Digitalizing the supply chain: How unlocking data fast tracks logistics transformation – LogiSYM May/June 2020
The organizations that can react swiftly and adapt their supply chains and logistics on the fly are those that have embraced data-driven, intelligent supply chain models in recent years. Supply Chain 4.0, as it has been coined, has reshaped modern day operations for organizations globally, and now in Asia.
According to McKinsey, Supply Chain 4.0 applies the Internet of Things (IoT) to create networks, and uses robotics and advanced analytics to automate and analyze assets for improved performance, and ultimately customer satisfaction.
Supply chain organizations and operators must take bold actions to navigate the current market environment, and core to that is accelerating their transformations to digital business operations. Beyond immediate priorities, a unified digital ecosystem allows modern organizations to: focus on strategic initiatives aimed at developing new applications and services faster; deliver greater customer satisfaction and reduce costs; and increase competitiveness.
Unifying data to achieve supply chain visibility
Towards the end of 2019, Gartner noted that 76 per cent of supply chain organizations were investing in digital business, or planning to do so. To maximize these investments and accelerate the journey to a completely digital business environment, organizations need to assess new digital strategies and supply chain planning technology solutions quickly, while simultaneously supporting the organizational changes that come with the transformation. To achieve this, organizations are recognizing the value of linking and integrating data with systems, IoT sensors, business processes, people, and applications.
As businesses adjust to managing their logistics and supply lines in the current economic environment, visibility into the supply chain, and across all suppliers, has become crucial. This is especially true as businesses of all sizes simultaneously contend with ensuring the safety of their workforce, adapting to new regulatory or policy requirements, and managing a lack of supply or demand.
It’s also equally important that the view is based on reliable, up to date and actionable data that can be shared quickly with security and compliance in mind, while also aligning to the preferred formats used by customers, partners, contractors and internal business units.
Modern businesses need modern data foundations
As the supply chain sector in Asia modernizes and embraces a data-driven, digital future, we see quick-to-deploy, integrated platforms which clearly, swiftly demonstrate ROI becoming essential to enabling visibility across the supply chain. Integrating data and enabling it to flow between systems to provide deep customer and market insights will differentiate the winners from the rest in the market.
Traditional methods for connecting digital assets have demonstrated the limitations of meeting current demands for supplying essentials including medical supplies, everyday grocery items and e-commerce products. Logistics and supply chain organizations must learn from today’s challenges, identify opportunities to modernize their supply chains to be more data driven, and assume a more proactive business model to meet any urgent market needs.
Supply chain and logistics organizations can create further business value, unlock even more efficiency and transparency, by integrating siloed applications, data and processes. However, many organizations base these integrations on outdated custom-coded scripts that are costly and time-consuming to develop and maintain. Additionally, traditional on-premise integration middleware, such as an enterprise service bus (ESB), do not help organizations take advantage of the flexibility and agility of cloud technology.
Enabling supply chain digitalization at scale
Boomi is working with logistics and supply chain organizations across the world to accelerate digitalization by integrating applications, data, and processes across multi-cloud and on-premise environments, as well as with the company’s suppliers and ecosystem of partners. As a result, those companies are able to orchestrate the data and automate value streams between applications.
This enables organizations to have a data-driven model that delivers visibility across the supply chain, to adapt to dynamic changes in the market quickly, and navigate the complexities of today’s business environment, while positioning their operations for the future.
For instance, Australian logistics company, LINX Cargo Care Group, is using the Boomi unified platform to connect its cloud-first IT strategy and enable the development of a data lake for granular visibility into its supply chain. LINX was able to use technology to streamline operations and analyze data by integrating internal systems and connecting these systems with customers’ environments in order to share information in a more efficient manner.
In addition, Amcor, the global packaging producer, has also fortified its supply chain with Boomi. Amcor required seamless data aggregation, sharing and analysis, and selected Boomi to automate key elements of its daily operations. Amcor experienced an increase in efficiency around sales order allocation, with information automatically transferred to AirRoad, allowing the third party logistics (3PL) provider to fulfil orders quickly and have trucks moving faster.
More recently, LanciaConsult, an international technology and business consulting firm, has been working with small and medium-sized freight companies in Singapore to transform their supply chain as well as sales & operations planning (S&OP) processes to gain greater insights, and improve visibility through data. To accomplish this, LanciaConsult is using the Boomi platform to integrate data from CargoWise One ERP application systems with other IoT devices and business platforms.
LanciaConsult Managing Director, Chun Seong Lim, notes that Boomi “makes it easy to integrate CargoWise One with more than 50 data exchanges”. The added benefit of these integration capabilities is the “unprecedented visibility and flexibility into the inventory and supply chain planning and execution, while removing the roadblocks that prevent companies from adopting newer initiatives like business intelligence reporting, machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.”
The framework for fast time-to-value
Future-focused organizations are embracing agility, within the IT organization and Lines-of-Business (LoB), and finding quick wins to ensure that supply chain operations are prepared to face not just the current situation, but the next wave of market volatility as well.
As the freight and logistics sectors in Asia embrace the digital future, including harnessing AI and blockchain, integrated digital assets will prove vital to the rapid deployment of ‘advanced’ technologies due to their ability to deliver value to many stakeholders quickly.