Do you remember playing with LEGO®? Maybe you had it yourself when you were young, or maybe you bought it as a gift for children – but whatever the case, it’s likely you’ve played with it, and that you had fun. Those bricks enabled you to create your own unique constructions, but these days there are also dedicated sets from which to assemble very particular combinations.
What makes LEGO such an enduringly successful toy? There must be plenty of reasons, but here are some that occur to me. First, it’s the freedom: from standard pieces, players can mix and match in whichever way they choose. Next, it’s the repeatability and exchangeability: as I say, those pieces are standard, and a block bought decades ago will still fit one bought yesterday. And next, there’s the process: for those dedicated sets, there are detailed instructions (which is hardly surprising: for example, building the LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon™ involves 7,541 elements).
Building a LEGO®-like model
Why am I talking about LEGO? After all, as the headline says, I’m here to discuss supply chain management, and its digital transformation implications.
This is a prospect that many organizations find daunting. It’s extremely difficult for businesses to make choices that organically integrate and align methodologies, IT, vendors, and operations. In addition, organizations frequently find there is insufficient flexibility to match their exact needs.
OK: now you’ve probably spotted the relevance of my introduction. As with LEGO, supply chain transformation should be easy, and should enable companies to mix and match available options in a way that would just, well, click (sorry).
These options create an integrated platform for all industrialized operations, where businesses can adopt an end-to-end approach and still achieve measurable business outcomes, without the paralysis typical of a distant goal that requires overambitious levels of energy.
The Capgemini Integrated Operations Platform
For supply chain transformation, there are basic building blocks, all of which are built upon our own equivalent to the LEGO base plate. In real life, it means that it’s crucial to provide a base of standards, such as methodology and approach, expertise, process and technology capabilities. This standard environment, this constant, fosters creation of agile and flexible, yet tailor-made solutions. In Capgemini we call it the Capgemini Integrated Operations Platform (CIOP).
CIOP’s building blocks can be used across functions in various configurations, exactly as with LEGO. Using the terminology we’ve adopted here at Capgemini, they are as follows:
- The frictionless supply chain – removing the boundaries between traditional supply chain functions to create seamlessly integrated operations, with reduced touchpoints for improved efficiency and customer satisfaction
- D-GEM-driven digital assets – Capgemini’s own Digital Global Enterprise Model (D-GEM) platform is built on years of experience and sector best practice. It provides standards, blueprints, and trusted methodologies for process reengineering and digitalization that supply chains need – which, when knowledgeably applied, deliver the best possible business outcomes
- Digital twins – virtual business transformation models provide a secure and safe environment to try out operational scenarios, to make supply chains more resilient and flexible, and to mitigate risk
- Co-innovation Lab – Capgemini professionals can be brought to bear wherever their talent, supply chain experience, and knowledge will be of most use to a given process, function, or technology, enabling open discussion and experimentation
- Proprietary assets and partner ecosystem – Capgemini’s strategic partnerships complement our own “small tech” proprietary tooling across all supply chain processes, including customer and employee experience digital accelerators. Our partner ecosystem provides the necessary support from specialist expertise or technology.
These assets together form an integrated, end-to-end process platform, supported through enabling technologies and talent, which help us to create unique, tailor-made solutions. Just as with LEGO models, solutions built by different users with the same set of available blocks will be uniquely different.
Principles of the frictionless model
With these building blocks, organizations can construct a supply chain operation that works seamlessly, intelligently, and flexibly and that can adapt in line with business ambitions and market needs. Rather like one of those dedicated LEGO sets, it can be built following detailed instructions – but it can also be rolled out incrementally, so it starts adding value at an early stage.
We’ve done exactly this for one of our aerospace industry clients – leveraging a CIOP-led approach to transform their customer order fulfilment operations. While for another CPRD client, we reduced friction across their entire data, planning, order management, and order-to-cash functions – taking the plunge on their supply chain transformation!
Looking at CIOP, you can probably see why it occurred to me to open with the LEGO analogy. With the right building blocks in place, fitted together seamlessly, and working in partnership with people who have both experience and a structured approach, organizations can create integrated supply chain operations that are smart and frictionless – and that deliver the goods.
Figuratively, and literally.
Jörg Junghanns leverages innovation and a strategic and service mindset to help clients transform their supply chain operations into a growth enabler.