The digital supply chain at work: High tech edition

The ever-evolving high-tech supply chain necessitates effective, efficient solutions that can derive key insights from different data points throughout a company's operations. Efficiency and visibility are especially important in the high-tech supply chain, which has to maintain constant adaptability if it's going to accommodate the continual changes that are inherent in the technology industry.

The constant adoption of new high-tech devices is driving supply chain executives to search for better ways to create efficiencies and reinvent the wheel when it comes to their operations. With the growth of the Internet of Things and tech lifecycles becoming ever shorter, the pressure is on for manufacturers within this vertical to get products to market as fast as possible. But what happens if some part of the supply chain doesn't work properly?

Flying too close to the sun

In response to those supply chain pressures, Samsung attempted to re-assess its supply chain for its recent release of its Galaxy Note 7 phone. Reuters cited unprecedented pre-order numbers for the device, but in order to deliver those pre-orders, the company had to boost production at its facilities. Despite the pressure the company was under to make its customers happy, there was hope that the phones could drive good numbers for the manufacturer in the third quarter of 2016.

However, something went wrong. The now-infamous, prolonged recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 serves as a testament to what could happen if people, processes and technology aren't in sync. According to experts cited by The Wall Street Journal, something within the company's vast supply chain broke down. Failure to communicate effectively between different departments and disorganization within the company's operations could have contributed to the fiasco. No matter how it's spun, the facts are the facts: Samsung's supply chain folded under the pressure first from the massive amount of pre-orders and then because of the harried rush to replace the first wave of devices.

Enterprise data management tools can help mitigate supply chain disasters.Enterprise data management tools can help mitigate supply chain disasters.


The need for better data and data scientists

Could more oversight and better analytics have saved the Samsung supply chain? Enterprise data management tools can make a difference no matter what vertical a company operates within. In addition, solutions like the Sales & Operations Planning module offered by Inspirage can give companies key insight into their production lines in order to determine how to meet demand in a timely manner.

"The ability to collect and make effective use of big data is essential to the success of our business and its supply chain," said Keith Miears, the vice president of global supply chain at tech giant Dell. Miears' company recently pulled off the biggest merger in tech history and thus faces a pressing need for a more efficient, data-driven supply chain.

However, it's not enough to simply invest in the tools and hope that everything falls into place. High-tech companies like Dell need to pivot to an innovative supply chain model that takes the skill sets of its people into account, as well.

"One of the key challenges today is finding the right people and skills to realize this potential," Miears said of the erstwhile success of high-tech supply chains. "We need different skill sets – more data scientists and IT professionals conversant with big data, analytics, and tools to interface with data available from the web."

Digital transformation within the supply chain is just getting started, and the high-tech industry is only one of the verticals where being on the forefront of new operational technologies is critical. Get in touch with the experts at Inspirage today for more information about how you can use our EDM and S&OP solutions to improve your supply chain's responsiveness and flexibility.

Mukul Goyal

Mukul Goyal | Key Contributor

Mukul is a Senior Manager – Solution Architecture for Value Chain Planning at Inspirage. He has more than 12 years of domain, product development and consulting experience. He has successfully implemented S&OP/IBP process and applications across various industries including High-Tech, retail, Oil & Gas, Aviation and Manufacturing.