Did your family wash hands today with that liquid soap to keep themselves safe from the COVID-19 outbreak? Look at that soap dispenser for a second, it has liquid soap, which was created by multiple other ingredients, being shipped to the manufacturer from 5 different countries. All these small blocks combined with an intelligent network of wholesalers and logistics services brought you a simple handwash bottle.
There are a lot of investments that went in, to bring that one product in your house. Think about everything that you consume on a daily basis. We are looking at an extremely complex supply chain. Regardless of its complexity, we thought we had it all figured out. However, the pandemic took each one of us by surprise: transportation was restricted, manufacturing plants were closed and a lot more. This new normal started a chain reaction which brought an unforeseen but mega tsunami. A wave that we were not trained for.
We humans are by default wired to solve the problems. This instinct sometimes makes us fall in the trap of taking action to control a situation, which usually results in poor decision making. But that doesn’t apply in all cases. This action-taking brain programming is the reason that many of our customers have not only survived but enabled business transformation in this pandemic situation. Our AI solutions and a customer-centric team of data experts helped our customer drive business transformation during these disruptive times. In this article we will walk you through the journey of our customers so you can win over the tsunami and grow stronger.
By now it is clear to us that the supply chain is going through a tectonic shift, where technology seems to lead to the shift to a positive and progressive conclusion. In these field of supply chain technologies there are few key champions that are making the transformation possible:
Cloud computing, including hybrid platforms, provides the ability to capture, process and disseminate information at scale regardless of whether it is small or big data. What cloud computing does is eradicate your handcuffs due infrastructure limitations. Cloud computing allows you to easily scale up or down.
Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning:
AI and ML are becoming integral parts of businesses at a steady peace. Eradicating human errors to bring efficiency and accuracy in the process is the main agenda for this trend. AI and ML combined with robotics is witnessing an increased adoption in manufacturing, while some businesses are leveraging this technology to manage their entire value chain from marketing to production to supply and demand planning.
Internet of things (IoT):
IoT devices that capture and transmit data over the internet are slowly becoming prevalent in the industry either in the form of being installed on products as part of standard equipment (example refrigerators and similar appliances used in households) or used in the manufacturing process. These devices along with capabilities such as IoT on-the-edge help capture data which can then be collected using the cloud computing capabilities.
Cyber physical systems:
A cyber physical system is a marriage between everything that is defined above and a physical system. Industry 4.0 , a concept of complete autonomous manufacturing is not science fiction anymore, but is slowly becoming a reality. This particular technology trend will be adopted at scale considering only a limited number of human resources can be deployed on a given floor to ensure their safety in the pandemic situation.
All this sounds logical and tempting from a business standpoint, but you are correct at your place if you say “ It is easier said than done”. Just like you there are many others who have challenges in implementing these transformations to their existing infrastructure. Here are top four challenges that you might face while implementing supply chain transformation at your organization:
Lot of new technology choices and lack of familiarity with the same:
As a result, many manufacturing leaders feel that launching a Supply Chain Transformation strategy is a complicated process as it requires an extra investment in resources, especially time.
Unable to determine ROI:
Without having too many reference points to align themselves to, many executives and leaders in the industry feel like they are unable to achieve a positive ROI from Supply Chain Transformation related initiatives. As a consequence, it might be challenging to get the support needed while ensuring funding.
Worried about change management:
Any technology change requires proper change management for desired adoption within the organization. With so many emerging and disruptive concepts and technologies, most executives and leaders feel that they are not well prepared to deal with this challenge.
Cultural, ethical and related concerns:
Concerns related to cultural aspects are on the minds of many executives and leaders as technologies stretch perceptions arising from cultural norms. Concerns range from unemployment, human and artificial intelligence interactions, avoiding/controlling mistakes made by AI-ML to security (example how to prevent malicious use of AI-ML).
You might be out of your comfort zone, and it calls for you to adapt and improvise your strategy to keep moving forward. Change is always uncomfortable but we all have experienced that the survivors of the Change process emerge as leaders. Behind every successful technology transition there is always a well-managed change management plan. Here are a few things that you can prepare for transforming the supply chain:
With the COVID-19 scenario being so unique, the cultures of various enterprises are being put to test in many ways. Culture is what people do when no one is watching them and we have a scenario when the majority of the workforce is now working remote for these few weeks.
Collaboration among functions:
This is correlated to the cultural aspect. Different departments and functions need to come together and work as one unit to stay afloat. Prioritizing initiatives that are seen as corporate over a department initiative usually becomes a sensitive issue. Preparing for breaking down these barriers by ensuring that incentives are aligned across organizations is important.
Security of information being stored on the cloud is still a concern among some leaders in the industry. Taking steps to keep reinforcing the compliance of the public cloud providers.(example GCP or Google Cloud Platform). Related security and other standards are important and should not be underestimated.
Supply chain management is a very action-packed function which might have wired you for taking action immediately after reading this article till this point. It is suggested that you take a deeper look at the discussion by reading this free whitepaper drafted by our supply chain and AI experts: Read Supply Chain Transformation whitepaper
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The COVID-19 crisis took countries, governments, companies, business and IT leaders by surprise. Few countries let alone businesses or companies were prepared for this unprecedented crisis and the ripple effects it would bring related to travel restrictions and mandates to have employees work from home. While remote access has been available for decades now, the concept of a company’s entire workforce working remotely has forced organizations to rethink the meaning of remote access, collaboration, security and most importantly serving the customers.
Pluto7 took swift action and is among the very few companies that immediately cancelled all onsite or any business travel by its employees since the end of February 2020 and deployed a virtual workforce program that enabled every one of our global employees to work from home, with little to no disruption to our business operations and that too well before the government mandate. Pluto7 anticipated the possibility of the Shelter-in-protection regulations in the US and the country-wide lockdown announced by the Government of India and enabled its workforce to Work from Home (“WFH”), beginning March 2nd onwards in the US and March 13th onwards in India. As a result 100% of Pluto7’s employees have already been working remotely since the beginning of March.
Using existing infrastructure, technology platforms and operational policies, we reconfigured our capabilities to address the near-term challenge in a manner that is scalable for the long-term. By leveraging our existing capabilities, applied through a new crisis management framework, we were able to rapidly adapt to the new reality.
Key highlights of Pluto7’s actions during this crisis include:
COVID-19 may fundamentally challenge our current notions of the global economy, organizational culture, employee experience, HR & IT policies and how employers engage with their workforce and Pluto7 is ready for it. While in the short-term, remaining focused, calm and human centric should guide most organizations through the new normal, in the long-term, the lessons learned from this temporary crisis may present an opportunity for organizations to create a more resilient workforce, and emerge as stronger organizations.
As a quote attributed to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius puts it, “The impediment to action, advances the action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Standing at a wall of opposition is intimidating, but it also creates innovation and motivation.
Pluto7 is here to help. Please contact our teams at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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