The great supply chain digitalization continues as more companies move toward advanced technologies for managing their supply chains. At its core, this digitalization is about transforming manual processes into automated, efficient, and interconnected ones with greater access to data and insight. This drives visibility, more predictive capabilities, and informed decision-making.
However, between where many companies are currently and a fully digital supply chain, some obstacles get in the way of the goal. Companies should be aware of obstacles like legacy systems and integrations, data quality and standardization, and change management to meet them head-on and be better informed.
Challenge 1: Legacy Systems and Integration Complexity
While certain systems may have been the best fit for the company at the time it was first implemented, as fast as the surrounding industry changes, companies must be ready to reevaluate whether the systems they use still serve their needs.
Legacy systems are often deeply ingrained in supply chain operations, and there is a tendency, known as the sunk-cost fallacy, to continue using these systems because of the time or money invested in them. However, companies may find their legacy systems incompatible with new technologies. The mix of old and new creates not only complexity but also demands further investment when trying to integrate them.
It might be tempting to tweak old systems to work with new solutions, but this short-term fix creates a patchwork infrastructure. Over time, these ad-hoc solutions compound complexities, leading to a fragile and inefficient system. Investing in a new infrastructure designed to work holistically is more beneficial in the long run rather than trying to force integration between the old and the new.
Challenge 2: Data Quality and Standardization
With data serving as the building blocks of digitalization, data quality, and standardization will impact everything a company does with any newly implemented solution. There must be quality and standardization for true value.
Data-driven decisions are only as good as the data they are based on. Poor data quality can lead to misguided insights, whether due to inaccuracies, incompleteness, or outdatedness. Where there is data sharing, each organization must be on the same page or aware of how to accommodate any differences. Otherwise, inconsistent data can lead to inaccurate conclusions.
As companies implement new technologies, they must thoroughly understand the data entering their systems. If there is data from different sources, there should be a process for integrating and analyzing to reduce errors and inefficiencies and enhance the reliability of insights derived from the data.
Challenge 3: Change Management and Workforce Adoption
Any significant change in processes or technology must have a careful change management strategy, as the users of a new solution are bound to experience bumps in the road. How well a company walks through this process with them can impact the adoption success.
People naturally gravitate toward the familiar, but on top of this, it’s expected that there may be issues to iron out in the beginning. Strategic change management ensures that the transition is smooth and the company can realize the full potential of the new system.
Training, communication, and employee involvement have essential roles in this process, but even before this, companies can set themselves up for success by choosing streamlined, user-friendly systems. Tools like a single portal can combine multiple workflows and make it easier for users to appreciate the new system's value, leading to faster adoption.
To Overcome Supply Chain Digitalization Challenges, Shippers Turn to Experts like VIZION
There are challenges to supply chain digitalization, but there are also technology providers working to clear the path and make it easier for companies to reach their goals.
VIZION provides container tracking data and port performance monitoring for shippers and freight forwarders. But more than just technology, we offer it in a way that is most beneficial to our customers:
- VIZION makes integration easy with a plug-and-play solution, pushing container tracking events via API directly to spreadsheets, ERP, TMS, or other software systems.
- VIZION collects data from multiple sources, such as EDI, AIS, and port/terminal connections, to provide the most detailed and reliable real-time container tracking information.
- VIZION simplifies tracking for users, covering both ocean and rail containers with a single request and providing insights into opportunities for increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
By offering seamless integration, high-quality data, and a user-friendly experience, VIZION serves shippers as a strategic partner in their digital transformation journey. Together, we can ensure supply chains are better equipped to remain resilient in a digital-first world.
To learn more about VIZION, contact us today to schedule a demo.