MHI Solutions

Human Resources

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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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.

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