The pandemic that began in 2020 shed light on the need to increase supply chain agility and resiliency and accelerated the adoption of digital supply chain network technology and solutions. These cloud-based supply chain network platform technologies dramatically improve visibility across the end-to-end supply chain and foster supply chain resiliency through enhanced data sharing and collaboration. The digital supply chain network helps companies develop robust and agile supply chains that are built to withstand disruption—and to anticipate and proactively address changes in demand or supply—encouraging positive patient outcomes and enabling businesses to thrive in times of uncertainty.
The shift from linear supply chain to dynamic supply chain network
Provoked by increased market volatility and greater uncertainty in the environments in which they are operating, more businesses are investing in digital technology to improve the flexibility and resilience of their supply chains. The digital supply chain network is the culmination of this increasing digitalization, which is made possible by advances in IT and communications technology. Driven by innovative technologies like cloud computing, the internet of things (IOT), robotics, and machine learning, there has been a shift from the traditional linear supply chain, characterized by functional and informational silos, to the dynamic and interconnected digital supply chain network.
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Introducing the digital supply chain network
The digital supply chain network is a platform-enabled ecosystem that eliminates silos by connecting people, data, and processes across organizations and nodes in the supply chain. It is a tightly integrated, multienterprise supply chain management system that seamlessly incorporates new ecosystem partners, fosters and enhances collaboration among its members, and provides end-to-end transparency across the supply chain—from raw materials sourcing through production and distribution to delivery of the final product to the end user. The supply chain network can be used to capture and integrate signals and data from the physical world via embedded sensors. This data can then be aggregated and analyzed using advanced analytics applications to surface actionable insights that organizations in the network can use to drive optimization, increase automation and efficiency, and improve coordination across partners in the supply chain.
Benefits of the digital supply chain network
Connecting suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers, and other stakeholders in the supply chain, the digital supply chain network gives its members a significantly improved view of supply chain operations. Real-time information flows enable member organizations to quickly identify and address emerging trends, opportunities, threats, and other issues in the supply chain more easily. The network also enhances collaboration, improves supplier risk management, and promotes agility and resiliency, allowing supply chains to better withstand disruption and pivot fast when necessary. The digital supply chain network opens the door for integrated business planning and enables firms to experiment with new business models. Ambitious companies can translate granular supply chain visibility into new value-added services, driving innovation and boosting revenue.
A digital supply chain network for the healthcare sector
TraceLink's digital supply network is the world's largest fully integrated digital supply chain network. Bringing together over 300,000 pharmaceutical companies, contract manufacturers, wholesale distributors, health systems, and other players in the healthcare value chain, it enables its members to dismantle the barriers to information exchange that have long plagued the sector. TraceLink allows firms to integrate data from across multiple organizations and from different forms of healthcare supply chain technology. Member organizations can track and monitor critical healthcare supply chain metrics and collaborate with trading partners using TraceLink's multienterprise work management software, a new type of network-based application that enables teams to orchestrate shared workflows across different functions both inside and outside of the organization.
TraceLink's technology is helping firms in the pharmaceutical industry:
- Better understand, predict, and prevent potential disruption in global medical supply chains.
- Alleviate pricing pressures by optimizing inventory, minimizing waste, and improving capacity utilization.
- Build highly connected, efficient, and transparent supply chains that can handle the challenges of personalized medicines.
- Ensure that healthcare providers and the patients they serve get the medications they need when they need them.
Find out how pharma and healthcare organizations are building resilience and agility in the aftermath of COVID-19. Download the IDC Whitepaper: Solving the Pharma Supply Chain Struggle.
Supply Chain Network FAQs
What is a digital supply chain network?
A digital supply chain network is a cloud-platform enabled and dynamic ecosystem of supply chain partners. It facilitates the flow of information among nodes in the supply chain, promotes collaboration, and provides its members with greater visibility into products and processes. A digital supply network can help organizations gather actionable insights from distributed data and connected assets to drive continuous improvement in supply chain performance and efficiency.
How can I use analytics to improve the efficiency of my supply chain network?
Companies use supply chain data and analytics tools to manage and mitigate risk, improve operational efficiency, and ensure the stability of the supply chain. Analytics can also help organizations to reduce costs and prevent disruptions in supply.
What is an example of a digital supply chain network?
One example is TraceLink's digital supply network, the world's largest integrated digital supply chain network. TraceLink's network enables seamless information exchange across and collaboration across all partners in the healthcare value chain.