Getting started on digitizing your supply chain might seem intimidating, but it can all come together pretty quickly, says Jaymie Forrest, president and chief executive officer of Activ Technologies, Inc.
“It's all about having the courage to move forward, organizing on a vision, a goal or task that you want to achieve, and really getting after it,” says Forrest.
To get an effect as quickly and meaningfully as possible, she suggests staying focused on the problem you’re trying to solve, and not biting off too much at once. “Be sure that there's a priority of what you're actually trying to achieve, which sounds simple, but sometimes the scope might get distorted,” she says.
Another tip is to be aware that you need a database that gives you a “single version of the truth.” Many companies make the mistake of believing they already have that. “You may have it for the organization from an enterprise resource planning-type backbone solution,” Forrest says, “but that's not going to achieve your supply chain goals.” That means connecting with external partners as well. “The tools and technology we have today are very capable of doing that,” Forrest says. “A lot of organizations think it's impossible to connect with their trading partners. They think, ‘They're not going to want to do this with me.’ But the reality is, every time you're picking up the phone or sending an e-mail, there's another company on the other end that's wasting time with the same issues.”
The rewards of digitization are substantial, Forrest says, including enhanced visibility of orders, shipments, inventory and even forecasting. You’ll also likely reduce costs, minimize stockouts and improve the customer experience, including prioritizing key customers. You’ll also free up time and headspace for decision-makers.
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