When Private Businesses Evolve, So Should The Supply Chain

Like so many aspects of private businesses, the supply chain is undergoing a remarkable transformation. In fact, supply chains are really no longer linear chains at all. Instead, they’ve become complex ecosystems of partners, contract manufacturers, suppliers and customers.

With the latest advances in technology, the possibilities for enhancing the supply chain seem endless. Think self-driving fleets made possible by ‘autonomous trucks’ same-day delivery services and the much-anticipated integration of blockchain technology—creating new opportunities for traceability and transparency.

When it comes to the supply chain, new challenges have also emerged. Today’s private businesses are working to satisfy a digitally savvy consumer whose expectations keep growing, thanks to an increasingly global economy. Companies face more competition and pricing pressures, compounded by advancing technology, shifting demographics, government policy changes and rapidly changing business models.

Business owners will often ask how they can achieve better results through an increase in supply chain agility. It’s true that efficiency still requires looking at the fundamentals: your overall business ambitions and priorities, examining whether your operational costs are competitive, ensuring the right strategic partners and the right agreements are in place. But now there are new questions to ask and emerging tools that can enhance relationships and overall effectiveness.

Here’s some insights for you to consider for your business:

Place an emphasis on data.

Are you capturing data and, more important, the right type of data? Ideally you want access to a broad diversity of data which when analyzed can reveal new insights regarding the performance of your supply chain network. Better insights lead to better decisions. You can also use data to enhance customer service. Find out if your customers and suppliers are satisfied with your supply chain performance. Dashboards and new tools like supply chain smart maps can provide insights through qualitative analytics, benchmarking and performance assessments that identify ways to achieve your supply chain potential.

Don’t just manage logistics now, look ahead.

What key components of your supply chain are likely to face disruptive technologies in the near future? Is your supply chain fit for the future? For example, fulfillment: will today’s configuration still fit the business in five years? Many private businesses are moving towards digital fulfillment, designed to transform in-homogeneous and efficient processes to an individually optimized logistics setup when it comes to performance, risk and cost.

Enhance agility through emerging tools and technologies.

Transition your end-to-end supply chain into an agile one using tools like ERP, portals, IoT, blockchain, RPA and AI. Start by talking to your team. Find out whether they find it easy to respond to new requests for information or new directions taken by the business. What do they need? For example, one tool we offer is the EY Smart Factory, which integrates manufacturing excellence capabilities and smart technologies that drive loss elimination and increased productivity in factories.

Integrate digital planning.

Future-proofing the supply chain doesn’t just mean adding the latest tools. It’s an opportunity to take a more holistic approach to transform the way planning is embedded in your organization, processes and IT to achieve higher performance, flexibility, reactivity and transparency. Having a better, more connected big picture will help your private business survive and thrive.

The manner in which private businesses operate and compete is changing rapidly, particularly when it comes to the delivery of products and services. This means supply chains and operations should also evolve to create new sources of value. Knowing where you need to be is the first step in unleashing the potential of your business model to deliver the strongest possible service.

To learn more about how to navigate traditional supply chain and operations capabilities, infused with digital knowledge and asset-backed offerings to help you navigate disruption, contact me today, or find your local business advisor at