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How CIO’s can make their supply chains more intelligent

As enterprises worldwide continue to recover from the impact of Covid-19, business leaders are faced with the ongoing challenge of bringing operations back to pre-pandemic levels and it starts with technology, writes George Senzere, solution architect for Secure Power at Schneider Electric.

George Senzere, solution architect for Secure Power at Schneider Electric. Image supplied by Schneider Electric
George Senzere, solution architect for Secure Power at Schneider Electric. Image supplied by Schneider Electric

Chief information officers (CIOs) have become integral leaders in businesses’ recuperation efforts – implementing and utilising technology in both company strategy and daily operations, such as supply chains.

The time is now: technology has the potential to build a smarter and better operational backbone and the supply chain in particular has a lot to gain. Today, CIOs must strike a balance between managing IT systems and services across enterprises, while simultaneously shaping and driving a company’s approach to digital transformation. To meet these demands CIOs, in their efforts to modernise supply chains, must focus on three actions:

Ensure your company’s supply chain is being managed smarter and better

To build and implement an intelligent supply chain, it’s crucial to leverage the newest technology to optimise its parts and the sum thereof. An intelligent, technology-driven supply chain will provide companies with the ability to: collect data and develop insights to save on costs, increase profitability, accelerate speed to customers and get ahead of the competition.

Here, the industrial edge can provide CIOs with the tools to develop a supply chain based on ready-to-use edge connectivity, devices, apps and device management infrastructure.

The reality is, as supply chains continue to evolve, becoming more connected, dynamic and expanded, it requires the solutions to automate certain processes by adding intelligence, guidance and sensory awareness – allowing it to operate independently from humans.

In fact, analyst firm Gartner predicts 75% of enterprise data will be created and processed at the edge by 2025.  It’s a tremendous number and makes a solid case for the industrial edge and its ability to become a vital cog in the supply chain machine.

Focus on data crunching at the edge 

Applications such as asset management need to (in real-time) monitor processes and data performance. Additionally, richer insights are needed from business systems data combined with operating data from staff working on the plant floor.

Edge ecosystems can transform operations by allowing decision making close to the source of information. In turn, it provides organisations with almost immediate insights into data analysis, communications and storage which allow for improved workflow, data capacity distribution and streamlined responses.

Strike a balance – smarter solutions go with training 

As powerful as technology is, company-wide buy-in is the only way to achieve optimal efficiency and successful adoption. To ensure a seamless transition to the newest technology, companies must start from the top and work all the way down to the goals of key individuals.

Make sure to showcase the capabilities and benefits of the technology you’re introducing. For example, if a company is demonstrating the industrial edge, it should highlight the acceleration of high-quality edge computing and the ability to modernise responses to stakeholders in real-time.

CIOs need to lead the charge, ensuring that organisations have the newest tools that maximise supply chain efficiency. The industrial edge is one of these tools and can transform the supply chain infrastructure, helping organisations to not only recover what they’ve lost during the pandemic, but establish an important competitive advantage.