Early adopters of dark stores, omnichannel models, telematics and analytics already becoming role models for the rush to transform digitally: study

Supply chain digitalization has emerged as one of the post-pandemic era’s key priorities to achieve operational efficiencies and meet surging demand, and also to futureproof business models with resiliency.

In the South-east Asian region, business leaders are planning to adopt more forms of digitalization to better overcome challenges and changing consumer trends presented by the pandemic and other significant events including political trade wars.

This is according to a report by a consulting company specializing in supply chain optimization, property advisory and project management services that analyzed the sentiments of industry experts and over 250 business decision makers in the fast-moving consumer goods, logistics, ecommerce, retail and manufacturing industries, across Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

What the figures may indicate

The small study showed that eight in 10 of the businesses in the survey that had not adopted any forms of digitalization in their supply chains prior to the pandemic were now closely considering options.

Among the key reasons cited for this were: to help the business cope with the upswing in consumer demand and reduced manpower due to distancing measures; as well as to remain competitive at a time of significant disruption.

The respondents did recognize that going digital can enable a more holistic view of what is happening within supply chains, provide an ability to anticipate challenges and periods of change, and help the organization to weather future shocks. 

Moving forward, leaders in the survey were anticipating not only a general rise in businesses embracing DX within their supply chains, but also the increased implementation of omnichannel models and investment in dark stores, as well as the enhanced use of automation, data analytics and telematics.

Why the inferences matter

According to James Christopher, President, TM Insight Asia, the firm that commissioned the report: “Supply chains in South-east Asia are critical to the movement of goods globally, and the industry landscape has undergone seismic shifts this year, mainly because of (the pandemic). While ecommerce was already on the rise beforehand, changing consumer demands and trends—coupled with added pressures of health and safe distancing measures—have pushed supply chains to new limits. As a result, business leaders are now looking at different options to futureproof their supply chains against potential risks for the long-term.”

Christopher noted that industry leaders in the survey had observed that businesses that had invested in an omnichannel model early were relatively-unscathed by the challenges in the pandemic. These businesses were able to get ahead of big increases in demand, drive more sales and enhance CX. “Through our own work, we are seeing increased adoption of these models and expect it to accelerate in the near future,” he said.