New Environment: New Opportunities

The Digital Supply Network is a unique combination of talent, processes and information that allows for a positive financial impact on business through the generation of value.

By Armando Díaz
Managing Director, Operations Consulting
Accenture México.

When executives think of digital technology, what typically comes to mind are images of a transactional ecosystem in which certain instructions are carried out in a specific system (e.g. ERP), or they may think of social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on), but few are really involved in the emerging digital world which both the market and companies demand in order for them to maintain their position as leader.

The digital world in the supply chain is an ecosystem of collaboration with accurate, online, flexible and fast information (the same number and the same truth for everyone) which not only fosters a more friendly environment for supply chain professionals and users, but also allows for the generation of value in the business to be accelerated. A recent study carried out by Accenture found that from this year the new digital environment will bring about a disruptive change in the supply chain in the following aspects:

Emerging technologies are not only adding "rules to the game" in the supply chain, they are completely changing it
  • The creation of new supply chain models, or the eradication of previous models, mainly due to the automation of collaboration with suppliers and customers.

  • The change in importance of different steps in the supply chain due to a reassessment of the priorities of the stages in the chain with respect to their net value generation.

  • The change in the definition of control points and main measuring indicators across the length and width of the supply chain.

  • The change in the current role of systems and infrastructure for changing from the generation of simple data to the generation of information.

  • People’s adaptability to this new environment.

These changes are creating opportunities for companies that know how to adopt them. Some analysts believe that between 2013 and 2022 more than 14.4 billion dollars may be generated from the application of the digital world in the supply chain,1 mainly through these factors:

  • Improvement in customer experience and increases in customers.

  • Cost optimization due to improved asset and supply sources management.

  • The increase in labor productivity mainly due to the optimization of processes and focus on value-generation activities.

  • The improvement in manufacturing through the elimination of waste and reduction in production processes.

  • Innovation supported by greater collaboration with suppliers and reduction of the time to market of new products.

This disruptive digital ecosystem that is opening up evident opportunities for creating value is the goal of many companies across the world, and in Mexico it is gradually beginning to be adopted, despite the lack of maturity or accessibility of some of these technologies (e.g. 3D print). From our view at Accenture, the supply chain, emerging digital technologies and business goals are intertwined. The three converge symbiotically, creating what is known as the Digital Supply Network (DSN).

As can be seen in the graphic, the DSN is a unique combination of talent, processes and information (not data) that creates a positive financial impact on business through value capture. Taking a consumer products company as an example, the DSN enables functions.

In conclusion, emerging technologies are not only adding “rules to the game” but completely changing it in the supply chain. This new game, or new environment, is causing disruptive changes in the supply chain, redefining its hierarchies, approaches, structures and processes to mainly focus on value capture and addressing the opportunities that will bring closer collaboration with suppliers and customers, faster action, greater manufacturing flexibility and innovation which is better focused on customers’ needs.


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