The Covid-19 pandemic has put supply chains under pressure. From Fortune 500 companies to SMEs, through all kinds of industries, the impact on operations and planning activities was and remains real. Supply and demand forces have been tremendously shaken by the accentuation of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) driven by the pandemic.
As for digital transformation, the question is not if or what, but when. When will the brightest mind of the planet find the cure for Covid-19? Today, no one can answer this question. Experts converge on the hypothesis that it will take time. This means that companies are facing additional challenges to manage their current activities while dealing with the higher levels of VUCA.
Besides ensuring business continuity, companies are still dealing with their digital transformation projects. We observe that the reactions can be different depending on the company size, culture, and industry sector they serve. But to keep it simple, the choices range from accelerating to stop digitization initiatives.
At SupplyOn, we believe the ability of companies to succeed in Covid-19 times will reside in their capacity not only to react to the new challenges but to be prepared for the post-pandemic era. In this article, I try to condense the four key reasons why digital transformation initiatives should not be stopped, and why companies should even consider accelerating them.
Transformation trends are confirmed, the benefits are real
Most of our customers hold leading positions in their industry. What we see is that, despite Covid-19 times, their digital transformation projects are confirmed and keep going. The truth is that at the peak of the pandemic, things were on hold for a few weeks, just the time for companies to organize themselves and reassess their project portfolios.
Now, most of the projects have restarted. Customers and SupplyOn’s project team members are navigating their way via Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet to get the projects done. And the reason is simple. It is because the benefits of digitization are sustainable and will help the companies to better react to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but also to respond to future market rebounds. Right now, efficiencies and transparency are the benefits that keep supply chains in flow. Tomorrow, it will enable companies to ripe the benefits of efficient collaboration to deal with the economic recovery.
The impact of Covid-19 shows the need for higher resilience
The pressure for supply chains is exceptionally high since, despite the constant changes in volumes and the lower production rates in discrete manufacturing industries, the working conditions have changed to meet safety requirements. Also, high volatility requires companies to react faster, and all this in a context which forces companies to take partial work measures.
One possible answer is to digitize further and automate collaborative and supply chain processes. Having intelligent tools in place to simplify and automate time-consuming tasks will become a must. After all, this is the only way to keep up the level of resilience needed to meet customer expectations while competing efficiently in a very challenging time. While today’s focus of corporations is on survival, tomorrow it will be on sustaining their competitiveness to keep their leading positions or increasing their chances of playing the challenger role efficiently.
Companies have to review their processes and organization
One of the key characteristics we observe in the discrete manufacturing industry is that even if technology evolves fast, its adoption to transform and digitize processes takes time. Given the current pandemic, time became the enemy number 1 for corporations since they are forced to review their organization, processes, and resources to face challenges brought on by Covid-19 times.
Fewer resources, additional financial pressure, new working policies, and inefficient tools to support the supply chain are the key ingredients for imploding operations. So, the question is not what or if, but when to start or accelerate digital transformation.
Companies are required to adapt and make the right decisions. That is, decision that are right for their supply chain, their customers, and their stakeholders. I believe that this is possible while reducing risk, if companies opt for benefit-proven solutions that can help enhance and accelerate digital transformation. The sooner they start, the better since the digital journey does not stop at the end of the project. It is here to last. So, there is a need to get started in order to cope with the current pressing issues, but also with future challenges.
Financial support from governments and IT providers is available
In every project, financials play a preponderant role, and ROI is a critical decision criterion. Covid-19 times will not change this. As a matter of fact, the pandemic has pushed governments and also IT and consultancy companies to react. And here is where the typical ROI equation should consider another variable. On the one hand, governments are supporting digital transformation initiatives. Moreover, as a response to Covid-19, their support has even increased. On the other hand, IT service providers and consultancies have developed a wide range of Covid-19-related offerings aiming at supporting their customers.
What this means is that access to financing and attractive commercial conditions are available and should be factored into the ROI. Here, returns will not only mechanically increase on the paper, but also in the P&L when companies decide to start or accelerate their digital transformation.
If you want to know more about how SupplyOn can help with your digital transformation, you can contact us here.