Digitization is the trend that's taking hold in just about every industry, no matter what corner of the broader economy in which it operates. Given the sheer volume of data in the logistics and supply chain spheres, it's no surprise that companies even tangentially associated with them are getting onboard with such efforts these days.
This is a trend that has been underway for many years, but the momentum behind it seems to still be building slowly but surely, to the point where it has become impossible for any company to ignore, according to CIO Review. Put another way, even the businesses that would have had little incentive to embrace supply chain digitization a few years ago are now pushing all in on these kinds of investments, from the most basic inventory tracking systems to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Not only does this help companies operate more efficiently within their own walls, but it also makes them better partners with others up and down the supply chain, in addition to saving money and reducing emissions through more efficient operations, the report said. This, too, is a trend that is only likely to gain additional traction in the months and years ahead.
Getting it right
As with many other things about the supply chain, however, it's important for companies considering strategic investments in digitization to recognize that "No business is an island," to paraphrase Ernest Hemingway. To truly succeed when it comes to rolling out these efforts and getting the best possible return on investment, companies have to work with their supply chain partners to ensure everyone is on the same page, according to Freightwaves. For instance, if Company A makes an investment in an inventory tracking software that is not totally compatible with what Company B has been using for some time, that disconnect could actually fuel further inefficiency.
Moreover, it's important for decision makers to keep in mind that the longer they wait on such investments, the more likely they will be to fall further behind, and have a greater digital distance to cover to catch up, the report said.
What's at stake?
All too often, as it relates to companies that are still on the fence, or unsure of which kind of investments to make, the reason for their delays is that they don't know what they don't know, according to EPS News. By some industry estimates, more than half of all business data is actually hidden from the organization whose operations create it, and with a greater handle on digitization overall, it becomes easier to illuminate that "dark data" in a meaningful way. In doing so, it becomes easier to find actionable information that improves your firm's direction.
The more you can do to digitize a growing number of aspects of your operations, the better off you will be when you have to identifying problems and crafting unique solutions that speak to your organizational needs overall.