In just about every industry, technology teams don’t have to argue with leadership too fiercely to enact company-wide information digitization. All it takes for crucial corporate records to go irretrievably missing is for a paper to get caught in a gust and land in the recycling bin. Gone forever. Crisis ensues.
Now that most processes are digitized (even your grocery list) and technology has proven itself to be reliable, supply chain professionals should consider strengthening their supply chain through digitization. The more processes that workers can conduct within an online portal or entrust to automation, the more smoothly and resilient the supply chain will be.
For the next supply chain digitization effort you enact, make sure that you focus on these five steps to optimize your supply chain operations.
The first step in any supply chain digitization push should be to ensure visibility into the entire operation. Supply chains have a lot of moving parts whilst they move parts. A transparent view of processes and progress spread across the globe can identify bottlenecks and opportunities for creating efficiencies. Integrating all your systems with one central portal is the best way to monitor every supply chain segment effectively.
Automation doesn’t replace humans. It enhances their work and when humans and machines work together, they can achieve more than either one can solo. The more processes you can entrust to machines, the more productive and predictable your supply chain will be.
When you’re shopping around for various digitization solutions, evaluate the automation capabilities. How much can be automated? Can you automate additional processes over time? Ask those same two questions about your own supply chain operations. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other automation technologies will only advance with time. Make sure that you’re designing your operations and technological support to insert automation where possible.
An area where automation is already saving time is bill of materials management. Quotengine provides instant quotes for entire bills of materials (BOMs). And it takes minimal effort from you: simply upload your hundreds-parts-long BOM and have 4,000 electronic component offers at your fingertips.
An analytics and market intelligence solution allows supply chain leaders to make proactive decisions, not reactive ones. In an industry rife with disruption, organizations that are more versatile and adaptable win. To do so, electronic component distributors that utilize predictive analytics obtain actionable insights regarding future disruptions. When leaders have a view into the market’s next move, key details can help them capitalize on market shifts. For instance, Datalynq monitors and alerts users to cost savings opportunities and real-time inventory to inform near-future electronic parts purchasing.
The ability to smoothly expand and contract with demand is essential to ensuring a stable and sustainable supply chain. A sudden spike shouldn’t leave leaders scrambling for more product and customers tapping their feet. Nor should a decline in demand result in a warehouse overstuffed with spare parts. Luckily supply chain digitization aids in scaling.
Another aspect of scalability is confirming that technology solutions will be viable for the long term. This requires investing in digitization efforts that evolve with ever-improving technology. What may be a top-of-the-line solution today could be a dinosaur in a few years, thus negating past investments and incurring new costs. To guarantee that your digitization choices won’t become obsolete, ensure that it’s capable of updating to accommodate new processes and vendors and boasts a vast global distribution network. This way, you can reach customers quickly from anywhere and remain agile.
Finally, digitization should give supply chain leaders concrete confidence in their operations’ sustainability and technical soundness. For instance, counterfeit parts are a major concern in the electronic component industry. A digitized component marketplace that vets the legitimacy of every part can speed along the purchasing process. Instead of researching the trustworthiness of the parts and getting lost reading thousands of reviews, buyers can just click “buy.”
An e-commerce marketplace that allows easy and worry-free purchasing for your entire BOM is an invaluable technological partner in any digitization effort. Sourcengine, for example, unites over 3,500 traceable and vetted vendors and more than a billion parts in one centralized portal. It integrates seamlessly with supply chain companies’ existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with its application programming interface (API) capabilities. Convenience, ease of use, and stressless electronic parts buying solidifies Sourcengine as a vital part of any modern supply chain.
Every supply chain operator should check off the above five steps to strengthen and smooth their operations in times of tranquility and turmoil. The volatility of today’s political and consumer demand landscape necessitates that the supply chain flexes and speeds along to match the pace of change.