Digitisation in Supply Chain: A Must in Today’s Market


Undoubtedly, we have reached an era where digitisation is no longer optional for supply chain companies and functions. With the rising unpredictability and uncertainty in the market, it becomes even more important to adapt quickly. 

Whether you’re an automotive manufacturer that depends a lot on products that you can only source from a specific country or an eCommerce company hoping to get a more precise grasp of future market trends, you’re bound to experience the impact firsthand.

Understanding Digitisation

Digitisation often comes hand in hand with digital transformation and digitalisation. Whilst some easily confuse one for the other, they have, in fact, several distinctions

For starters, digitisation refers to transforming information in analog format into digital. On the one hand, digitalisation refers to the process that uses technologies and the digitised data to improve how companies and customers engage or interact, creating new potential revenue streams.  

Digital transformation, on the other hand, is the transformation of processes, business activities, models and products to take advantage of digital technologies. An excellent example of this would be transferring data from a PDF document to a Google Sheet format so an organisation can analyse data.

Benefits of Digitisation for Supply Chains

In a huge way, the increased demand for digitisation has brought never-seen-before innovations in various industries, including supply chain and procurement. Two examples of benefits that supply chains enjoy from digitizing their processes are improved speed and reduced cost. 

That’s because, improving operations on a tech level allows for a significant reduction of time spent on making strategic decisions and improving an organisation’s operational efficiency.

Consequently, as supply chains become more cost-efficient, they can significantly reduce their pricing, boosting sales and revenue. 

Besides these two benefits, here are other potential advantages that supply chains can enjoy with the help of digitisation:

  • Greater transparency 
  • Run production processes based on market demand
  • Ability to connect multiple sources of data
  • Reduced lead times and inventory costs
  • Improved cashflow

The Role of Digitisation in Addressing The Recent Global Crisis

Recently, Brian Umbenhauer, Deloitte Private’s leader for consulting, shared some of the critical findings of their firm’s survey on how private organisations managed global supply chain crisis. 

In his discussion, he pointed out that companies and functions that have embraced resiliency by focusing on technologies like AI, robotics, cloud, and cybersecurity have helped many companies stay afloat and thrive during the pandemic. 

However, he noted that while a significant fraction of supply chains today had made significant strides towards enhancing their digitisation efforts before the health crisis blew up, there are still plenty of companies and functions playing catch-up.

How Companies Strive to Complete their Digitisation Journey

The demand for digitizing SCM processes is definitely here to stay. As a result, traditional supply chain players that won’t budge risk themselves of becoming irrelevant. That’s because the new way of doing business today has become more customer-centric than the traditional approach. 

For that to happen, businesses need to seize the value-generating opportunities that new and innovative tech solutions offer. These digital technologies include the following:

  • Blockchain  – As a secure option for data distribution, blockchain technology helps enhance shipment visibility and gain the trust of valued partners.
  • Robotics – RPA or robotic process automation can boost automation levels, reducing risks of errors and reducing the waiting time.
  • Augmented reality – It can significantly alter how warehouses and cross-docking areas pick up and pack items, allowing businesses to save money on handling costs.
  • Autonomous logistics – It helps reduce dependency on human drivers and provides more insights that can revolutionise logistics. 
  • SaaS – Software and Service solutions drive operational agility because of their standardised and more easy-to-use interface.
  • Big Data Analytics – By enabling a data-centric ecosystem, businesses can derive more streamlined information on things like 3PLs (third-party logistics), vehicle diagnostics, advertising response data, financial business forecasts, and traffic data from sensors.  
  • Cloud computing – Notably, thousands of companies in the industrial sector were compelled to migrate their data to the cloud amidst the pandemic. Today, they reap the benefits as cloud adoption provides better integration of systems.
  • Apps or programs for remote working – Understandably, the previous COVID-19 lockdowns have forced companies to opt for a remote-working set up temporarily. However, it can be noted that those who have already started their digitisation efforts found it easier to transition to the new work arrangements than others.

Your Partner in Finding SCM and Procurement Talents

Indeed we can expect to see many more changes, specifically tech-driven ones, in various global supply chains. It would be great to see how specific industries will adapt and thrive after this crisis passes. 

For sure, we will see fast-paced changes among SCM and procurement businesses and function that will eventually lead to increased demand for talent recruitment. Organisations can definitely benefit from having a fresh set of eyes as well as business and tech-savvy talents who can help with the team’s digitisation efforts. 

If you’re also looking to build your team with digitisation professionals, our specialist SCM recruiters at Supply Advisory can help! Please feel free to get in touch with our team via our contact page or send us an email at info@supplyadvisory.com


Aileen Apuntar-Laqui is the Director – Operations & Research at The Supply Advisory (a division of Datasearch Consulting), a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in Procurement & Supply Chain.

You can view the The Supply Advisory website or contact them directly at info@supplyadvisory.com for a more detailed discussion.

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