4 min Reading Time ∙

Supply Chain Resilience: How Adopting a Digitalization Journey Fights Disruption

For the past decade, Singapore has been ranked by the World Bank as Asia’s top logistics hub port, offering unparalleled connectivity to the region and international markets. Managing detailed trade compliances, understanding the overarching trends in imports and exports and effectively making sure goods can enter other countries in a timely manner is not as easy task.

Knowing the strain on today’s globalized economy and continuing to face hurdles such as inflation, political unrest, the Russia-Ukraine war as well as the ongoing effects of a global pandemic, the need for Singapore to establish itself as a strong, agile and sustainable trade hub demands leveraging the power of digitalization and understanding the challenges of digital adoption.

When facing the opportunity to move goods efficiently, companies are finding themselves needing to shift from a just-in-time mindset to a more focused goal of creating a sustainable supply chain that can manage even the most unprecedented of circumstances.

And therein lies the challenge. As the supply chain industry trend is shifting, when holding more inventory is no longer the most effective solution, Singapore’s small-scale companies and multi-billion-dollar organizations alike can position themselves competitively knowing the volatility of supply chain disruptions will not be going away anytime soon.


Understanding the Journey

The first step in building a resilient supply chain may surprise you. It’s an understanding that successful digitalization is not the destination – it’s the journey of how you get there. Companies can actually increase their end-to-end supply chain strengths and break down the silos that have previously prevented full integration by knowing how their key supply chain elements (data, supplier management, inventory and collaboration) all interconnect.

Realizing how operation systems, management infrastructures, technology and staff capabilities, mindsets and behaviors all work together is an essential piece in establishing a holistic digitalization approach. To begin, companies first need to architect their future state through creating their digital planning vision and documenting their current processes. It’s only after this documentation is completed, it becomes more obvious where potential gaps are. Continuing the digitalization journey, workflows can and should be redesigned with the lens of overall business value and bottom line.


Adapting to Disruptions

One of the best ways to mitigate pitfalls and adapt to disruption is focusing on supply chain collaboration. This is key for building long-term supply chain resilience. When organizations fully realize the importance of their data rich collaborative supply chain relationships, it decreased risks and allows supply chains to readily adapt to potential disruptions. This also allows for agility and flexibility, paving the way for technology investments to fully align when data, people and processes are ready to do so.

Keeping data clean, allowing for real-time sharing of that data, having real-time communication and creating realistic scenario planning which directly allows for budgetary impact all help companies mitigate future shock waves of disruption.

Continuing to develop supply chain resilience requires the ongoing alignment of the organization, metrics and incentives to new digital capabilities. Sustaining value can be captured through a combination of data, people and processes. By documenting the value capture cashflows, P &L and maximizing ROI from your technical supply chain journey, this “start small and build” approach directly supports and adheres to nimble, iterative deployments.


Importance of Workflows

So where do companies get into trouble? When companies take a technology first approach, this singular lens allows tribal processes to creep back in, undermine the work already completed and ultimately, fail. Tribal processes singlehandedly neutralize many digitalization projects. Throwing technology at vaguely defined processes is a true waste of time and money.

Strategic workflows are where the rubber hits the road. Process optimization only happens with the right workflows, mindsets and behaviors, driving tech adoption and performance. By training an organization through on the job coaching for performance and data driven decision making in SC planning technology, successful digitalization will directly guide companies on how to improve their resilience.


Challenges of Digital Adoption

The challenges of digital adoption arise if companies do not fully understand the integrity of their data, the importance of eliminating risks and having full governance of their data and control.

When leaders look at the short-term or past challenges, many struggle to understand the long-term benefits resulting in old habits, continued firefighting, localized Excel solutions and little to no digital transformation. Even though digitalization solutions are built to absorb disruptions, act on time and recover quickly, if there isn’t 100% buy-in from the top down, overall digital adoption can stall out.


The Bottom Line

By understanding your supply chain pain points, finding the right solutions, putting them into action and monitoring the right metrics, resilience your supply chain will go from a concept to a reality. Organizations need to spend time stress testing their supply chains so they can be ready to react quickly to future disruptions. More inventory is not the most efficient way of handling supply chain disruption. Instead, investing in a tried-and-true digitalization journey will pave your company’s long-term road to success.