3 Steps to Begin Digitizing your Fuel Supply Chain
It keeps surprising me how many companies still manage their supply chains using spreadsheets and emails. Articles and studies published in 2019 were discussing the importance of digitizing the supply chains (for example:
In 2020, Supply-Chain Digitization Is No Longer Optional, Gartner Supply Chain Conference: From the noise to the new). But now it is increasingly more important. COVID-19 is forcing the industry’s hand. If you do not capture and understand your data, react quickly, while cutting costs you might not be around next year.
So, where do you start? Well, we all hate this answer, but it depends. But here are 3 steps to start putting that answer together for your business.
- Commit to make the change to Software
First, commit to make the change to software. This sounds easy, but change management is often the hardest part of the project. It is easy to purchase software, but getting people to change the way they work, especially if they are scared of losing their job is even tougher. There are several good books on how to effectively make changes in your organization (e.g., John Kotter has several good books including an easily understood fable: Our Iceberg is Melting).
- Find the Right Partner
Second, find the right partner. If your IT department had the time, knowledge, and resources you would be digitized already. So, find a good technical partner. It might be consulting based or through purchasing an appropriate software solution and having their implementation team guide your team through. Make sure your goals and their goals align.
- Assess and reassess
Finally, assess and reassess. Have metrics and watch your progress. Conduct lessons learned meetings at significant milestones. Don’t be afraid to change the project in mid-stream. You want to make sure you are still headed to your end goal of digitization, but sometimes the environment changes – regulatory, financially, etc. Make sure you are evolving with the project.
Tackling a digitization project is not necessarily a small feat. However, depending on your individual business situation you can move as slow or fast as necessary. You can start very small – just reduce the amount of paper forms required to something bigger such as outfitting your team with tablets and collecting all data digitally. The key step is to start somewhere and take that first step.
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