Here’s How Top Chemical Companies are Going Digital to Increase Supply Chain Visibility
Supply chain managers are feeling the pressure to meet customer demand. With the amount of EU regulations rocketing and buyers outsourcing labour to the East, keeping up with the competition will be more difficult than ever before. We surveyed 101 heads of supply chain management to find out how they’re adapting and what challenges they’re up against.
100% of supply chain managers agreed that digital transformation initiatives are becoming increasingly important to streamline supply chain operations. The consensus is unanimous: digitalization is inevitable. What’s not so clear is how to integrate new systems into the complex processes that chemical companies perform.
With the amount of different systems and platforms out there, it’s going to be difficult to get everyone on the same page. Once chemical manufacturers become increasingly dependent on digital processes, uniting different systems could become even more difficult, meaning key performance indicators like supply chain visibility are at risk.
When asked what the main focus of supply chain digitalization was, a majority of respondents reported that end to end visibility was their top priority, above operational efficiency and customer experience. To accomplish the directives of track and trace and serialization, supply chain visibility is key. Companies will have difficulty proving they’re working within regulations, and will struggle to prevent leaks in supply chain until they can see all the activity among their suppliers, shippers, vendors, and partners.
A vast majority of our respondents felt they didn’t have complete visibility across all modes of transport. The question is, what are they doing to remedy this? We found that the technology relied upon most for supply chain visibility is the utilisation of Cloud-based platforms. These are the clear favourite among chemical companies for centralising data. The accessibility, popularity and reliability of the Cloud has made it the backbone of countless companies across a range of industries.
A Cloud-based supply chain management platform offers visibility to all companies. And for multinational chemical companies, receiving data across all their operational regions will provide more insight into growth areas, and understanding of where there are potential hold-ups in the supply chain. In addition, Cloud-based supply chains can help track and tracing via serialization.
When we asked our respondents what technology they expect to rely more on for supply chain visibility over the next five years, Cloud-based platforms held an even larger majority. While there are a few placing the responsibilities of visibility onto third and fourth party logistics, what’s most striking is a clear preference for more universal Cloud-based platforms over licensed transportation management software.
As digital operations grow, chemical companies will need a workforce who can think innovatively, and work flexibly to meet customer needs. It follows that supply chain managers see talent management as an important part of moving towards a digital supply chain. For now they’ll have to dig deep within their current workforce to build the foundations of a new, digitalized supply chain.
Find out how some of the top chemical logistics companies are confronting these issues at LogiChem 2018, take a look at our line-up to see who will be speaking here.