Gene Tyndall, co-founder of eMATE Consulting, tells how businesses are driving toward digital commerce, with the promise of transforming all "mega-processes" of the supply chain.
The term “digital commerce” can have any number of definitions. Tyndall says it’s the whole process of doing business, both internally and externally with trading partners, in an automated fashion. And while it’s been slowly catching on with companies in recent years, the progress of digitization has been greatly accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. Key personnel within global supply chains — finance, procurement, production, marketing and sales — can no longer meet in person. Video conferences and other forms of digital communication are the order of the day.
Even when the pandemic subsides, digitization will transform the ways in which companies and their supply-chain partners communicate and collaborate. Perhaps this is the moment when they’ll finally stop relying on spreadsheets, paper and manual processes. Tyndall sees digitization as impacting what he calls the five “mega-processes” of the supply chain: plan, buy, make, distribute and sell. None can be properly addressed in today’s demanding environment without the use of automation. “Today,” says Tyndall, “we have to work faster and more collaboratively.”
Digital commerce also promises to transform the way in which companies source raw materials and production. The pandemic and other recent disruptions have taught them that single-sourced supply chains are too risky to sustain. Losing that one key supplier, or experiencing the shutdown of the one factory that’s making your product, can prove disastrous today. Tyndall expects companies not only to diversify sourcing, but to consider reshoring production back to the U.S. “The whole supplier thing is being questioned now by CEOs on down,” he says. “Do we really have the right sourcing strategy going forward? It’s not going back to the way it was.”
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