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How CIOs can make their supply chains more intelligent

The pandemic brought chaos to supply chains globally, revealing that a strong supply chain is crucial for the health of every business, in both the short- and long-term. As enterprises attempt to recuperate from the impact of COVID-19, business leaders are faced with the ongoing challenge of bringing operations back to pre-pandemic levels – and that starts with technology.

Technology plays a huge role in supply chain strategy and operations, and CIOs will be integral leaders in leveraging the latest technology to build smarter, better supply chains. In fact, the role of today’s CIO is changing as fast as the technology around us.  

As digital transformation continues to evolve, CIOs must continue to manage IT systems and services across enterprises, while simultaneously shaping and driving a company’s approach to digital transformation. To meet the demands of the CIO today while juggling the ever-evolving landscape of supply chains around the world, it’s crucial to focus on these three actions: 

  • Ensure your company’s supply chain is being managed smarter and better than ever before

To build and implement an intelligent supply chain, it’s crucial to leverage the latest technology available to optimise many planes of the supply chain. With an intelligent supply chain, companies can take advantage of technological advancements to collect data and develop insights to save on costs, increase profitability, accelerate speed to customers, and get ahead of their competitors. 

For example, one of the tools Schneider Electric uses to drive the development of intelligent supply chains is the Industrial Edge, a computing platform with ready-to-use Edge connectivity, devices, apps and device management infrastructure. The platform brings edge computing as close as possible to the data source, connecting all assets and processing it locally. With the help of Industrial Edge, companies can accelerate processes without sacrificing high quality to become the most effective and successful they can be. In fact, Gartner research predicts that 75 per cent of enterprise data will be created and processed at the edge by 2025. 

As supply chains are continuously becoming more connected, dynamic, and expanded, these solutions address the need to automate certain processes by adding intelligence, guidance, and sensory awareness, allowing them to operate independently from humans.  

  • Put an increased focus on data crunching capabilities at the edge

Applications such as those for asset management need performance monitoring and data processing to occur in real-time to function properly. Additionally, richer insights are needed from business systems data combined with operating data from staff working on the plant floor. Edge ecosystems transform operations by allowing decision making extremely close to the original source of information. Enabling data analysis, communications, and storage the moment of data capture allows for more even workflows, distributes data capacity, and streamlines responses to stakeholders who need to make decisions in real-time.  

Across many supply chains, decision-making at the edge is already happening, and now the focus shifts to identifying more use cases to further enable connected, autonomous and automated networks of edge decisions.  

  • Strike a balance between implementing new and smarter solutions and training supply chain professionals to keep them up to speed 

As powerful as technology is, company-wide buy-in is the only way to achieve optimal efficiency and successful adoption by all teams. To ensure a seamless transition to the latest technology, companies must start from the top and work all the way down to the goals of key individuals. Make sure to showcase the capabilities and benefits of the technology you’re introducing. For example, if a company is introducing the Industrial Edge, it should highlight the acceleration of high-quality edge computing and the ability to modernise responses to stakeholders in real time to make imperative decisions.   

In managing intelligent supply chains, CIOs need to be leading the charge to adopt the latest technology, maintain new tools and create processes that maximise efficiency. Industrial Edge is one of the latest tools right at CIOs’ fingertips that can transform the supply chain infrastructure to meet the increasing demands of today’s world.

Trevor Berens is Commercial and Industrial Sales Leader, Secure Power at Schneider Electric

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