Supply chains are digitising and the border between digital and physical is disappearing. Leaders in the industry are more focused than ever on how they can transform their organisations and bring value by embracing new technologies. At the same time it is hard to understand what will drive the supply chain digital transformation and what deserves leaders’ attention the most.
‘Digital and physical supply chains are interlinked,’ says Dwight Klappich, Vice President and Gartner Fellow, Gartner Inc. at the Gartner 2020 Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo – EMEA. 82% of supply chain CEOs say they have initiatives to make their business more digital and that supply chains are literally hungry for good digital solutions. It is no surprise organisations are so focused on finding the right solution that will elevate them amongst the competition as 72% say technology is a source of a competitive advantage.
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Despite recognising the importance of digital solutions for their supply chains leaders are still risk averse. Over 50% would not take on a new technology even if the potential value is high. On the other side of the scale 21% say they are happy to take risks and explore new opportunities even when there aren’t clear indicators as to how a technology will benefit them. Which is the winning culture? According to Klappich companies need to assess their risk culture.
Leading the way
Experts believe that the companies who are ready to take the risk can benefit more than their competitors as they are able to shape solutions and work around ideas. This might turn to be a crucial factor as by 2025 85% of supply chain organisations plan to invest in Advanced Analytics and early adopters might turn to be the new leaders.
Another technology that is expected to shape the way supply chains operate is Artificial Intelligence (AI). It can help companies to move from traditional planning models to more autonomous planning where humans are focused on the most complex task. At the same time, leaders are worried that AI in particular might face some barriers like lack of skills, data scope and quality, and the fact many don’t understand how it can help them.
Gartner Inc predicts that by 2023 50% of global organisations will use AI, Internet of Things and Advanced Analytics in their operations. By the same year 30% of large enterprises will have invested in autonomous mobile robots. Last but not least, Blockchain will also reshape supply chains as companies seek a trusted way to communicate and control. It is expected, however, that lack of strong cases will create a blockchain fatigue that could jeopardise the future of the technology.