The theme of this year’s Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference was
“A New Era: Converging the Physical and Digital Supply Chains”
It was cemented throughout the narrative of the conference that supply chains must now focus on effectively converging their foundational capabilities, with new and emerging digital strategies in order to not only compete, but also prosper and grow. For retailers and suppliers, shifting to a digital twin strategy for supply chains surfaces immense challenges – as well as opportunities. Digital twins are replications of the physical supply chain in a digital space and open the door for new innovations.
We spoke with these attendees to learn what’s top of mind and what’s needed to succeed as they contemplate or make the move. Herewith are a few of the interesting topics we encountered:
With shifting customer expectations and online shopping increasing – product returns and exchanges are higher than they’ve ever been before. In fact, in online retailing, at least 30% of all goods purchased are returned. To handle this influx, retail businesses are adding workers, increasing warehouse space, and establishing separate departments to handle reverse logistics. But the process is difficult,and inefficient supply chains make it even more costly. Visibility into and the sharing of information can allow for retailers to pinpoint where their shipments are in the process of moving back to the manufacturer.
Amazon undoubtedly changed the game with their swift delivery lead times and gold standard reputation – forcing retailers to follow suit in order to stay competitive. As retailers revolutionize their service – their suppliers are expected to do the same. Its common for suppliers to face penalties for missed delivery windows – adding another burden to their already pressure-filled processes. The ability to have transparency and predictability by simplifying the aggregation, distribution, and management of data associated with every shipment’s life-cycle can help suppliers plan and have full visibility into their shipments.
A Deloitte study in 2017 found that 49% of CPO’s believe the quality of data is a major barrier, and the lack of data integration was the number two barrier (42%). One of the biggest challenges faced by major companies who are seeking to build real-time integrated supply chains is to keep the data in sync across systems and within a strong data governance system. This is no easy task – and often times this data is handled manually and his prone to error. If data is published directly from the source – the right people can securely manage their supply chain in real time. It can also simplify the flow of documentation that accompanies every shipment. Open standard models and access control scheme that aligns with various standards and models.
TradeLens was developed to solve for challenges such as these – by reducing friction, enabling innovation and driving growth via an open and neutral supply chain platform underpinned by blockchain technology.