Transforming the Supply Chain in Today's Digital Era

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Transforming the Supply Chain in Today's Digital Era

By Doug Caywood, Worldwide Industry Director, Con - 10/12/2015
Change is in the air. Not just the changing of the seasons, but the changing of an industry.

Today’s digitally-connected world has drastically changed consumer expectations. That same connectivity, coupled with important advancements in technology, is poised to reshape the manufacturing industry, driving a fourth industrial revolution that many are calling industry 4.0.

With consumer goods (CG) manufacturers historically topping the charts among the world’s most innovative companies, it’s no surprise that CG leaders are already looking at ways to harness this fourth era in business productivity to transform how they design, deliver and service products.

And one of the biggest opportunities is in the supply chain.

The Catalyst for Supply Chain Innovation
Before we talk about the opportunities in the supply chain, it’s important to understand the significance of what’s fueling them.

Today’s Internet of Things (IoT), with its advancements in sensors, devices, machines, connectivity and data insights, has become a powerful force in its ability to turn consumer products into smart, connected ones, and to connect the systems, devices and people that drive a manufacturer’s operations.

But connecting devices to IT systems is only the first step. And what’s changed goes way beyond our ability to capture and collect data from them. We’ve always had lots of data from the factory floor and the enterprise, and in many cases we’ve had reasonable demand data too. What’s propelling IoT and big data forward, along with the real potential for supply chain innovation, is cloud computing and important advancements in machine learning.

With the advent of unlimited computing capacity in the cloud and advanced analytics capabilities, CG businesses now have the ability to combine their massive amounts of differing types of data together, examine it in intelligent ways to find patterns, and tell you how to solve a problem. And this can be done in real-time. This is what’s creating opportunities that were unachievable until now

Imagine the Possibilities
What if you were completely uninhibited to recognize a problem, ask questions that answer specifically why this problem occurs, and model answers that solve it? What if all the people throughout the connected value chain were empowered to take intelligent action exactly when it matters most?

Imagine the speed, the agility and the impact that could be delivered. Imagine the passion and creativity in your people to know they’ve directly contributed to the success of the company and customer satisfaction. THIS is the opportunity we now have across the CG industry today that is fueling supply chain innovation.

With these new capabilities, demand is known and can be acted on. Effort can also be focused on where effort is valued: from new, connected devices such as smart shelving or smart coolers or intelligent end-caps. Decisions can be made that drive more sustainable results and increase the satisfaction of your customers.

These advancements can also enable dramatic increases in supply chain and people productivity by delivering actionable predictive insights focused on delivering the highest results to the business whether in sales or supply chain planning or marketing. And, as consumers want more information about their products and are willing to pay for it, IoT presents great potential to improve transparency, traceability, and product and food safety. It also opens doors to test new, disruptive business models.

The Future is Now
These are just a few of the exciting possibilities that IoT and predictive analytics presents. There’s really no limit to what you can now achieve. We look forward to witnessing the innovations that CG brands will unlock and helping you take advantage of these new, amazing opportunities to transform your supply chain.