Digital Supply Chain Strategy Development

Developing individual relationships with senior functional executives is a crucial action. Bringing functional leaders together to align on enterprise digital supply chain strategy is another way to build consensus, support, and jumpstart the broader transformation process. A focused workshop, bringing together key top decision makers from a cross-section of organizational functions, is necessary to understand and identify digital opportunities and to decide on broader digital supply chain actions that may impact business models. Strategic transformation in organizations cannot be accomplished in one swift stroke. The cross-functional interdependences, the shift in mindsets, and decisions about processes and investments require a thoughtful selection of principals starting with a senior-level executive sponsor and cascading to senior functional leaders and their delegates. The executive sponsor of the transformation should, at the very least, be the senior leader of the organization. This sponsor may then delegate a digital supply chain transformation leader to manage the process and be accountable for strategy implementation. For the proposed transformation workshop to be effective, the organization should recruit a transformation steering team that includes senior- level representation from firm-level functions, such as finance, sales, marketing, product development, IT, HR, and supply chain. The members of this steering team, led by the executive sponsor, are the best participants in a transformation workshop. Having key cross-functional leaders present in the workshop allows for the creation of consensus- built actionable strategies.

The workshop team will facilitate an introductory dialog utilizing data about the firm’s current level of transformation maturity. Once a baseline understanding of the current performance levels of your firm has been established, each key digital supply chain segment is explored for strategies and actions that can be pressure-tested and deployed in the near term. The workshop outcome will be a deployable digital supply chain action plan tailored to your firm with alignment and support from your key organizational stakeholders. The workshop objectives should be to:

  • • Understand your firm’s current-state digital supply chain maturity
  • • Develop a process of evaluating performance gaps and improvement opportunities in digital supply chain
  • • Understand and develop cross-functional actions to overcome the issues, challenges, and potential barriers inherent in digital supply chain transformation
  • • Improve your firm’s speed in implementing critical digital supply chain strategies and actions that will provide immediate performance returns
  • • Appoint a project leader reporting to the executive sponsor (DSCI, 2017)

Convening a senior executive working group to review supply chain strategies will not be easy and will take a convincing business case for changes to be made as they are linked to the firm’s strategy. Planning digital transformation as a campaign focused on targeted segments and developmental horizons is the right leadership approach.

Case Example

Case: Multinational Manufacturer, Brand Marketer, and Director Retailor of Computer Hardware

Industry and Competitive Landscape

The computer hardware market is segmented into several major categories, such as large-scale servers, intended for high volume and highspeed business processing, as well as a wide range of consumer devices. Channels are high end business consulting type contract sales, direct to consumer, as well as big box retail customers like BestBuy. Many consumer-oriented computer technology producers have been increasingly moving to diversify into software and entertainment categories, as well as direct-to-consumer custom configured made-to -order products. The industry is fast moving, and as it has roots in the digital revolution in Silicon Valley, has a digital native culture in many of its well-known firms. While some of the younger technology firms have the advantage of being able to build business models from the ground up with digital, data-driven processes, there are some, more venerable firms that grew to maturity in an earlier era, just before many of the hyper-connected aspects of the integrated digital marketplace were more firmly established. Our case firm is of this latter category, a computing industry veteran, a brand who has been instrumental in shaping technology product supply chain strategies for decades, but now finds itself being challenged by technology start-ups without the weight of legacy processes, systems, and data.

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