4 Steps to Digitalizing your Supply Chain
Updated: Jun 29
Digitalising your supply chain can provide your business with many benefits, including boosted operational efficiency and a reduction in the time it takes to make data-driven decisions.
So, how do you go about digitalising your supply chain? This guide will walk you through the four steps you should take to develop a supply chain process that focuses on business process automation, no-code development, and digital transformation.
1. Identify Your Biggest Challenges
Before you start looking into different software solutions for your supply chain, you must first identify the biggest challenges you are facing within your operations department. Is your organisation struggling to source the raw materials needed to develop your products, or are you having a hard time keeping up with customer demand and shipping?
The goal of digitalising your supply chain is to help you overcome issues that you are facing in your supply chain, so it is helpful to identify these problems ahead of time. Doing so will allow you to maximise efficiency, reduced wastefulness, and increase the speed at which you can complete transactions.
A research study performed by SupplyChain247 discovered that if a company can integrate tools that allow for business process automation and supply chain digitalisation, they can cut up to 30% of costs while simultaneously improving their level of service.
You should also conduct interviews with all stakeholders – not just those in warehousing or shipping! Supply chain automation should involve every team, from sales and marketing to accounting. It is also helpful to engage with external partners, both downstream and upstream, as well as customers to see what areas could be improved.
A digital transformation company like Automate Labs can help provide an objective look at your supply chain and provide suggestions of where improvement is needed.
2. Define Your Goals
After you have performed an extensive analysis of your biggest challenges and heard from all of the relevant stakeholders who are involved in your supply chain, it is time to define your goals.
Take a look at all of the responses that you got so that you can identify any recurring operational issues or underlying root causes that are creating bottlenecks or data silos in your supply chain. This will also allow you to determine if there are issues that could be easily resolved through other means like relationship management before you invest in a system for that specific problem.
During this step, you should also evaluate your current technological capabilities to see if there are features that would solve some issues but you're just not using them to their full potential.
When you have narrowed it down to the top issues that an investment in a supply chain management system could address, define the goals that you have for the technology to help you achieve.
These goals must be specific, measurable, and achievable. It can be helpful to utilize the SMART goal framework so that you can write out what you are trying to achieve in a way that will set your organisation up for success.
Whether your goals are to improve customer fill rates, reduce lead times, or improve forecasting accuracy, it is necessary to clearly define the target and how you will achieve it.
If you have identified quite a few different objectives or business processes that could benefit from automation and integration, be sure to prioritise them and create a digital road map for what is most important. It can be easy to look at your current supply chain and want to digitally transform every aspect of it, but you have to prioritise what's important and take it one step at a time.
3. Establish a List of Must-Have Features
The objectives you set in Step 2 will allow you to effectively complete this next step: establish a list of must-have features for your supply chain management system.
When you are shopping for Tools and systems that will help you digitalise your supply chain, you need to keep in mind the benefits and features that are essential to meeting your objectives.
Sure, a pre-packaged solution may have a wide variety of features and extra bells and whistles, but do you really need all of that? Create a shortlist of the features you know you need to be successful. Think of this as your shopping list when you start to look at different vendors and software providers.
As you create this list, you may start to notice that an off-the-shelf solution may not be best to digitalise your supply chain. Working with a custom development team like Automate Labs can give you a competitive advantage because they can provide custom development services – meaning you only pay for the features you want and need.
A custom development agency can also help you understand how other organisations have addressed similar challenges, giving you insights into what works well and what does not. Similarly, they can provide you with custom database apps that can scale alongside your business and change as needed.
4. Partner with Digital Transformation Experts
The last step you need to complete to digitalise your supply training is perhaps the most important: partner with digital transformation experts that can ensure the success of your entire project, from start to finish.
By now you've likely determined that the challenges and goals you've set up in the previous steps are unique to your business and your business only. This means that a pre-packaged application will be too generalised to meet all of these needs, so a custom-built system is a better solution.
At Automate Labs, we are experts in digital transformations for supply chains. We help you take advantage of no-code development to automate business processes so that you can save time and money.
Having the right processes in place is just as important as the custom technology you choose, and we will partner alongside you to ensure seamless integration. That means that you can trust us to help you analyze your existing processes and create a custom application that will transform your organisation!