Benefits of Digital Supply Chain

By Rob Neumann

What’s happening right now is our “just in time” systems are clearly strained. For example, look at the chip market for automobiles. Everyone assumed that chips were available. Now, we’re going to be rethinking how we order, and potentially, where we order from. Time and cost of goods are of the essence and reshoring offers multiple options to consider. Central America, for one, is a great option for the United States, as is Canada.

But reshoring aside, how can we get a better view of what’s going on within the supply chain? And to be really honest, your eCommerce platform can help you predict that. We can use site visit patterns, cart checkouts, failed checkouts, product selection and deselection as planning tools and there are also great Google analytics plus your social media engagements. These all can be used to run all the way back through your supply chain. We actually have the ability to create a predictive model that helps you, based on trends.

How far out do you need to be watching for orders? The truth is that time is lengthening because “just in time”, isn’t in time. So, what do we actually advocate here at CSS Commerce for our customers? We work at eliminating the bullwhip effect and the empty shelves effect.

But how do you actually improve and measure digitally what’s going at your suppliers, vendors and all of your warehousing efforts? We can make use of key software implemented to do just that but we also have to make sure we are reading the data correctly. And that leads us to efficiency of data gained through vendor portals.

By combining all your Master Data management throughout the supply chain system, you can update ERP, update the eCommerce platform, update your Logistics systems, and actually know with particular precision how to manage your barcodes, part numbers, subpart numbers, assemblies, accuracy of delivery, blueprints photos – all in one place.

In the past, IT has been charged with consolidating systems into a hodgepodge to feed a database and then present something viewable for management analysis. Now, business analytics really helps in visualizing the current situation and make better decisions. By having your vendors feed their information into a single place, you are better equipped with enriched data so that all points of the supply chain are reporting in real time and decision making is simplified and more accurate.

Rob Neumann is a Managing Partner in CSS Commerce. With over 25 years of experience in manufacturing, corporate strategy, marketing, sales and channel development, IT, and software expertise, he has been at the forefront of digital transformation in the B2B sector