The Death of Supply Chain Management?
The supply chain often dictates the heartbeat of a company's operations. The underlying processes, planning, purchasing, manufacturing, order fulfillment, and logistics – even though supported by powerful ERP systems – today still require a lot of manual input as well as expert analysis and decisions. Digital technologies on the horizon have the potential to take over supply chain management entirely and to disrupt traditional ways of working. In the long run, the supply chain functions may get replaced by a smoothly running, self-regulating utility that optimally manages end-to-end workflows and requires very little human intervention.
First steps are already taken by the implementation of robotics, sensor networks, and artificial intelligence to digitize and automate labor-intense, repetitive tasks and processes. Predictive analytics also help companies to improve demand forecasts and increase asset utilization.
More recently, some companies are also exploring the "digital control tower" — a virtual decision center that provides real-time, end-to-end visibility into global supply chains. Based on real-time data, unrivaled accuracy, relentless customer focus, process excellence, and analytical leadership, the control tower has the potential to become the nerve center of the operations.
And what about the people? It's not hard to imagine a future in which automated processes, data governance, advanced analytics, sensors, robotics, artificial intelligence, and a continual learning loop will minimize the need for human intervention.
In the short term, supply chain executives will need to shift their focus from managing people doing mostly repetitive and transactional tasks, to designing and managing information and material flows with a limited set of highly specialized workers. Supply chain analysts who can analyze data, structure and validate data sets, use digital tools and algorithms, and forecast effectively will be in high demand, as well as specialists who can design a technology-driven supply chain engine that supports the ever-changing strategy, requirements, and priorities of the business.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE (Source: Harvard Business Review)
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David Van Steenwinckel, Project Manager
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