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Digitization Era

Are You Ready for the Digital Supply Chain?


December 2, 2015


Supply Chain World published a bylined article by Russell Reynolds Associates' Ben Shrewsbury called “Digitization Era: Are You Ready for the Digital Supply Chain?” The article explores the challenges businesses face with digitization and how to best prepare for them. An excerpt from the article is below.

Digitization, together with today’s increasing proliferation of data, on everything from material flows to customer preferences, is rapidly changing the way companies do business, highlighting a powerful need for enhanced data management, analytics and talent.

In fact, the way organizations capture and use data is changing the manner in which those organizations work, creating a substantial difference in efficiency, costs and customer satisfaction.

Businesses are facing a revolutionary paradigm around big data, with a deluge of transactional information coming from social media, mobile devices, corporate purchasing, point of sale, GPS mapping and product sensors. Supply chain leadership that understands and can harness these inputs can create a powerful competitive advantage along the entirety of the supply chain, leading to reduced lost sales, increased efficiency and improved speed to market.

Data and digital tools can allow organizations to develop an end-to-end perspective on the way the supply chain can and should be structured, serving the customer more effectively – a move toward a true demand-driven supply chain. What is needed is the right talent, along with the appropriate technologies and tools. 

It is essential to ensure that supply chain leaders have the skills and experience to take full advantage of tools and technologies and to bring a new way of thinking and operating to the organization. “There is huge demand for analytics skills and insights into what is happening in the supply chain through network visualization, modeling and optimization,” one 3PL business leader points out.

Exploring the Issue
Through primary research and confidential interviews with chief executive officers (CEOs) and business leaders, Russell Reynolds Associates explored the essential human capital component of this digital transformation in the supply chain to shed new light on the capabilities required to manage digitization in the supply chain— and the skills that will be most critical in the future. Besides interviewing business leaders, we also analyzed the profiles of more than 50 senior supply chain executives across a range of industries to see how well-positioned they are for digitization.

Research indicates that the majority of supply chain leaders feel their organization is not yet well-positioned from a human capital standpoint to embrace digital supply chain transformation. As one consumer packaged goods (CPG) executive shares, “Supply chain leaders need to have an improved understanding of digital. The whole process flow, from forecasting to delivery, needs to be integrated from end to end—this is where supply chain leaders can step up and drive change.”

To read the full article, click here.

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Digitization Era