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Accelerating towards full digitization: The journey to 100%

The 3+1 approach to supply chain optimization
Strategies for secure and efficient supply chain optimization

With 100% of processes digitized and automated, a supply chain is a dream for every supply chain manager and the aim of many companies for many years. But why do so few reach the final goal of 100%? In the second episode of Inside Supply Chain, we get to the bottom of this question and also provide the solution – the 3+1 approach.

On the home straight: With 80% so close and yet so far away

Taking a look at the example of a global company: Millions of transactions are processed annually in over 60 countries and in 20 different languages. As a result, digitization poses various challenges.

Rare contact: The greatest difficulty lies in including business partners in the digital processes with whom only sporadic contact. According to the Pareto principle, these make up around 20% in most companies.

Security gaps and the use of different communication channels: Due to the absence of regular exchange, communication often happens via channels such as telephone and e-mail. Not only is this inefficient, but security aspects also play a central role here. Especially in times of data and transactions protection being a top priority.

Incorrect master data: If there is no regular contact, contact data is often incorrect or even missing – from changing contact persons to structural changes in the company. There are many reasons for insufficient data quality with infrequently contacted business partners.

Increasing demand for compliance and fulfilling stricter ESG regulations: A 100% digital and automated process appears to be essential to ensure not only the efficiency but also the security of the supply chains.

Achieving success with the 3+1 approach

The digitization of supply chain processes require not only technical solutions, but also a clear methodological structure. In this context, SupplyOn applies the 3+1 principles, which have proven to be a key strategy for an effective and secure conversion of the previously non-digitalized 20% of the supply chain processes.

Principle 1: The transactional approach

The first principle, the transactional approach, extends further than the pure technical use and focuses on the targeted establishment of connections. Here any communication connection is only activated when essential for the process. This means a targeted reduction in unnecessary interfaces. It not only creates efficiency, but also minimizes potential vulnerabilities for security risks.

Principle 2: Individual responsibility

The second principle emphasizes individual accountability in gathering information. Instead of centralized data collection, the responsibility for researching and providing the required information lies with the respective parties. This not only promotes transparency, but also efficiency in fact-finding and reduces redundancies.

Principle 3: Data clearing after each transaction

The third principle recommends consistent data clearing after completed transactions. Deleting contact data right after the transaction, ensures that only current and valid data is used for future business operations. This step is not only relevant from a data protection perspective, but also contributes to the quality of digital supply chain processes.

The “Plus 1” principle: Monitoring and continuous improvement

The final step, usage monitoring and continuous improvement, closes the circle. It enables the analysis of past transactions, the identification of patterns and the continuous development of the system. By systematically evaluating the processes, weaknesses can be identified, security mechanisms optimized, and efficiency further increased. This iterative approach ensures that digital supply chain optimization is not seen as a singular measure but is continuously adapted to changing requirements.

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Inside Supply Chain

More than just closing a gap

The goal of these measures is not only to close the 20% gap, but also to provide incentives for users to further adopt digitization tools.

This initiative also represents a pioneering step towards a digitally optimized supply chain structure in the context of global business activities. It demonstrates that the complete digitization of supply chains are not just steps towards increasing efficiency but also essential for closing security gaps. A consistent implementation of the 3+1 design principles focuses on efficiency, sustainability and security. It also creates a motivating incentive for partners and users to actively participate in this digital transformation.

We are convinced that achieving 100% digitization brings challenges, but it is worth facing up to them: The result is a strengthening of competitiveness through increased efficiency – and thus securing the future viability of our customers.

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