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Bridging the Digital Divide in Supply Chain (Part 3)

By Josh Collins | January 7, 2019

Last time, we touched upon opportunities for innovation in the supply chain and logistics industry that stood out as a result of our survey of 98 middle- and senior-level managers, where we learned back office efficiency (25.5%) was where most saw the greenest fields, closely followed by customer interface and user experience (24.5%), and business intelligence (22.5%). We also explored the critical importance of building innovation into a supply chain company’s cultural DNA.

Now, in our final part of this three-part series, we will examine the most logical steps forward, and how to build your road to success so that you can achieve a digitally-enabled future.

Taking the First Step Forward

One of the most promising findings in this survey is that when the organizations these supply chain and logistics professionals work for do implement new technologies, the majority (62.2%) say that it is a company-wide initiative. Rallying the team behind the company’s innovation efforts, ensuring they’re working off the same playbook, and actively finding ways to build on technologies being deployed through the organization, are all vital.

62% SAY BUILDING TECHNOLOGY IS A COMPANY-WIDE INITIATIVE.

Unsurprisingly, the executive team (33.7%) and IT (30.6%) are the two business functions that typically lead the digital transformation process from supply chain and logistics professionals’ point of view. This finding is common across industries, as executives frequently have an eye on the potential upsides of innovation for the business and IT leaders understand what technologies are available to solve business challenges and how to implement them.

34% OF DIGITAL INITIATIVES ARE LEAD BY EXEC TEAM.
31% OF DIGITAL INITIATIVES ARE LEAD BY IT TEAM.

More of a surprise was the finding that only 2% report that outside consultancies typically lead the digital transformation process. In businesses that lack the culture and appetite for innovation, outside consultancies can play a powerful role to help foster real, measurable change, while reducing risk by bringing fresh thinking and hands-on experience that help even the most stagnant organizations identify a path forward.

Mapping the Road to Success

While there are many benefits to working with an outside consultancy, finding the right one is critical. Of the few respondents that had worked with a large consultancy in the past, more than a third (35.7%) reported encountering communication issues during their digital transformation projects.

36% OF THOSE WHO WORKED WITH A LARGE CONSULTANCY CITED FAILURE DUE TO POOR COMMUNICATION.

We at Janeiro Digital frequently hear concerns about communication when we meet with new companies, which is what led us to develop the Rapid Alignment, Design, and Development (RADD) methodology—a two-part strategic approach that first lays out a realistic roadmap for product strategy, user experience and technical design, and then develops the solution in a way that ensures they are delivered on time and on budget to meet your business objectives. Throughout our work with several global brands, we’ve found that nearly every project that ends poorly has come back to miscommunication between and among stakeholders, managers, and developers. Having a strategy for getting everyone on the same page—internally and externally—and setting realistic expectations is crucial.

Building to the Digital Future

While digital transformation can sound like a lofty goal and drastic change, the most successful initiatives should feel much more gradual. True transformation begins with building blocks that culminate over time. Organizations must build towards their ultimate digital vision while salvaging value from legacy systems and minimizing technical debt that could hold the business back down the road.

Digital maturity hasn’t been a focus for the majority of supply chain and logistics industry, but now is the time to make digital innovation part of the culture—and our team is ready to help. Drop us a line so we can talk through your digital transformation goals and obstacles and help get you started on your journey.

To read our survey findings from the beginning, we recommend downloading the full 12-page report or starting from the beginning by reading the full blog series:

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