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3 New Year’s resolutions for supply chain leaders in 2019

Author: Demet Sönmez

The beginning of each new year is a time for everyone – including leaders in the corporate world – to make their New Year’s resolutions.

As we enter 2019, many supply chain executives are taking stock of their company’s performance in the previous year, deciding which areas to focus on improving in the coming year, and putting in place strategic plans and beginning to carry out these initiatives.

They are asking themselves: what should my company do differently or better in 2019? What are the business goals that we want to achieve and how can we improve our people, processes, and practices to ensure that we are able to accomplish these objectives?

One of the major, overarching business goals for supply chain companies these days is “digital transformation” – the automation, integration, and optimization of a company’s planning, decision making, and execution to boost efficiency and reduce costs.

The majority of supply chain leaders are committed to digital transformation and their companies are all at different stages on their journeys to becoming digital businesses.

But many executives struggle to devise a roadmap and determine which steps their companies need to take to reach a higher level of supply chain maturity.

If you are a supply chain leader whose company is somewhere on the road to digital transformation, here are three New Year’s resolutions that you should make in 2019:

#1: Evaluate your company’s current state of supply chain maturity – and aim to improve it.

When it comes to technological, data, and organizational maturity, your supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. To achieve a digital transformation – by enabling automated, integrated, and optimized planning and decision making throughout your organization – you must have the right people, processes, data, and technological tools. Even the most robust, state-of-the-art supply chain planning and optimization software solutions will not be effective if you are feeding them inaccurate data or if they are being utilized by untrained users. As a supply chain leader, you must be able to identify your company’s weakest links in terms of data availability and quality, automation, organizational process maturity and other aspects. Once you have assessed your operations and ascertained your weaknesses, you should make a plan to improve in these areas.

#2: Foster collaboration throughout your organization and across your supply chain.

To achieve digital transformation, you must seek to cultivate vertical alignment (across various departments within your company such as Sales, Finance, Marketing, Procurement, and Production) and horizontal alignment (across various nodes in your supply chain such as suppliers and distributors). Only by fostering this integration and collaboration throughout your operations can you transform your supply chain from a cost center into a source of competitive advantage – and deliver value to both customers and shareholders alike.

#3: Experience and embrace the power of algorithmic supply chain planning and decision making.

To become a digital business, your company must – in the words of Gartner – make a shift from traditional, manual or “conscious” planning to algorithm-based, automated or “subconscious” planning and decision making. With an intelligent, integrated planning optimization platform, acting as a digital supply chain twin, you – along with your planners and other key stakeholders – can propel your company to new heights of productivity and profitability. It’s important to note, though, that to achieve algorithmic supply chain planning and decision making, your company needs more than just technological tools. You also need to make a commitment to change your company’s mindset, skills, and decision-making processes to support this automated approach.

These are three New Year’s resolutions that you – as a supply chain leader whose company is embarking on its own unique digital transformation journey – should make in 2019.


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