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Trust and openness vital to get benefits from supply chain automation

Tim Lawrence, global head of manufacturing at PA Consulting, comments in Computer Weekly on improving efficiency in global supply chains.

The article talks about improving efficiency in ports, shipping and global logistics, and “focusing the minds of technology firms that are looking to automate and improve the accuracy of data gathering and business processes.”

Tim says: “The technological building blocks for automating and improving efficiency in global supply chains are falling into place.”

“While blockchain and other technologies promise to improve supply chain efficiency, most use cases address administrative problems,” Tim continues. He goes on to add: “And the value they add will be limited unless businesses can overcome internal cultural barriers to sharing data more freely.”

“The transaction layer of automation can be quite straightforward, but the operational and strategic layer is more difficult,” he says. “Companies could automate decisions about where in the supply chain is best to hold inventory and at what time, for example, but they would need to overcome organisational barriers,” he adds.

“That starts with collaboration within the organisation. But you face silos – procurement, supply chain and logistics all talk to each other, but are not joined up. If you then want a supplier to share data and jointly automate decision-making, then that requires a mature discussion. As well as technology investment, you have to discuss how you will share the benefits.”

Read the full article in Computer Weekly

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