A smarter digital supply chain requires new skills

Shifting to a smart supply chain requires people with the right skills and motivation to support change in digital operations.

Accenture, a multinational management consulting, information technology and outsourcing firm, has published a study titled Successful Supply Chain Transformations Put People at the Center. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the cloud are changing the supply chain profile.

Supply Chain News

Companies are actively investing in these new technologies to make the supply chain more digital and smart, but at the same time, they need to invest in the professionals who will work and interact with them. This is equivalent to saying that the right skills and support are required to work in the digital supply chain, with a really focus on innovation, assurance and flexibility in actions and decisions.

Suppliers
The term means supply chain, and is related to all the processes that a product goes through.

digital twin
The expression in English means “digital twin” and means simultaneous virtual representation of physical objects, people or processes.

Traditional jobs will shift from performing manual tasks to monitoring and managing intelligent machines and data. A lot of everyday activities will be automated and work will require more innovation, creativity, collaboration and leadership. For this, companies need to make the right decisions, prioritize professionals, and not just acquire or create new technologies. In this sense, the Accenture study points to three ways to truly prioritize people in digital transformations.

Develop new skills, at scale, using AI and analytics [análise computacional sistemática de dados ou estatísticas] He is one of them. Companies are using advanced digital tools to develop new skills, within and across industries. Many use AI to match similar skills between old and new roles. As a result, it enables responsible qualification throughout the supply chain. Additionally, they use predictive talent analytics to make data-driven decisions.

Accenture’s second indicator is the enhancement of traditional skills that are still valuable to the organization. This means that companies realize that in the race to provide workers with new skills, they also need to invest in traditional skills and jobs that still occupy a key place in business.

Finally, companies must involve people in initiatives from the start. This happens when they create teams to provide input on implementing tools and designing new ways of working. At the same time, they hold team members accountable for initiatives that encourage them to think like owners and innovate.

According to the Accenture study, roles will change in three main areas: procurement, manufacturing and planning. Initially, procurement professionals will need to interpret the insights generated by artificial intelligence and use digital technologies to solve business problems. In addition, they will need market knowledge and the ability to build good relationships with ecosystem partners.

In manufacturing, the study predicts that plant managers will be supported with algorithms, which will help them improve plant operations based on data. They will have a lot of information available and they will need to understand it in order to make the right decisions. In planning, AI algorithms can accurately predict and identify trends and patterns in ways that humans cannot. Therefore, AI will make most of the planning decisions, with humans only managing alerts or any other more specific problem. Thus, planners will be able to respond more quickly and have a more comprehensive view.

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