Bain & Co: Five actions to achieve digital traceability

Procurement Magazine looks at Joshua Hinkel Bain & Co. Partner's five actions to achieve digital traceability, ensuring resilience and sustainability

“Effective supply chains over the past century have been marked by their reliability and efficiency. But in the new business climate, companies must also ensure their entire value chains are resilient and sustainable” - Bain & Company.

Boosting supply chain performance and staying competitive

For supply chains over the last century, reliability and efficiency have been the two primary business objectives, but “that is no longer sufficient,” stated Joshua Hinkel, Partner, Performance Improvement Practice, Bain & Company. “To compete effectively supply chains must now also be resilient and sustainable, and traceability is the great enabler to do so.”

Being able to trace a product throughout the entire value change will transform operations and create new business models. Leading companies in this area understand that “it is also an offensive and a defensive weapon,” explained Hinkel. “For these leaders, their value chain is their new competitive base.”

‘Traceability starts with five actions’

  • Leaders must set the traceability strategy, linking the application areas to the specific opportunities for value creation, higher performance and sustainability; overall ambitions of the company; and strategic priorities. 
  • When it comes to strategic priorities, focus on immediate value, not necessarily the highest value. It is most important at this stage to energise internal and external stakeholders to convince them of the value collaborating across the end-to-end ecosystem can provide. 
  • These application areas help develop the right environment to implement and scale. “Traceability is a journey that will benefit from cross-organisational learning to build the company’s capability over time,” said Hinkel.
  • Expanding beyond the initial application areas, leaders select the next use cases that build on the same enablers to accelerate scaling, amplify results, and build a repeatable ‘flywheel’.
  • Leaders also priorities areas where they can influence how other members of the ecosystem behave and build the required trust across their partners.

“In the comping decade, we expect to see two very different performance curves across each industry sector. A higher performance curve for those companies that can digitally see and trace across their value chain and a lower performance curve for those that cannot. For leadership teams evaluating their options, it is time to act. For those that are piloting and experimenting, it is time to scale. And for those running full-scale digital solutions, it is time to amplify the benefits,” concluded Hinkel.

To watch Hinkel’s insights, click here.


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