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Driving customer experience through implementing a touchless supply chain

July 22, 2020

Recent Capgemini Research Institute research on implementing a contactless customer experience says that the customer of the future is more likely to use “touchless” solutions such as cashier-free checkouts, voice recognition, and drone delivery.

What does this mean for the supply chain, and how could these kinds of solutions be used to create touchless supply chain operations? In this article, I highlight how the combination of digital supply chain expertise, accurate supply chain data, intelligent automation, and smart analytics can help organizations make the move towards implementing touchless business operations.

The good news is – the more we use touchless applications as consumers in our daily lives, the more we will be inclined to implement touchless B2B solutions into corporate supply chain operations. Imagining the new and the willingness to change starts at the individual level.

Machine learning-powered order entry

Many businesses still input data from orders sent by PDF and email manually into their ERP system – despite wide adoption of a standardization and platformization approach to improve the process.

Organizations can leverage machine learning to automatically enter the order into a “learned” template, with the data being directly entered into the ERP system. This supports the supply chain reaction time to the new demand, doesn’t require each and every template to be mapped manually, and impacts the system data accuracy. Compared to simple robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning-powered order entry doesn’t need the input to be standardized and is able to perform format standardization independently

Analytics-driven demand sensing

There is a misconception that increased interaction between planning functions drives accuracy in forecasting. However, organizations often lack the right talent or tools, and forecasts prepared manually by supply chain planners are not as accurate as those created by a touchless forecasting approach.

For example, demand sensing driven by predictive analytics and machine learning provides autonomous decision-making – with limited human intervention – where data sources such as shipment data, current orders, promotions, historical demand, and weather, etc., are often volatile factors impacting forecast creation. This impacts upstream and downstream operations – minimizing friction, while returning more accurate data to the system that drives supply and production planning.

Building trust through blockchain

As connecting and building trust between businesses continues to grow in importance, the relationship between vendors and customers needs to be driven by transparency and quick access to data. Despite attempts to create direct connections, organizations still fail to link their suppliers on one platform.

Know Your Supplier (KYS) solutions leverage blockchain to support B2B relationships by enabling verification of fair-trade vendors and high-quality supplier data, and reducing the need for vendor screening within seconds. KYS solutions can onboard an organization’s entire supplier ecosystem onto a single, common platform, which streamlines and encrypts supply chain vendor information and provides multitier access to the data.

Take organic certification as an example. If a shampoo manufacturer wants its product to be certified as organic, a minimum of 95% of the ingredients must be certified as organic. The manufacturer must gather the information from its suppliers and its suppliers’ suppliers to confirm that the shampoo meets the requirements for organic certification. This can be a challenging and time-consuming task, especially if certification needs renewal on a regular basis. KYS provides immediate access to this data, saving time and supporting the traceability of expiry dates.

Build intelligence with BI tools

No operation can be “touchless” unless supply chain information can be accessed in real-time. Unreliable or incorrect data provides an inaccurate view that can lead to organizations making costly decisions.

Business intelligence (BI) tools captures data at various processing stages and from various sources, and then transfers it to different ERP modules. Regardless of the data entry point, BI tools can be leveraged in upstream and downstream supply chain operations, carrying strategic consequences for decision-making processes.

What’s next?

Innovation in technology continues to drive digital transformation. Simply speaking, organizations need to keep up to gain competitive advantage.

State-of-the-art technology to make this happen is no longer a novelty. It is now a part of everyday life, enabling companies become more productive and efficient. More than this, the right combination of state-of-the-art technology and expertise can help organizations implement touchless supply chain operations, where data flows seamlessly to deliver autonomous decision-making and enhanced customer experience.

To learn more about how Capgemini’s Digital Supply Chain Practice  can help your organization implement smart and flexible supply chain processes in anticipation of the new normal, contact: 

Read a report by the Capgemini Research Institute entitled “COVID-19 and the age of the contactless customer experience” to learn more about how to win consumer trust in a no-touch world.

Jörg Junghanns  leverages innovation and a strategic and service mindset to help clients transform their supply chain operations into a growth enabler.