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  • Writer's pictureMicha Veen

Confusing Supply Chain Innovation with Supply Chain Digitisation

Supply Chain Executives still confuse supply chain digitisation, meaning automating, stream-lining and optimising existing supply chain processes, ways-of-working and behaviours, with supply chain innovation, which is focussed on bringing new concepts, new (validated) ideas to overhaul existing supply chain processes, ways-of-working and behaviours.

Supply Chain Innovation and Supply Chain digitisation are two distinct concepts, but they are often interrelated.

Supply Chain Innovation refers to the process of introducing new ideas, methods, products, or services that offer better solutions to existing problems or meet new needs. It involves creating something new, unique, and valuable, and it can occur in any industry or sector.

Supply Chain Digitisation, on the other hand, refers to the process of converting analog information into digital format. It involves using technology to digitise data, processes, or services, making them more efficient, accessible, and convenient.

While supply chain digitisation is a type of supply chain innovation, it is important to note that most supply chain innovations don't involve supply chain digitisations, we would even argue that more than 75% of supply chain innovations have no supply chain digitisation. For example, developing a new medical supply chain, designing a more efficient agricultural process, or creating a new traceable food supply chain model are all forms of supply chain innovation that do not necessarily involve any supply chain digitisation.

Furthermore, while supply chain digitisation can lead to supply chain innovation by creating new possibilities for end-to-end supply chains, it does not guarantee innovation. Simply digitising existing supply chain processes without introducing any significant changes, improvements or new ideas may not be considered innovative.

In conclusion, while supply chain innovation and supply chain digitisation are loosely related, they are distinct separate concepts, and although we hear how supply chain executives are "boosting" about how innovative they are in introducing something new and valuable, they often only digitise their supply chain using the "latest" technology to make their supply chain processes more efficient and accessible.

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