Digital supply chains: is it all about data?

Francesco Grillo's picture
Francesco Grillo, CEO & Founder, Steel Available
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Innovation is key to maintain leadership, and this is the basic principle for every industry. For the gas sector, advancement in drilling, maintenance processes, monitoring system and many others increases the productive efficiency and lowers cost of operation and explorations. But technological advancement doesn’t stop here; with the right application we can reduce structural inefficiencies in the supply chain.

Digitalization in the supply chain can improve asset integrity and availability with predictive maintenance; speeding up manage processes through automated planning and manufacturing; increasing visibility of demand-driven supply chain; increasing personnel safety; reducing downtime with real-time analytics; monitoring and optimizing energy consumption.

To gain an edge in this competitive field as such, investing in business-to-business electronic integration (B2Bi) to cut costs and increase business flow efficiency has become a norm within larger firms, according to a new study done by the University of Tennessee (200 companies across various industries).

Applying readily available technologies can help in the areas of sourcing, logistics, international money transfer, and last but not least people management. Through implementing data analytics it is possible to integrate suppliers’ scorecards and add transparency. Moreover, on a daily basis, the focus would be to achieve end-to-end integration and optimization, speeding up the flow of information among companies.

Replacing paper documents with electronic transactions increased ability to track job status and measure performance, effective data governance can be performed in order to exercise control over processes and methods used by data stewards and data custodians in order to improve data quality. As every time data is transferred, the margin for error increases, but with B2B integration, we can ensure that vital business data would be free from human error.

Through the implementation of data analytics, it makes all standardized information available to both parties on the platform. This speeds up the flow of information among companies, and allows selective data to only reach specified firms. This minimizes unnecessary data outflow in emails, information transfer, quotations, etc that could be intercept by third parties thus decreases risk of data loss through transmission as deals could be completed in a much smaller timeframe within a narrower channel.

The Internet of Things (IoT) technology can improve supply chain visibility as well. Whether clients are buying expensive equipment or raw material, they prefer to know the location and status of their assets from manufacturing process to shipping and examine the conditions of their cargo along (tracking high-value cargoes to protect expensive goods in transit) with the quality of the supply chain in order to make better decisions and ultimately reducing costs like insurance.

Data only needs to be internally translated into readable formats required by the receiver’s application software, ensuring that each link of the supply chain, from raw materials suppliers, to equipment manufacturers and end-users, can respond quickly to the needs of a project in a common language, boosting productivity and decreasing the risk of products losing quality as data flow is much smoother.

No one has the ability to alter previously entered data along the passage of information through different firms, thus the original copy can be shown anytime when disputes or disagreement occurs. With electronic documents there would be no fear of faulty data transmission or losing bits of data through copying and faxing. This consistency and reliability can boost efficiency, maintain quality and safety, while decreasing risks along the value chain.

Share your insights & join the conversation: What would you say is a stand-out strength of applying these technologies to the supply chain? Leave your comment below.

The Gastech technical conference delivers numerous presentations across the entire energy value chain. Gastech 2018 in Barcelona will have an expanded conference showcasing in-depth insights from leading experts in the field. Find out more about this exclusive event and the technical governing body.

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