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The vision of the smart supply chain

In practice, digital transformation in the supply chain means the replacement of manual and paper processes with digital and autonomous mechanisms, including the digitisation of data flows and the adoption of technologies that create more flexibility and agility in the supply chain.

The transformation of supply chains is long overdue. Even hybrid supply chains, involving a mix of digital and traditional paper-based mechanisms, trigger real inefficiencies due to a lack of transparency, an inability to integrate systems and a general absence of operational flexibility.

When adopting a digital transformation agenda, it is vital to appreciate that any initiative goes far beyond the implementation of advanced technologies. The strategy and associated activities need to be planned and executed in a way that is holistic and systematic with sufficient flexibility to allow a business to fine tune its supply chain arrangements over time.

Whilst there are a number of critical components that are required to operate any smart supply chain, including automating processes, use of analytics and enabling digital interaction, the most important element of any system is data.

To support businesses in implementing smart supply chains, we have created a checklist looking at how the quality of data shapes the types of model that may be available, the role of smart contracts and the growing range of legal technologies that are available to enhance smart supply chains.

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