Digital Marketing

Supply Chain Digital Transformation – Challenges in Execution

In this customer centric world, as every organization – big or small; B2B or B2C – is trying hard
to remain responsive and agile to meet their customer needs while maintaining their competitive
differentiation, Digital Supply Chain transformation has been at the top of agenda for the
industry captains. In fact, digital supply chain has been the key buzz word in the industry for the
last few years. But surprisingly the adoption of the digital supply chain concepts let alone
complete digital transformation of supply chain is not in line with rhetoric. Why?Certainly, lack of
adoption and implementation is neither because of the enthusiasm gap nor the lack of the


Here are few possible reasons why actual digitalization of the supply chain doesn’t necessarily
match the rhetoric in conferences, board room etc.

Where to begin?

  • Every function (plan, source, make and deliver) seems to be a good choice. Is
    there a right supply chain function to start the digital transformation?
  • If yes, what is that?
  • How will we decide? Will the loudest voice win the day?

What is the business case?

  • Business case seems too fuzzy…. I can’t directly attribute the potential benefits
    to the digitalization?
  • What’s the ROI? Most importantly, the time to achieve the ROI seems not fixed
    because supply chain transformation depends on so many other factors.
  • Do I need to buy new set of tools / technologies or should we retrofit what we

Who will drive this?

  • Should this be process driven or technology / tool driven?
  • Should IT organization drive this or business departments?
  • Should we create a completely new group to drive the supply chain digitization?

Should this be incremental?

  • Incremental steps make this less risky but it doesn’t give enough ROI to make
    this program gets executive attention

Can I run my operations while going through this digital transformation?

  • Team who knows the current processes and tools are busy with the day-to-day
    operations…and hence can’t be committed to this
  • But without their commitment, we will end up creating a parallel track which will
    only create more confusion

What about my partner ecosystem – suppliers, 3PLs and other trading partners?

  • Need supplier and partner collaboration for digitization but they need more time
    and support to go through digitization
  • Suppliers are asking for some commercial support to undertake investment in
    digital transformation

So many external experts…. too much of confusing advise

  • We know enough but getting a known external consulting advice helps in
    drumming up the required “traction” …but they are going to cost a lot and,
    moreover they don’t understand our business
  • Technology tool vendor’s suggestions are not exactly same as management
    consultants…. who’s right?


  • Fear of missing out (can’t wait due to peer pressure) Vs Fear of Decision Regret
    (how would we know the decision is correct, as new digital disruptions are
    happening every day)

OK…now that you have some idea on what could be holding back your organization’s journey
on digital supply chain transformation, come back here for our next edition where I will give you
a possible play book to address these hindrances and move forward.

Abhijith Mavatoor


Abhijith Mavatoor

Digital Transformation Specialist.

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