What’s Holding Your Business Back from Intelligent Supply Chain?


We’re in the midst of supply chain and logistics executives “shifting from physical efficiency to data efficiency,” says the 2018 Third-Party Logistics Study.

After all, supply chains face greater demand from time-sensitive deliveries, lean inventories, and shorter product lifecycles.

Everyone in the supply chain must have access to large amounts of data in either near or actual real time. The study says this results in quicker decisions at the point of need, more strategic decisions for the long term, improved end-user experiences, and meaningful partnerships that allow shippers and 3PLs to maintain a competitive advantage.

Along with blockchain, the study says digitization and automation are driving increased efficiency, improved safety, and decreased operating costs.

“Big data shows the most potential within the supply chain,” says the report.

The authors go on to say that “the role of data and the need to capture and transmit information continues to increase.”

This results in:

  • Meeting customer needs.
  • Increased efficiencies.
  • Decreased operating costs.
  • Increased industry competition.

“Data-driven decision making,” the report says, “is the key to increase asset utilization, improve efficiency, and decrease volatility” within the supply chain.


What Are The Roadblocks In Automation and Digitization?

According to the report, an intelligent supply chain faces four roadblocks. Shippers and 3PLs are:

  1. Uncertain of the ROI these tools could provide.
  2. Lacking necessary funding.
  3. Competing with other core IT projects.
  4. Struggling with a non-digital culture/mindset.

For these reasons, rapidly changing technology could “create a potential struggle to build a comprehensive adoption strategy as technology changes over time.”


Who Has Had Success?

As might be expected, Gartner sheds light on the intricacies what businesses face in its research document, “12 Powerful Use Cases For Creating a Digital Twin Of Your Organization.”

Organizations struggle to achieve successful strategy execution “as they are faced with increasingly complex, global supply chains.”

One way to solve for that complexity is with a digital twin of the organization (DTO), or what we call a digital duplicate.

Gartner highlights a company in the automotive industry that implemented a DTO to connect several areas in the supply network.

As a result, the company:

  • Improved overall performance indicators.
  • Provided visibility into the process.
  • Improved collaboration over the supply chain network.
  • Created higher employee engagement.

These outcomes enhanced the company’s agility. Real-time status monitoring transformed how the company operated. Plus, the DTO could even predict the impact of suggested changes before they were implemented.

Whether you call them DTOs or digital duplicates, data access and manipulation has the ability to finally unleash an intelligent supply chain.

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