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Modernizing supply chains for the digital age

by Nicole D'Angelo, SAPinsider Assistant Editor

February 16, 2017

The way consumers think about the products they purchase has changed dramatically, which has triggered an equally dramatic change in the way supply chains operate. This means that modern supply chains look very different from those of just a few years ago — they are more connected, more intelligent, and more agile.

So, what’s driving this change? The short answer is technology. Innovative enterprise solutions and changes in consumer technologies are creating a faster pace of business, the need for greater agility to respond to changing markets, and consumers who are demanding more personalized products. If an organization’s supply chain cannot keep pace with these trends, that business is likely to fall behind the competition.

Standard, traditional methods of manufacturing goods and moving them from one place to another are no longer sufficient to keep up in the digital age. So how do you modernize your supply chain? There are four key areas in which you can make changes that will help you on your way.

1. Automated and simplified processes

Rapid business changes and immediate customer demand leave little room for manual, error-prone processes. Automation for tasks such as order management has become essential, reducing the risk of mistakes and making the entire supply chain more streamlined.

2. Accurate, high-quality data

Data is essential for every part of modern business operations, and the supply chain is no exception. Clean, accurate data enables enhanced visibility, accurate labeling, more efficiency, and higher customer satisfaction. 

3. Use of innovative technologies

Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are here, and supply chains must be ready. Strategic use of these technologies will enable organizations to establish a seamless connection among every aspect of the digital supply chain and move the business forward at a more rapid rate.  

4. Flexibility for constant reinvention

As supply chains move forward into the digital age, it’s important to look beyond traditional expectations. Resistance to change can hold organizations back from achieving their full potential. More than anything, businesses must be open to reinvention — wherever that may lead.

How do I get there?

To learn more about how to achieve a successful digital supply chain, view the Extended Supply Chain special report in the January-March 2017 issue of SAPinsider.  

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