Author: Maarten Baltussen, ICRON
At the end of September 2017, the majority of world’s Supply Chain Executive leadership gathered in London. They attended inspirational speeches, did a bit of networking in between and discussed their Supply Chain challenges with each other and influencers. When speaking with a lot of these Supply Chain leaders a couple of topics seemed to be repetitive. I refer to them as triple D:
  • Digital
  • Data
  • Decisions

Digital

Due to the introduction of technology the consumer digitalized which resulted in complex consumer landscapes. Corporate structures became more complex as a result as well because the diversity of demand makes companies struggle to meet even more demanding Supply Chain Challenges. A lot of data was already kept in pre-digitalized processes (read: paper-based) however digitization makes the data available. The best Supply Chains use nowadays state-of-the-art information and communication technologies like Robotics, GPS tracking, video recognition, 3D-printing, connected devices etc.

Data

Data is the foundation for Digital Supply Chains. Due to the digitization, nowadays so much data is created that it is easy to be caught up in the hype and opportunity of Big Data. Most Supply Chain Leaders are overwhelmed with the amount of data available. However, it is important to realize that you can only let this data work for you if you approach this data from the below different angles.

 

Decisions

With this enormous pool of data, the process to come to a decision is more important than taking the decision itself when you want to optimize your bottom line. Making a decision is easy if you have all variables and constraints in-sight, analyzed different scenarios and collaborated amongst human intelligence. Only then are you able to decide, since variables and constraints that are important in one decision today might be completely useless in a similar decision in three weeks from now. Chaos is the new normal!

Conclusion

Evaluation and analysis of past decisions is complementary to decision making. Supply Chain leaders are only able to manage Digital Supply chain efficiently by introducing the Algorithmic Supply Chain Control. In combination, the Algorithmic Supply Chain can create value in the Digital Supply Chain by connecting Digital, Data and Decision. It makes it possible to generate, securely organize, draw insights and plan scenarios in this chaotic Value Chain, and take the best decision at that moment in time.

I believe it is all about making decisions, optimized decision made simple! It isn’t solely about variables and constraints, being predictive or prescriptive by using scenario planning techniques, it is about making that decision and being able to explain that decision in the future why at that moment in time, that particular decision taken was a good decision; an accurate decision that delivers value.


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