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Cold chain management
Digital transformation in the supply chain is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s table stakes. Business leaders are quickly realizing that without an effective transformation strategy in place, they’ll be surpassed by their competition.
This need also holds true in the cold chain, where globalization, an aging population, and consumer demands, among other factors, are driving complexity and making it increasingly challenging for businesses that are moving perishable products to maintain end-to-end visibility and product integrity across all lanes (air, road, rail, and sea).
But, why are businesses investing in digital transformation at all? Where do they see the profits being reaped? And how successfully are they selling digital change throughout their organization and supply chain?
Aside from the serialization and traceability regulations and requirements that are driving businesses operating in the food & beverage and pharmaceutical supply chains to implement change, companies are seeing the added benefits to digitizing their global supply chain by adopting innovative technology and solutions.
In a LogiPharma benchmark report, “Digitizing the Supply Chain,” 97 percent of respondents said digitization is a priority for their organization. The majority of respondents said that digital transformation will make them more competitive, accelerate innovation, improve quality and traceability as well as end-to-end visibility, and facilitate supply chain management after a merger or acquisition.
Companies using digital transformation to ask wider strategic questions, like “can we get to a larger market share or increase our product portfolio?” are making the most of the long-term strategic opportunities. They’re seeing how it can transform even seemingly small tactical decisions into key strategic differentiations, including the ability to unleash innovation opportunities.
Many businesses are also viewing digital transformation as necessary for improving internal process efficiencies. Simplicity and scalability are key to any digital transformation strategy, with the question being: which technology solutions are the easiest to implement across the entire supply chain, the most cost-effective, and will deliver the most benefits to our organization?
Implementing digital transformation may seem daunting, particularly for supply chain logistics leaders who are managing complex, rapidly changing, and global value chains. Speed to market, agility, visibility, and cost-savings are paramount, along with ensuring product quality and safety end-to-end and working with the best logistics partners.
With the rapid rate of innovation today, change is inevitable. Businesses need to think about change or, simply put, they may face a bleak future if they don’t consider how to transform and adopt new practices, processes, and channels. Ultimately, digital transformation is needed to support business growth and to empower companies to improve their strategy, make better forecasts and decisions, improve operational efficiencies, and invest saved costs on innovation.
Change is hard; most people want security and feel comfortable with the status quo. Aversion to change is often identified as a primary barrier to digital transformation. How can executives balance this need for security and familiarity with the equally important need to change your business as the market demands?
The first step is to accept that digital transformation is not just about the technology; it will also require a review of your corporate culture and priorities, as well as internal operating procedures and other processes. Inertia and resistance need to be tackled head on with open communication, explaining why the company needs to change and why the future state will be better — or, to simply state that the present situation will inevitably lead the company into dire circumstances if it doesn’t pivot.
Change isn’t easy for anyone, but it doesn’t need to be hard. In today’s increasingly complex supply chain, companies operating in the cold chain in particular, where temperature controlled products must be kept with strict temperature boundaries and visibility has historically been limited, face a bleak future if they don’t consider how to transform and adapt.
However, competition for margins and market share alone won’t drive the digital transformation. Companies need to think carefully about how they position IoT, data analytics, and other disruptive technologies and solutions, how they tell the story of why they are using them, and how they communicate the benefits to their employees, producers, growers, manufacturers, and logistics partners — transforming them from data-phobes to data fans.
The most successful technology shifts are embraced from the bottom-up as well as the top-down. They’re driven by people, and buy-in is mission-critical. Proper planning, ongoing communications with affected stakeholders, and working with the right solutions provider can facilitate an effective and painless transformation strategy.