Digitized supply chain is a term that has been thrown around quite a bit in the past few years, but what does it really mean?
Digitizing your supply chain refers to the process of converting physical processes into digital ones. This can be achieved through digitizing inventory systems and operations management.
With demand constantly increasing on a global scale, the need for digitized supply chain management has never been more important. The rise in e-commerce and remote clientele is a perfect example of how this process can help businesses grow their customer bases by expanding internationally to meet growing demand.
How a physical product can be digitized
The digital version of your supply chain consists only of the information about the product, not the physical item itself. All data is stored in an inventory system, which can then be communicated with software that has created a digital model of your supply-chain. The data can include information about inventory and production efficiency or anything else that is relevant. This process eliminates the need for physical items to be counted and stored as they can just be entered into the software as you scan them into the system.
The first and most common step is to take a picture of the physical product. Next, scan the barcode. This will ensure each item is accounted for. Once this process has been completed, information about the product can be entered in an inventory system, which can then be fed into software that has created a digital version of your supply chain.
What are the disadvantages of the digital supply chain.
The disadvantages of the digitized supply chain are mainly associated with the start-up costs and maintenance. The entire process of digitizing your supply chain can be seen as expensive or even unwise to some, but it is becoming clear that this process will become a necessity in the near future. One study found that 72% of firms believe it is important for their goods to have digital tags embedded into them. This means that only 28% didn’t see an increase in efficiency from integrating the process into their business model.
Many companies are finding out more efficient ways to carry out their operations through digitized practices and they are also finding novel uses for this new technology. For example, GE Healthcare China has been able to use a digital process to track how a product is being used after it has been shipped.
Advantages of digitized supply chain
The advantages of digitized supply chain are mainly associated with the efficiency and accuracy that comes from using this process. With all data stored in an inventory system, which can then be communicated with software that has created a digital model of your supply-chain, there is no need for physical items to be counted or stored because they can just be entered into the software as you scan them into the system. For example, when GE Healthcare China scans medication like IV drips, any time one goes missing from their inventory it will automatically notify hospitals so they know what happened.(This does not necessarily mean anything was stolen) The same thing applies to production: if something needs to change about an order, it is simple to make that change.
Moreover, the digitized supply chain can be used as a way of streamlining your operations in order to expand internationally and meet growing demand domestically.