The digital supply chain and the intelligent enterprise

December 14, 2018

On the SAP blog there is an interesting series of posts that approached the topic of the digital supply chain. What is it? What does an intelligent enterprise mean? How does it impact daily operations, or even daily life?

From the key pillars of the digital supply chain to what the modern professionals aim for or expect from digitization and automation, the series is a good read, and makes readers look forward for the next episode.

We’ll highlight and quote some of the main aspects that caught our eye in what follows, for you.


The intelligent enterprise


Those organizations that use “data to achieve higher value outcomes—faster and with less risk” within the current complex, globalized and digital economy define as intelligent enterprises.

Data should be used “to manage supply chain processes from end to end—from detecting the initial demand signal sent by the customer and orchestrating supply partners to manufacture the item and deliver it to its destination”.


The key pillars of the digital supply chain


The SAP blog posts list 4 key pillars of the digital supply chain and one solid foundation for it all.

The foundation consists of trusted data and becomes the unique “source of truth that democratizes data throughout the enterprise for faster, more accurate decision-making”.

The pillars are the IoT (sensors and adjacent software that feeds the data processing systems), analytics (giving sense to the information input coming from the sensors; notably, “to keep pace with real-time huge data volume management challenges, intelligent enterprises are moving away from siloed business intelligence approaches towards a well-integrated and orchestrated approach”), Machine Learning (or advanced analytics) and – at least in the current perspective – blockchain (“a distributed ledger or database”.).

All of the above are emerging technologies, but many organizations around the world already employ them successfully, thus validating them and pushing for the next stage, of them being established technologies.


A simple example illustrating how the digital supply chain works


In the second article of the series, the author considers the customer and its perspective. A down to earth example shows how the intelligent lifestyle and work style looks like.

If what the customer wants would be coffee, then he/she would get it from a smart coffee machine that never runs out of beans, because it always notifies the service crew in advance whenever it estimates the beans will run out in a determined period of time.

Moreover, the beans employed would be fair trade, a thing easy to track by making use of the blockchain technology. Transparency in what the provenance of the supplies is easy to achieve with this ledger system.

A person cannot live only on coffee. The average customer would also have a nutritious diet, due to smart devices and analytics that help coordinate its health metrics with the providers of his/her daily meals, such as the grocery delivery service of the restaurant of choice.

To sum it up, the daily chores and needs would get resolved in a new type of paradigm – cost, convenience and choice would synchronize to “positively impact customers everywhere”.


What do you think about this big picture delivered by SAP’s posts? Do you see yourself living in such a world, or are you already making the necessary steps towards it? Is your organization part of the change? Are you a disruptor or not yet?

To find out what steps you can make on the intelligent enterprise path by using the SAP tools, contact us and let’s talk about it!


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