The following Supply Chain Matters technology thought leadership blog commentary is provided in collaboration with SmartBOL Cloud®.

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Digital Transformation

There is little question that in today’s ever changing and dynamic business landscapes, the broad area of business digital transformation are top-of-mind agenda among many CEO’s and their respective senior business executives. No industry seems immune at this point.

Multi-industry disruptors who are leveraging digital-based business models are literally changing industry competitive dynamics with advanced technology enabled business process offerings in products, services in customer-based fulfillment.

At the same time, digital transformation is often translated to enhancing internal business and supply chain-based processes in gaining higher efficiencies, broader integration and intelligence related to customers and service level needs, as well as garnering lower overall costs.

Digital transformation can and does provide new business opportunities as well as significant competitive benefits. Like any other wide-scope business change effort, the end state requires broad and bold vision, coupled with multi-phase manageable phases that can each establish meaningful business and financial value, while mapping towards the end-state of capabilities.

Vision identifies the end-state goal and can provide flexibility in timing, depending on specific industry dynamics, stated business objectives, the clock speed of external competitive developments and overall internal resource availability factors. Objectives will need to address transformational needs to address the specific business, people, advanced technology, business process, and supporting information systems enablement capabilities.

Along the stages of this journey, meaningful quantitative and qualitative benefits need to be evident since they enable creditability to move to the next stage.

 

Supply Chain Digital Transformation

This supply chain management technology industry analyst often responds to inquiries from clients and Supply Chain Matters readers on what are the proper paths for achieving overall supply chain digital transformation.

Obviously there are many, and they will need to closely align with required business objectives related to customer and supplier objectives coupled with required business process capabilities related to supply chain planning, response, customer fulfillment and overall supply chain execution.  Supply Chain Technology

Obstacles are often a fear of overall multi-stage change, non-readiness of existing people skills, or in the quality of existing data and information. Each need to be identified and tackled.

At the same time, it can be helpful to target specific business process areas, whether they be planning, or execution related, where the benefits can be obvious, the impacts far-reaching with very manageable efforts. Benefits of such approaches provide the foundational building blocks for broader areas of digitization of key information leading to more timely and informed decision-making related to customer fulfillment needs and performance levels.

 

Electronic Document Retention

One such obvious but broader reaching area is electronic-based document retention that addresses digitizing bill of lading, shipment and customer delivery proof of delivery processes for warehouses and customer fulfillment centers.

Consider that Wikipedia defines a Bill of Lading as follows:

A bill of lading (sometimes abbreviated as B/L or BoL) is a document issued by a carrier (or their agent) to acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment. Although the term historically related only to carriage by sea, a bill of lading may today be used for any type of carriage of goods.

In essence, the bill of lading has become the de-facto record of both goods shipment, transfer of custody as well as point to point transit actions of goods. When the creation, retention and assimilation of such documentation is digitized, it becomes the basis of an accessible digital information stream related to goods movement, specific carriers and customers.

Add the notions of a digitized proof-of-delivery form and the specific customer fulfillment process has now been digitized in a nearly real-time interval. Such a paperless process provides added cost savings in overall labor costs and in avoidance of time required to research customer shipment problems.

In terms of implementation, electronic document provider SmartBOL offers what is termed as a system agnostic approach, providing needed information electronically and time-stamped, regardless of existing system footprints.

Such information can form the basis of electronic feeds to existing electronic B2B or electronic data interchange (EDI) information exchange platforms as well as various ERP systems where such information can form the basis of other, broader digital transformation process enablement opportunities that involve customer of supplier information integration. That would include availability of accessible digitized information for online orders.

The essence of this approach is the basis of a bill of lading digitization and retention process, an electronic document retrieval portal along with an automated ERP/WMS system interface that can enable broader information capture related to overall supply chain fulfillment. This can be achieved with what is described as an affordable monthly cost.

 

Summary Takeaways

Digital and supply chain focused transformation can and does provide new business opportunities as well as significant competitive benefits. The end state requires broad and bold vision, coupled with multi-phase manageable phases that can each establish meaningful business and financial value, while mapping towards the end-state of capabilities.

Targeting specific business process areas, whether they be planning, or execution related, where the benefits can be obvious, the impacts far-reaching with very manageable efforts is a strategy to consider. Benefits of such an approaches are in providing the foundational building blocks for broader areas of digitization of key information leading to more timely and informed decision-making related to customer fulfillment needs and performance levels.

An obvious but broader reaching area is electronic-based document retention.  In that light, consider addressing the digitizing bill of lading, shipment and customer delivery proof of delivery processes for warehouses and customer fulfillment centers. Such information can form the basis of electronic feeds to existing electronic B2B or electronic data interchange (EDI) information exchange platforms as well as various ERP systems where such information can form the basis of other, broader digital transformation process enablement opportunities that involve customer of supplier information integration.

Readers can garner additional information by visiting the website of SmartBOL.

 

Bob Ferrari

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