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Supply Chain Industry Updates

Digital Transformation Evolving from ‘Buzzword’ to ‘Fixture’

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The events of the past year have many companies looking for innovative ways to improve supply chain operations, and 47% of them define “innovation” as digital transformation, according to the fourth annual “State of Supply Chain Innovation Survey” from 3PL company Kenco Logistics.

“What we’re seeing is an industry that is prepared to invest in digital technologies and innovation to meet the challenges of today’s customer demands,” said Kristi Montgomery, vice president of innovation and R&D at Kenco. “The pandemic has highlighted the need for innovation at every level of the supply chain and has accelerated many companies’ digital transformation initiatives by several years. It’s only logical, then, that most of our participants are more than ready to extend their budgets to remain competitive, and it’s up to 3PLs to keep up.”

Asked what technologies they are most interested in pursuing to achieve this transformation, participants responded:

  • Supply chain visibility technology (90%)
  • Predictive and adaptive analytics (69%)
  • Robotics, automation and “emerging solutions” (55%)

“These technologies represent the rise of digitization of supply chains, leveraging powerful data and machine learning to optimize safety, efficiency, speed and flexibility,” Montgomery said. “We can expect them to become fixtures in the industry, and their application will only continue to expand.”

In its summary of the survey results, Kenco said it was clear that digital transformation is no longer “just a trendy buzzword.” Instead, it noted, “Companies are prepared to make the investment in their own digital transformations. When asked how much they are willing to invest in innovation, respondents were overwhelmingly prepared to stretch their budgets, with 39% of respondents willing to invest 10-20% more and 31% willing to invest over 20% more.”

The Kenco white paper based on the survey results can be downloaded here.

Some Advice

If the move to digital seems a little daunting for your organization, take the advice of Michael Rabinowitz, founder and CEO of CoEnterprise, and pace yourself. “Companies that digitize in increments — starting with establishing supply chain visibility — will realize transformative benefits within weeks,” he blogged recently for Supply Chain Best Practices. “Revenue leakage and chargebacks will be reduced, late payments from customers eliminated, time spent on research and sifting through data cut down, and customer satisfaction will be significantly improved.”

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