Supply Chain Trends

Don’t Get Left Behind: How to Merge Supply Chain and IT

To be able to compete globally, more businesses are adding technology to their supply chain management strategy.

In the past few years, consumers have become more demanding and started setting their expectations high in terms of quality and service. Concurrently, supply chain managers must understand how the latest technology can assist them in terms of accountability and visibility, allowing them to preserve tight control of operations and stay in front of the competition.

With technology, each link in the supply chain can be tracked at the same time. Shipping, tracking, messaging and invoicing are core aspects of most modern supply chain management systems made to optimize performance. Furthermore, applications for tablet computers and mobile phones mean supply chain personnel have extremely powerful tools at the tap of a finger.

Rolling out new supply chain technology

While many supply chain solutions can boost efficiency, businesses need to successfully incorporate new technology in order to maximize their return on investment. A company looking to incorporate new technology into its supply chain needs to reexamine its processes, invest in a change management strategy and plan the timing of its roll-out.

Organizations adding new technology must assess and potentially reengineer their processes, all of which begins with a comprehensive process review. This means identifying and analyzing current processes, then determining how the new method and/or technology will impact each process. Some processes may be streamlining by the technology, some processes may need to change, and others will remain the same.

There are significant challenges associated with integrating new technology, and companies need to invest in a change-management strategy. This involves planning, communicating, and training, which could require one or more people dedicated full-time to the transition. Companies that don’t invest the essential resources run the risk of getting less-than-optimal results from their new integration.

Finally, organizations need to time the roll-out of new technology properly. Ideally, a roll-out should coincide with a businesses’ slowest or easiest time of the year. Organizations should also weigh the costs and benefits of both incremental integration of new technology, or incorporating everything at once.

Staffing the Supply Chain with Technical Talent

One of the biggest problems with incorporating technology into the supply chain is finding individuals who are trained and qualified to take full advantage of the tools at their disposal.

Of course, IT talent is in demand in every field, and this means companies are not only competing with other supply chain for technical talent – they’re also competing with entire industries. Unfortunately, individuals coming out of college with science, technology engineering and math degrees aren’t thinking about finding work in a manufacturer’s supply chain. They’re likely looking at jobs in tech start-ups or finance. Organizations looking to hire IT talent for their supply chain operations need to take this into consideration and take extra steps to appeal to these individuals.

At ZDA, we understand that today’s supply chains need highly skilled IT talent and we use a variety of recruiting tools to source top-tier talent for our clients. Contact us today and we can get started on finding skilled individuals for your organization.


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