Where to start a digital transformation process
Digitisation has touched almost every aspect of modern business and nowhere is this more evident than in the supply chain. Today technologies like RFID, GPS and the Internet of Things are ushering in a new wave of digital structures where supply chains are more flexible, open, and agile than ever before.
Digitisation can be hugely beneficial for businesses looking to realise greater value from their supply chain. In a Capgemini study, it was found that by managing digital assets companies could improve their EBIT margin by 5% and in some cases even more.
In the past companies may have been put off investing in digital transformation as the technology was unproven. However, with such impressive savings now being achieved, it is no longer a risk to invest in new technology. In truth, it is riskier not to. If your competition can increase their margins by 5% by investing in technology can you afford to fall behind?
At ByBox we have helped numerous companies transform their existing processes and find cost savings using digitisation. So if you are a company that is now looking to invest in technology, we have some tips on how to start.
Where are we now?
Before looking at digitisation in greater depth, it is important to start by acknowledging what digitisation you have already achieved. No modern supply chain operates without any digital processes. We all have access to computers and varying degrees of information technology. Most modern supply chains are hybrid, combining paper-based processes with more digital methods.
To work out what you have achieved so far, ask questions about what your technology currently gives you. Are you able to access all of the data you need instantly? Is your data integrated with your partners? How much of your day-to-day processes are automated and how much still requires manual intervention?
More importantly than these questions however, is to ask which technological limitation is causing the most problems. Are you limited by lack of visibility in your supply chain or is lack of flexibility the biggest issue? Identifying the issues makes the digital transformation process much more manageable. If you can finish the statement “I want to use technology to…” you can find the right technology to make an instant impact.
Get the basics right
Regardless of what you want to achieve there a few digital basics that all companies should look to implement. The first is a software system that provides full asset tracking. With digital systems, assets can now be tracked in great depth and these systems can be hugely beneficial, especially if you are still using paper-based processes. In a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, companies that are market leaders in supply chain visibility are on average 7% better at completing customer deliveries on time and 13% better at avoiding out of stock inventory.
Visibility and asset tracking is also the starting point for many of the more exciting digital processes. For example, once you have full supply chain visibility, you can look at automation. Are there certain parts that always get routed to a specific depot or repairer? Why not get your system to automatically move these? Process automation typically results in up to 20% cost savings for the relevant cost base (Capgemini) so this is certainly worthwhile.
One of the biggest advantages of digital processes is that they can communicate with each other automatically, but this often gets overlooked. A common mistake for companies starting their digital transformation is to invest heavily in software in one area, but not have it integrate anywhere else. Take the visibility example above, a new warehouse management system that can tell you exactly where an item is can be very beneficial, but if your engineers still have to keep paper records of all the stock on their van, items will go missing.
Eliminating silos is often the biggest challenge as most areas of your business will have a set way they like to do things. However, integrated systems are where digital processes can be the most beneficial. In the future, your HR system may even link with your job scheduling software so that when an engineer calls in sick their jobs for the day are automatically re-assigned. The possibilities are limitless, but to take full advantage it is important to get people in your business used to the idea of collaborating.
Where should I start?
Digitisation is most certainly the future and the tips covered in this piece should help you begin along the digital transformation path. However, if you want more tailored advice, ByBox would be happy to help.
We have a proven track record of implementing digital solutions and finding cost savings in the supply chain. Our technology can offer the digital basics like full asset tracking and then the automation you need to further reduce costs. Furthermore, all of ByBox’ technology is designed to be integrated.
Are you starting a digital transformation process? Have you already started, but are looking for extra cost savings? ByBox specialists are trained to assist in this process, contact us today to request more information or to book a meeting.