Written by BSM Global

The Power of Integration

By prioritising digital transformation efforts across operations, business leaders have the opportunity to transform their supply chains into the epicentre of business innovation.

Traditionally, the goal of a functional supply chain was simply to get goods to consumers on schedule and on budget. Managing this process today is not nearly as straightforward. In the past year alone, Supply and Demand Chain Executive found that nearly 94% of Fortune 1000 companies have experienced supply chain disruptions, with 75% having experienced a negative impact on business overall. 

Facing globalisation, increased product complexity and heightened consumer demands, companies need to transform operations to achieve agility and resilience. By investing in data integration and leveraging digital twins, supply chain leaders can create a new competitive advantage through modernised IT processes. 

Understanding data integration

Amid global business interruptions and dramatic fluctuations in demand, data integration allows organisations to adapt processes and constantly innovate to meet a changing environment.

Achieving continuous improvement requires accurate and reliable data for decision-making, making integration especially valuable, explains a study from the Journal of Industrial Information Integration. However, enterprise systems generate a massive amount of information on a daily basis — as the International Journal of Computer Science and Technology found; almost 80% this organisational data is siloed across departments. These fragmented IT environments can result in barriers across operations, reducing efficiency, undermining data quality and wasting resources. 

Data integration works to correct these challenges by combining information that is generated by different business activities and departments using a holistic system. This process provides users with a singular, unified view of business activities that can be leveraged to optimise decision-making and enhance visibility and transparency across operations. 

Integrating both internal and external sources can help businesses gather, visualise and contextualise data more efficiently. By applying these insights, leaders can more confidently act on data by understanding and planning for “what-if” scenarios more quickly and more accurately than by using traditional, fragmented environments.

While the benefits of data integration are clear, many organisations struggle to bridge the growing gap between the cloud and their on-premises IT infrastructure. Data management poses several challenges, including volume, variety and the velocity at which new information is produced. However, by leveraging cloud computing to improve IT systems, businesses can more quickly achieve the integration needed to capture new advantages. 

The benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing and advanced analytics help drive automation and deliver insights that promote efficiencies — making data more valuable to you and your business.

Powered by this technology, a digital twin serves as a virtual replica of a real-life supply chain, drawing insights from assets and data across warehouses, logistics and inventory. By using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins can be used to identify where volatility and uncertainty exists, as well as where optimisation is possible.

As MIT Sloan Management Review explains, the technology enables leaders to make “on-the-fly route changes” to accelerate product delivery, such as switching materials to take advantage of better pricing or availability. From the status of raw materials to the condition and location of finished goods, digal twins give leaders more control over every stage of the supply chain.

Digital twins leverage data from multiple sources, including manufacturing execution systems (MES), enterprise planning systems (EPR) and real-time locating systems (RTLS), meaning that data integration will be critical to capturing all of the potential benefits the technology has to offer.

By harnessing a combination of technologies like AI, machine learning and digital twins, companies can automate warehouse operations, improve delivery times, proactively manage inventory, optimise strategic sourcing and create enhanced customer experiences to boost sales.

Deploying a cloud-based solution

Integration improves visibility and decision-making, empowering staff to work better with each other and benefiting both clients and your bottom line. 

For many organisations, achieving data integration is increasingly complex as a result of their growing networks and existing systems. There is no universal approach to data integration, and each business will require a unique strategy to effectively create the IT environment needed to leverage the benefits of digital twins. 

If your business lacks the internal infrastructure to create, deploy and monitor a cloud-based system, BSM Global offers scalable solutions that are used by multinational organisations, large companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, and sole traders.

If you’re interested in learning more about cloud computing, feel free to explore our recent blog on the benefits of cloud-enabled management, or get in touch with someone on our team. 

With BSM Global, you’ll be able to discover new ways to leverage technology and optimise your organisation’s supply chain.