how to use these technologies is key.

IoT, for example, generates huge amounts of data. Predictive analytics and machine learning process this data to make it smarter. And by leveraging artificial intelligence, the data can be used to automate processes, with blockchain ensuring the processes remain traceable and secure.

To learn more about how to enable a smart, connected digital supply chain of one for today’s digital economy, read this free IDC Infobrief.


About Richard Howells

Richard Howells is a Vice President at SAP responsible for the positioning, messaging, AR , PR and go-to market activities for the SAP Supply Chain solutions.