8 Steps to Accelerate Your Digital Supply Chain Transformation

Business outcomes matter, but the process to reach our destination is arguably just as important. After all, our process determines whether our outcomes are repeatable and sustainable. Therefore, the process to execute our strategic vision must not be overlooked because it frequently determines our ability to reach our desired outcome, and nor should your digital supply chain transformation.

Today, Lean management methods in tandem with Agile processes are optimizing daily tasks for added supply chain resiliency, newer Industry 4.0 cloud software tools are compressing execution timelines by increasing team collaboration productivity, and organizations are not only realizing results within, but also with their extended enterprises (suppliers, partners, etc.).

Crafting a digital transformation, or “digitization”, strategy for your supply chain sounds daunting, but we’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be. By embracing proven Lean principles and boosting your productivity with collaborative Agile processes and Industry 4.0 tools, you’ll build a crawl-walk-run foundation for digitization success. Approaching your company’s transformation this way with an Agile Lean Supply Chain mindset will build in supply performance capabilities over time.

Expect Lean Results More Quickly

  • Up to 33-percent people productivity
  • Up to 25-percent inventory cost reduction
  • Up to 25-percent lead time reduction
  • Up to 20-percent packaging cost reduction
  • Up to 15-percent delivery cost reduction
  • Up to 10-percent material route cost reduction
  • Up to 10-percent part cost reduction

Where an organization is on its Lean journey will determine where the results will fall. Also, one thing to note would be that as a conservative best practice, initial business cases should assume baseline results on the lower end.

8 Steps to Accelerate Your Digital Supply Chain Transformation

1. Select Initiative Value Stream

The initiative shouldn’t be too easy or difficult; however, if you’re early on in your Lean journey, error on the side of easier to build momentum with quick, low-risk wins. If your initiative is estimated to take longer than one month to complete, break the initiative down into smaller project waves. Lastly document your needs and inputs that should be considered to address your supply initiative.

2. Empower People Productivity

Documenting your tasks in Agile Project Management software is an excellent way to track your teams progress working toward your initiative. Assigning task leads, points, priority levels and due dates will go a long way to reducing project management waste, and your team will spend less time trying to share data and more time executing on it.

3. Stabilize & Standardize

It may be necessary to perform a 5S of the process up front to organize relevant information and remove clutter. Supply chain processes, like manufacturing processes, can be filled with data or actions that don’t apply. Removing unnecessary process noise at the start is a key to success. Once distractions are removed, you can document the current state with basic work instructions and Plan For Every Part (PFEP).

4. Digitize Current State Data

Ensuring your data is documented within a collaborative software environment allows for you and your team to concurrently edit data which will accelerate your initiative. Further, initiatives that extend outside your four walls can now include real-time collaboration between buyers and suppliers.

5. Develop Project Charter KPIs

Leverage both internal and third-party benchmarking data wherever possible. Studies such as the Association For Supply Chain Management’s (ASCM) Salary and Career Survey Report on labor costs can prove powerful in supporting your business case internally and lead to a higher probability of your budgets getting approved.

6. Optimize Supply Chain Area

This approach empowers teams to make small, frequent input-data-variable updates. The net result is a more agile supply chain that continuously adjust variables to optimize supply performance.

7. Update Plan of Record

These changes may need to take place in multiple information systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Transportation Management (TMS) systems. Your PFEP can serve you well here as it’ll outline the master record data source that’ll need to be updated. Today, many teams are automating these data changes using Application Programing Interfaces (APIs) to push and pull data from SPS’s and a multitude of other systems to save time.

8. Share Lessons Learned

Industry 4.0 software tools are playing a key role in enabling future change. Teams are documenting lessons learned in Agile Project Management software and changes are automatically date stamped within PFEP. This approach lays an important foundation layer that can be tapped for future continuous improvement predictive insights.

Digitize Data to Win the Future

Supply Chain for Tomorrow’s Technology. Ann Arbor, MI.