Topics: B2B/EDI | Supply Chain | Syncrofy |

Supply Chain Digitization, Part III: Top Challenges & How to Overcome Them

By: Michael Rabinowitz | April 25th, 2023

Supply chain digital transformation is an elusive goal for many organizations. It requires complete buy-in from top down and should be aligned with your strategic, long-term goals. Many companies experience several hurdles including lack of organizational buy-in, integration problems, lack of real-time communication, and poor goal-setting. However, with the right technology partner these issues can be remedied and you can reap the time and money-saving benefits of full supply chain digitization. 

Supply chain digitization has the highest growth earning potential, yet it’s still elusive for many organizations. According to McKinsey, the average supply chain has a digitization level of 43 percent, the lowest of five business areas they examined.

But why is this the case? With all the disruptive events over the last several years, you would think the rate would be much higher as concerns over supply chain resiliency and visibility continue to grow. It’s a question that deserves a deeper dive.

In Part I of our “Digital Supply Chain” series we took a closer look at some of the supply chain mega-trends, challenges, and opportunities that you should have your eye on.  In Part II, we explored how a B2B managed services solution can help you transact business more effectively with your trading partners, gain efficiency, and realize a slew of important benefits.

For Part III, we’ll examine the top challenges and integration barriers preventing organizations from achieving total supply chain transformation, how to get over those hurdles, and how the right platform can be key. Here are some of the obstacles that organizations may be facing:


Poorly Defined Goals

Let’s face it–if you can’t pinpoint what your actual goals are from supply chain digitization, how do you expect it to be a success? A major part of determining your goals is identifying what your needs and long-term vision is. Common aims include increasing sales and revenue, improved visibility, reduced costs, and greater control over supply chain processes. Oftentimes, establishing these goals means being open to incorporating new, disruptive technologies to streamline and digitize your operations.

TIP: Consider surveying your organization to determine their needs and goals then use that data to choose the best-fit technologies. 


Problems Integrating New Technology With Legacy Systems

Even organizations who clearly define their goals can hit snags incorporating new systems with their current technology. Whether you lack the right in-house personnel to oversee your data transformation to make it a smooth transition, or you simply choose the wrong platform for your business, the importance of an experienced supply chain integration partner can’t be understated. We’ve talked to many supply chain leaders over the years who have admitted they are still stuck in an “archaic” way of operating the business and need guidance.

supply chain digitization

TIP: Your provider should have many years of experience with EDI and supply chain software, and a demonstrable track record of industry expertise. It’s perfectly legitimate to ask for a client list to ensure they have experience working on a scale that matches yours.


No Real-time Internal or External Communication (Trading Partners)

Digital transformation of your supply chain may also be hindered by a lack of transparent communication across the business. If you’re being honest with yourself, it might be why you’re in this situation to begin with. Late shipments, poor vendor collaboration, lack of order insight, and lack of internal collaboration between the supply chain team and managers can all become problematic if you don’t address it–and fast. 

TIP: Look for a platform that can alert you on problems in real-time as they occur. This will not only help you identify supply chain roadblocks in the future, but it can highlight the changes in your data before and after digitization. 


Lack of Buy-In From Stakeholders

To get aligned it’s important to get “buy-in” across your organization to find a technology (and partner) that will unlock your full potential as a company. This should involve having open and honest conversations with key leaders across the business to understand their challenges and goals and how they will align with your overall strategy. We’ll also circle back to the first point we outlined in goal setting. It’s important to consider the needs and suggestions of your employees when determining how best to digitize. 

You’re probably thinking, how do I unlock the full potential of my supply chain and organization? First, know that you’re not alone. The journey starts with finding a technology partner that has the experience to allow it to work for you. They will help you adopt the right technology that will enable you to put your supply chain data into a human-readable format, gain visibility, and achieve actionable ROI. This typically involves a platform that will align with your business processes and goals, not just create more of a bottleneck in your organization.


How a Source of Truth Platform Can Be the Answer

The basis for an effective supply chain transformation is simply good data. But perhaps the most critical component to facilitate that is utilizing a source of truth platform that your business users can use side-by-side with suppliers. One that enables you to drive better collaboration and results that include:

  • Ensuring vendor shipments are on-time
  • Improving shipment accuracy
  • Improving poor fill rates
  • Reducing transportation problems
  • Reducing fees with compliance management 
  • Ensuring 3-and-4 way matching (order to ASN to receipt to invoice)

Syncrofy & Your Supply Chain Transformation

When it comes to achieving supply chain digitization, CoEnterprise and Syncrofy can provide the guidance and visibility to help get you there. What is Syncrofy? It’s a multi-enterprise data platform that enables transparency, intelligence, and automation across your existing supply chain networks.

Screenshot of Syncrofy, a supply chain visibility software

It stands out from other solutions in the marketplace because it provides you with full visibility and valuable insights into your supply chain right out of the box leveraging your existing technologies. There’s nothing to configure, no mapping, or specialized data warehouse required. From the get go, you can see what’s going on across your network, what’s working, and where potential problems may occur. This allows you to be proactive, respond to disruption, and stay on the same page with suppliers.

It’s also designed for everyone in your organization. Syncrofy was created specifically with the non-technical user in mind so there’s no need for data scientists or database administrators. You’re able to see your supply chain as it’s happening in a human-readable, easy to understand format. You’ll also get pre-configured tools to make fast, well-informed decisions on your supply chain that you can’t get with any other platform.

Want To Learn More?
Sign up for our FREE, LIVE roundtable webinar on Thursday, April 27th at 1 PM ET!

Boost financial performance Fireside Chat

Supply chain experts and thought leaders from CoEnterprise, IBM, and UNFI will discuss the barriers and solutions to supply chain visibility, how gaps in execution affect your bottom line, and how the right tools can help you avoid costly headaches and retain crucial revenue.

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