The coronavirus has placed severe pressure on supply chains for months, and the impacts are broad. Some manufacturers are having difficulty measuring the degree to which they’ve been affected because they don’t have the technology to do so. As a result, they’re managing coronavirus impacts the same way they manage their data requests: reactively. And it’s costing them.
Now, companies are looking to reduce budget, and supply chain data technology is a good start. It can help them reduce budgets through process efficiency and optimization, keeping existing staff employed and tightening up your risk mitigation efforts in the process. But for platform technology to be valuable, it needs to overcome key barriers in your company and extended enterprise.
A complete data management solution that provides true supply chain transparency — including geographic COVID-19 impact data — can lower common digital transformation barriers. This will facilitate effective process and systems transitions as we adjust to a new business landscape.
This is how a fully-featured service provider can help overcome the four biggest challenges of digital transformation for manufacturing businesses.
Data Automation & Resistance to Change
Standardization is hard to drive in supply chains. A change for one company may need to be absorbed by every supplier in the network to be effective. New technologies and data exchange standards are difficult to implement broadly, and workforces can be resistant to sweeping operational changes.
Platform technology can manage data so much more efficiently, the operational and process improvements alone make the business case for the software. It works cohesively with your existing teams to make the most of their potential, and automate menial job functions they would rather avoid. This frees up internal resources for core business objectives, which are probably not characterized by data management.
Deployed at a corporate level, a digital platform can centralize data assets from procurement, compliance, product management and corporate social responsibility teams in one place. This builds real transparency in your global supply chain, and creates cost and operational efficiencies that drive revenue growth. These benefits help the technology quickly gain acceptance and approval from each of these channels within your organization.
Easing Workers Into New Technology
Implementing a new software platform typically means a great deal of training. This is especially true in supplier due diligence, where even the smallest technological advancements can impact each actor upstream. For true transparency, companies need internal teams, business units and suppliers alike to have a deep understanding of how to share and manage data effectively.
Industry thought leaders and service providers are driving adoption in a number of ways, including:
- Collaborating with trade associations to overcome transitional challenges.
- Offering customer success and implementation resources.
- Providing access to a web-based learning platform.
- Building a library of supplier and client education, including webinars, eBooks and guides.
This can overcome the knowledge gap to create an agile, cost-efficient program. For most, it also eliminates the need to introduce new technologies, headcount and overhead as their educational needs evolve.
Protecting Data Through Modern Security Standards
As companies move more data to the cloud, concerns about data security grow. This is especially true in compliance programs, which may include sensitive product composition and human rights data. Furthermore, those that sell into federal supply chains usually meet heightened security measures. Robust platform technology can overcome these issues by:
- Complying with SOC 2 Type 2 onsite security standards.
- Maintaining International Trafficking in Arms Regulation (ITAR)-compliant data services.
- Providing suppliers with a secure portal to upload declarations.
- Modifying operations for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This gives both internal teams and suppliers the assurance that private data is secure and protected throughout the transition.
Creating Value to Overcome Budget Constraints
Manufacturers may have difficulty committing the budget to implement technology solutions. While some are using outdated, manual processes, others ignore their requirements entirely. This will be more expensive, either as a result of an enforcement event, operational inefficiencies or missed opportunities to leverage data insight. They end up spending more to receive far less than what a fully-featured service provider offers.
As supply chain data management technology has matured, the value it builds into compliance programs has expanded. Automation and machine learning themselves can more than account for the cost of manual supplier engagement and single data-point solutions. This has driven proactive product design, procurement and compliance as a means of sustainable revenue growth, as opposed to cost savings or risk mitigation.
Supply Chain Data Management: The Future of Product Design
The coronavirus pandemic has created a range of difficulties far more complex than the shift toward digital technology. Among them, certain medical device manufacturers — including those that produce ventilators, facemasks and sanitizers — face demand they’re unable to meet and supply shortages. This has prompted other manufacturers, themselves facing less demand for core deliverables, to transition their operations to produce medical devices and parts.
Manufacturers new to the medical devices arena have more stringent data requirements to navigate. While they may lack the resources to acquire new data quickly, they’re also struggling to meet urgent product demand timelines. To leap these hurdles effectively, some build to product specifications that can be fulfilled by prequalified suppliers. And they’re saving on compliance costs in the process.
Supply chain transparency allows companies from any industry to operate in this fashion all the time.
These are big lessons for affected companies, who will return to their core operations with insight once the pandemic has run its course. We’ll see them overcoming the challenges of digital transformation to thrive in a more risk-conscious business landscape on the other side of this mess.
For more information about how Assent Compliance is helping companies manage digital transformation challenges, contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View IIoT for Products & Service Content at LiveWorx
Register for Complimentary Virtual Event
About Assent Compliance: Assent Compliance helps companies by providing transparency, traceability and real understanding of their supply chain data, so they can protect their brands, remove market access barriers, and reduce operational and financial risk. Its software as a service (SaaS) supply chain data management solution combines advanced technology and deep expertise to give businesses a complete, centralized view of their supply chain data — essential for the most critical business decisions.