The challenges that supply chains face are unrelenting and becoming more significant by the day. From politically induced trade uncertainty to evolving customer demand, new emerging competitors, and creation of new markets, there’s no shortage of handwringing as business leaders determine what they need to do next in this nebulous marketplace.
However, the measure of a business is not where it stands in moments of comfort, convenience, and growth, but how it responds to times of dissatisfaction, disorder, and stagnation. And for most manufacturers and trading companies, this test begins with their supply chains.
In fact, with 80% of executives expecting to encounter disruption within the next three years, according to IDC, supply chains must be resilient enough to adapt quickly to help the entire business become an industry disruptor.
Finding opportunities in supply-chain challenges
For years, our customers have shared with our supply chain leadership team their stories of breaking through industry and supply-chain limitations to capture market share, generate revenue, or even improve our world in new and provocative ways.
Some businesses stave off disruption by holistically changing business models with intelligent automation. Others are growing faster, smarter, and easier by capitalizing on real-time data to keep operations one step ahead of market dynamics. And a few adopted predictive analytics to get the insight they need to ship the right supplies to people in need at the right time.
These strategic moves are the start of what we call the digital supply chain. Every step in the supply chain is connected as an end-to-end value chain – from product design and manufacturing to delivery and operation – that senses change, analyzes trends, responds immediately, and evolves continuously.
No magic bullet will turn a traditional supply chain into such an intelligent operation. However, the convergence of specific digital capabilities can pave the way to a vision that includes:
- Integrated business planning
Enable new end-to-end business models, processes, and revenue streams by realizing the full potential of the SAP software investment. This approach synchronizes planning processes and provide end-to-end visibility on strategic, tactical, and operational level and across siloed or external data. As a result, our customers eliminate planning silos with connected and integrated processes, which leads to shorter planning cycles and faster response to business change.
- Product design and collaboration
Turn ideas into viable products faster by maximizing the value of R&D and engineering solutions from SAP. By leveraging proven best practices, rapid implementation, and prepackaged solution enhancements, our consultants help customers eliminate IT complexity and data silos, streamline product development processes, and develop an innovation road map.
- Deliver a touchless supply-chain network
Balance customer service, delivery speed, and freight costs by orchestrating the end-to-end supply-chain.
For example, businesses can reduce the cost of transportation management while improving service, efficiency, and sustainability by collaborating with the entire logistics business network and increasing visibility across operations. The reliability of order promising can also be enhanced with real-time transparency into relevant inventory stock. Plus, warehouse and yard management can become more streamlined by leveraging the Internet of Things technologies and devices to optimize labor, storage, and fulfillment costs.
- Intelligent asset management
Support asset operators, manufacturers, and service providers in defining, planning, and monitoring the optimal service and maintenance strategy for physical products and assets – anytime, anywhere. The Internet of Things (IoT) delivers a trove of information and scalable transparency by connecting assets to each other as well as operational and business systems.
With the power of prediction, optimization, and simulation, stakeholders can derive real-time insights from IoT data to make smarter decisions, improve asset reliability, and reduce outages across strategic, tactical, and operational areas of the supply chain. They can also collaborate with each other throughout the asset lifecycle to share performance information and one version of the truth – all on a cloud-based business network that supports integrated processes.
- Inventory optimization
Develop a successful inventory strategy, establish effective inventory planning and control, and fine-tune supply chain processes with inventory optimization.
Accelerating your journey to a future-proof supply chain
Achieving the capabilities necessary to run an intelligent supply network requires three elements: speed, agility, and expertise. By using service and support offerings that deliver these essentials, our customers are setting the foundation for a future-proof supply chain solution.
The services that our customers find useful along the way include:
- Advisory and execution services
Transition existing supply chain solutions into the digital foundation for an intelligent enterprise. Customers can define their to-be processes and system landscape and build their unique road map to begin and complete their transition.
- SAP Model Company
Kickstart a digital transformation with prepackaged solutions that offer end-to-end, ready-to-use reference functionality delivered as a service. From design to operate, the services accelerate project decisions and simplify SAP solution implementations, yield predictable results, and enable fast adoption with cloud-based access to complete reference solutions.
- Accelerated support services
Benefit from our commitment to helping customers thrive in the digital age. Our value assurance services speed up planning of the transformation project while reducing efforts necessary to deliver the technical implementation. They also help customers mitigate risks and safeguard their implementation.
Visit the Services and Support Pavilion at SAPPHIRE NOW
I hope you visit the Services and Support Pavilion, located in the Digital Supply Chain Neighborhood, at SAPPHIRE NOW. This is an excellent opportunity to further explore these trends and the overall vision of a digital supply chain. You can engage with your peers, learn from SAP experts, and gain insights that can set your business on a fast, low-risk, and transformational pathway to long-term business growth.
By Michael Schmidt, Global Service Offering Manager for Digital Supply Chain, SAP