Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Jan-Feb 2017 Contents Digital disruption has had a profound effect
on every industry, but the changes are
perhaps most striking in industries like
transport and logistics. It seems counterintuitive,
as these industries are concerned with the
production, distribution, and selling of physical
goods, but technology trends like the ubiquity
of mobile, improvements in human-machine
interaction, and the rise of smart sensors are
transforming how goods are made and delivered.
To meet these increased expectations,
logistics and warehousing companies need
to deliver new products and experiences,
be extremely agile and adjust to changes in
the marketplace quickly, and make business
processes smooth and invisible to the end
consumer. Customers simply won't tolerate
delays because of a supply chain issue, and low
switching costs mean that customers can simply
switch to another vendor.
Making the move to a fully-fledged digital
business is not something that a warehousing
company can lightly achieve, and the journey
from 'analogue-digital' consists of a number of
key converging pathways: from the ideological
to the business and the business to the
technological. Each is equally important to
understand and reconcile if a company is truly
to reach its digital summit.
Warehousing companies all over the globe
have been going through a massive business
transformation over the last decade. The
successful adoption of integrated ERP, mobility
solutions, social networking, cloud computing,
and data analytics have enabled companies to
stay ahead of the curve, but have also required
companies to become more agile, responsive
and forward facing -- a serious challenge for the
bigger, more established names.
Indeed, companies fighting to compete in
today's hypercompetitive world face demanding
customers and ever more complex supply
chains. The challenges of maintaining B2B/
EDI interactions with suppliers and trading
partners are constraining organisations' ability
to compete. Indeed, decreasing partner
on-boarding time, slashing the time required
to make changes to partner configurations and
reducing the risk or cost by replacing a legacy
or customer point-to-point B2B/EDI solutions
are mighty challenges.
To achieve business relevance in the 21st
century warehousing companies (of all shapes
and sizes) must train as marathoners, able to
deliver long-term, complex and difficult projects,
but also as sprinters who can deliver quick wins
that come in on time and on budget.
Today, warehousing companies in
Australia that have invested in ERP solutions
are now embarking on transformation for
three main outcomes: to change the customer
experience, dramatically optimise internal
processes, and transform their business
models. It's becoming clear that being good
at connecting different technologies and
information systems together to enable these
changes is the cornerstone of transformation.
The challenge of connectivity inside the
enterprise has changed dramatically over the
last few years. Many organisations are going
through some form of digital transformation
and IT plays a critical role in that. Traditionally,
integration was about connecting heavyweight
applications with heavyweight middleware,
within the four walls of the enterprise. That
landscape has changed with enterprise
cloud adoption and mobile now the standard
platform for new applications. The pressure
on companies to manage an increasingly
complex technology landscape is critical for
transformation to be a reality -- the old way of
doing things will not work.
Digital transformation is about change in
technology, process and culture, so taking
small steps with an ongoing focus on change
is necessary. From a technology standpoint,
companies need to have a strategy that:
a. Enables the business to self-serve data
without having to go through central IT every
time (which slows everything down). IT
should be adopting a bi-modal approach to
b. Central IT needs to term themselves into a
platform for the business. Instead of servicing
requests in a project-to-project fashion, IT
needs to organise its core assets as services
to the business.
c. The company board and leadership must
be willing to invest in helping central IT shift
to this new role in the company. Setting a
direction and key principles will help enable
people make better decisions.
At the same time, the expectations of those
working in the warehouse have changed:
operators want more data at their fingertips,
and at the right time, Indeed, employees,
partners and direct customers want to work
with their vendors through their smart phones.
This creates a new enterprise landscape that
becomes highly fragmented. There are now
thousands of new end points that you need to
connect to. Everything from different apps that
don't live in your data centre to developing API
to create new digital channels and deliver better
customer service through mobile interactions.
Everything needs to connect.
In addition, in digital transformation,
distribution channels and engagement channels
are digital. The challenge or opportunity of this
is that everything moves a lot faster. Digital
products can be created in days if not weeks,
new digital business units can be spun up
in emerging markets within weeks, business
processes can be more organic and change with
the business. To do this well, companies need
to have a good strategy for connecting their ERP
assets as the needs of the business change.
There is no 'right' moment to start on a
digital transformation journey. Companies just
need to start it with their next project. Digital
transformation is a definition of a future state
for the company with some guiding principles to
making decisions going forward.
Robert Frandsen is the managing director
of InfoMotion. For more information call 1300
674 994 or visit www.infomotion.com.au.
"Companies fighting to compete in today's
hypercompetitive world face demanding customers
and ever more complex supply chains."
2017: YOUR YEAR OF DIGITAL
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS --- JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017
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