Why it is time to embrace digital supply chain management


xciting times are coming for the supply chain industry. Why? because for ages, the industry has been communicating via e-mail, excel sheets, and poor transparency. And it is still happening. Huge amounts of time, energy, and money is being wasted. In this article, we will elaborate on why it is time to embrace digital supply chain management. The following we cover:

1) Overview of the digitalization status in supply chain
2) Supply chain pain points
3) Time to embrace digital supply chain management
4) How to choose the right digital supply chain management tool?

Overview of the digitalization status in supply chain

Those are exciting times for the supply chain and manufacturing industry. Things are changing after three decades of very few innovations. 30 years ago, production and quality management was done with pen and paper. Everything was written down first, then typed in a spreadsheet and sent via email. Today, the majority of organizations still rely on this archaic way of working, while other industries such as the banking industry have conducted their digital revolution. Considering we now use apps and software for everything, it seems only logical that the supply chain is now embarking on this fantastic journey of digitization.

We can note however that quite some companies use PLM software, good solutions are widely available on the market. But they usually focus exclusively on product development. The current situation is that once an order is confirmed there aren’t that many apps or software helping you deal with the constant flow of communication via emails starting among multiple stakeholders with various interests, located on different continents and time zones. Transparency is low and full visibility over your production near impossible

Supply chain pain points

So yes, a big chunk of the supply chain is covered by PLM systems, but once the order is confirmed there aren’t many solutions to help you and we’re still working the way we were at least 10 years ago. The buyer is communicating with the merchandiser in Hong Kong or Shanghai, this merchandiser is communicating with the merchandising department of the factory in the production country, and then the same happens with the quality officers in Miami, communicating with the ones in Hong Kong, and so on and so forth.

And what you see is that this process is extremely fragmented. There is no true collaboration in a lot of companies, so merchandisers do their part, quality officers do their part, production managers do their part, but there’s nothing that gives them together with the insights they need, and the bird’s eye view on the whole project. No transparency, and no visibility to drive. It is fairly difficult to know what’s going on with the order.

Time to embrace digital supply chain management

Considering what apps are able to do for other industries, for example, banking, it makes almost no sense to apply the same progress and evolution to the manufacturing industry. The digital trend started before Covid but certainly was accelerated by the pandemic. If you open a business journal about supply chains today, you see it every single day. There are at least one or two articles about digitization.

Covid has impacted the entire world from a personal and economical perspective, but it created a huge opportunity for digital solutions and digital adoption. Companies in the supply chain traditionally had their people traveling 4 times per year to Asia. And not only is traveling not really possible anymore today, it’s also not really needed. Most organizations rely on Zoom, Cisco, Teams, you name it, to conduct business. The digitization has introduced itself before Covid but was definitely boosted by Covid-19.

Digital solutions are available 24/7, around the world from any device. There are already quite some organizations offering relevant digital solutions for supply chain management, and the interest of companies is without a doubt growing.

How to choose the right digital supply chain management tool?

Transitioning an entire organization to the digital way of working can be daunting. And it would be easy not to know where to start, which products to buy. In these cases, the best way is to find something that is pragmatic. Identify your key issues, challenges, and pain points, prioritize them and find a solution that solves them. Do not necessarily let yourself caught up in comparing technologies, or cool features. Look for something that solves your day-to-day, concrete hurdles.

In that sense, try avoiding any flashy technology. Study companies offering your products and find out if they are coming from the supply chain and manufacturing background or if they are purely technology-based. When transitioning to the digital world, better choose a partner that can understand your challenges.


Needless to say that embracing supply chain digitization is inevitable. By not starting as soon as in the next year, you’re already probably losing a year. Choose the right partner to guide you and start looking for the perfect tool to solve your problems and help you manage the valuable data you’re creating every day. Data is today’s gold, and it will help you prevent disruptions, challenges while providing healthy insights to drive your organization the smart way.

Digitization is the future, try and make it a priority.

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