Many supply chain experts wonder what digital enablement will look like. It involves being digitally savvy and tuned in to any and every business variable that influences the customer experience. Supply chain experts who continue to adhere to the status quo are facing a new digitally-driven, tech-disrupted reality.

Supply chain operations can be complex. Especially where multi-modal transport is necessary, and where dynamic decision making is required for the routing of goods-in-transit. These supply chain operations are pursued in an environment that can be characterized as a self-organizing ecosystem. Connections between various (local) data sharing environments in networks of networks enable stakeholders in the supply chain to enhance their information base.

The digitally enabled supply chain maturity attributes model:

An enterprise is successful in becoming a digital business when it achieves a combination of digitalizing its current business models and pursuing new ones. The model below will help you assess where the opportunities are in your business and ascertain where you would like to be.

Information and data are the foundation of insight. Substantial investments today are being made in digital technologies allowing for more digital data streams in supply chains. Logistic Service Providers (LSP), carriers, intermodal operators (air, sea, ground etc.), port authorities and terminal operators, regulatory bodies, and Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCO) are all working on this topic.

Efficient routing and high utilization of logistics assets and infrastructure lead to cost efficiency benefits. This includes the efficient use of vessels, planes, trucks, barges and trains, as well as loading/unloading equipment. Episodically visiting actors are being served just-in-time with short turn-around times at transhipment hubs, reducing waiting times to a minimum. All of these require the sharing of information about goods and transport as the basis for visibility and transparency.

Visibility and transparency are critical for condition and time sensitive goods, like vaccines and flowers, and for bringing agility, resilience, and predictability into the supply chain. Such visibility and transparency require data; about the location of shipments, about the temperature and shock conditions goods are exposed to, also the situation merchandise faces along the supply chain, like transit delays or bad weather.

As a result of increasing digital data sharing activity, the maritime sector is now establishing a new discipline of maritime informatics that unites practitioners and academics to jointly contribute to making shipping more efficient, sustainable and resilient, empowered by digital data sharing.