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Making The Business Case for NextGen Supply Chain Investments

* By Fiona Soltes *

It’s generally understood that the digital, “NextGen” supply chain will be the predominant way of operating in coming years. Still up for debate, however, is when that expectation will finally become reality.

“The adoption rate has not been progressing as fast as everybody anticipated five years ago,” admits Scott Sopher, principal and leader of the global supply chain practice, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Deloitte has again collaborated with MHI for the 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report, and this year, hits the obstacles to adoption head on. It’s titled, “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Innovation,” and aims to empower supply chain officers with the tools to rise above.

Among those barriers is the challenge of establishing a business case for disruptive technologies, including estimating the full benefits and costs involved. The result, all too often, is “underinvestment and limited action.”

Sopher and others, however, believe that doesn’t have to be the case. Moving forward means setting clear vision, thinking big and starting small, understanding the costs of inactivity/indecision, exploring pilot programs and strategic partnerships and, perhaps, creating a culture of innovation if one doesn’t already exist.

“There are numerous articles about the mechanics of building a business case,” the report states. “However, the key to constructing a successful business case for breakthrough innovations will not be found there.”

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Leading manufacturing and supply chain executives agree that technology is the key to future success. As they digitize their supply chains they are generating more data than ever before, giving them the power to leverage that data to see their businesses in new ways and to make better decisions. These early adopters are creating real and measurable competitive advantage. When it comes to technology investment start small but think big. Build on your successes and learn from your failures. By investing wisely, you’ll create additional value in your supply chain and widen your advantage over the competition.

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