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As technology gets smarter, so do all of the components, processes, and industries affected by it. The goal of adopting smart technology is to enable a better way to share information in real time to aid in collaboration. This often takes the form of automation and AI, but it can also include the unification of data and systems that previously existed in silos.
There’s no doubt that smart technology is the way forward for many companies, especially when industries and businesses are eagerly adopting the same mindset. Here’s what the smart concept looks like when applied to the supply chain as we currently know it.
How Does a “Smart” Supply Chain Look and Function?
Smart solutions have reached the supply chain and are providing greater visibility into how a supply chain looks and operates. It self-organizes the data it collects and self-optimizes the data based on predefined variables to prevent bottlenecks, quality issues, and miscommunication.
A smart supply chain uses technology to link every aspect of the supply chain from origination source to the end-user. By understanding the role of each exchange in the supply chain, companies can improve the way they order and manage inventory and the vendors with whom they partner, which will help them to achieve sustainability goals. In turn, these factors can improve the way they serve their customers.
For example, an ethical clothing company with a smart supply chain can use these deeper-level insights to understand:
- How long it takes to receive a certain type of clothing
- What the clothing is made from
- Where the materials come from
- How their partners are prioritizing sustainable and ethical practices
This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but it illustrates the idea that a smart supply chain can translate into smarter operations at large.
Why Smart Supply Chains Matter Now More than Ever
Smart technology in the supply chain is being viewed as an exercise in sustainability. By definition, sustainability refers to the ability to meet present needs without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations.
It’s become a hot topic among many companies who wish to reduce their carbon footprints, use sustainable and ethical materials, and purchase from vendors who have also made sustainability a priority.
HBR notes that many organizations have already committed to cascading their sustainability priorities down to the companies with whom they do business. However, many companies lack proper oversight of their lower-tier suppliers who may be allowing activities that don’t meet their sustainability standards to fly under the radar.
Smart supply chain technology is poised to help mitigate these issues. Companies can improve partnerships and decision-making related to sustainability and other priorities to uphold brand values, improve the customer experience, and hold vendors and partners to higher standards.
How Specright Creates Sustainable Smart Supply Chains with SDM
Specright’s Specification Data Management™ (SDM™) software enables the smart supply chain with visibility into data at the spec level. SDM allows companies to understand how their supply chain operations impact sustainability efforts, brand values, and other business considerations. As a result, companies can improve decision making in the area of sustainability investments and partnerships.
Download our ebook to learn more about SDM and how it supports supply chain sustainability.