A digital model represents a copy of the real world.
Think of it as a digital twin of the real world. Unlike the physical world, it is possible to manipulate, process and analyze a digital version of your supply chain with computer software. This unlocks tremendous value through improved collaboration, automation, and analytics. It also creates a flexible and adaptable operating platform. New technological paradigms like Blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data are changing the game.
Collaboration is the act of sharing information. For instance, sharing electronic data with your suppliers, freight forwarders, carriers, customs brokers, Customs, and customers is collaboration. Making information available in a secure manner, via a web browser, is collaboration. Robust collaboration enables pertinent information to be communicated efficiently, in near real time, and without error, thereby creating value.
Analytics is the ability to derive new and valuable insights from a set of data. It may consist of identifying a correlation between multiple data elements that was previously unknown. Or, it may be the ability to highlight a statistical trend. Having all global trade and supply chain data housed in a central digital database provides unique and tremendous opportunities to identify value through analytics.
Automation is having a machine replace the work of a human. Not all global supply chain activities can be automated, but many can be. Automation creates a process-by-exception paradigm, whereby activities that require input or answers are routed to the responsible parties. Typically, as data is gathered and decisions are made, the percentage of these “exceptions” occurring goes down over time, creating a continuous improvement model.
Flexibility is the ability to react to changes. Sometimes these changes occur over a long period of time and sometimes they occur almost instantaneously. Within the global supply chain, models and paradigms are ever changing, such has been demonstrated recently with the e-commerce revolution. Government regulations and programs can sometimes change very quickly; in some countries, these changes can occur literally overnight. A digital platform that can adapt to these changes in a quick and efficient manner is both an enabling and powerful tool.
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