Back to the future: ordered today, delivered tomorrow
Industries that have gone through a digital transformation of their supply chains have benefited greatly through increased speed of delivery at significantly lower costs. We as consumers reap those benefits on a daily basis; because nowadays almost every consumer-product and -service can be ordered online and delivered to your doorstep at zero transportation costs. Ordered today, delivered tomorrow. You have clear visibility when your delivery will take place. You can track the status of your delivery and the accuracy is continuously improving. This transformation took place within just a small number of years, but today this is already normal to us.
For those of us that are employed in the B2B industries and their supply chains know that coming home from work feels like travelling back to the future; it’s like two totally different worlds. The digitalisation that has completely transformed the B2C markets has clearly not yet taken shape in most of these B2B supply chains. Why is that the case ?
From the dark ages of the B2B supply chain
For many years B2B industries have been operating a global supply chain network, connecting processing and manufacturing companies through transport and supply chain organisations and networks. In the 1990s many of these companies endeavored to optimise their manufacturing and supply chain processes by implementing so-called Enterprise Resourcing Planning (ERP) systems. Companies that took the bold step to combine this with re-engineering their processes have indeed reaped the benefits of a more optimised resource planning and asset utilisation.
But, unfortunately, many companies omitted this step or did not make this step successfully. As a result these companies have not been able to significantly improve their process execution. The contrary is often true, because the data registration that these systems require is adding to the work of frontline staff and management, without generating tangible benefits for them. This is a vicious cycle that leads to poor data collection; because if these systems do not serve any benefits in your daily work, you are going to spend less time feeding these beasts, which results in limited and poor data available to your colleagues, partners and customers. In these situations of poor data availability, workers often find themselves in a continuous firefighting mode. Any disruption, big or small, that is mostly outside of their control, can trigger a crisis of sorts.
Digitise for real time visibility
There is good news for these companies; because all technologies that so successfully improved the B2C supply chains can be used to solve the B2B data deficiency.
And all of us consumers already know these technologies well, like mobile, apps, APIs, GPS, IoT sensors, intelligent cameras, drones, cloud computing, AI, machine learning, and so on. We got used to working with these technologies at our fingertips. So we know that these technologies can be applied without much hassle and at low costs, certainly relative to the benefits.
NxtPort and a growing number of independent technology and software developers that are active on our platform are ready to help you on this digitisation journey and get you connected in your supply chain serving your customer with real time visibility.