Digital transformation initiatives were already underway among life sciences manufacturers before COVID-19 struck, but the volatility resulting from the global pandemic in 2020 brought to light the importance of digital technologies in the supply chain. In fact, according to a McKinsey survey of global executives, companies digitised many activities 20-25 times faster as a result of COVID-19.
For life sciences organisations, integrating digital technologies in the supply chain has enormous implications.
For forward-looking companies that are taking steps toward digital transformation, research is beginning to show a clearer business impact of digital tools in the supply chain.
“At organizations that experimented with new digital technologies during the COVID-19 crisis, and among those that invested more capital expenditures in digital technology than their peers did, executives are twice as likely to report outsize revenue growth than executives at other companies,” according to McKinsey.
Not only have digitally mature companies outperformed their competition during the global pandemic, but they are expected to continue accelerating ahead of their peers.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) research shows that more than 80% of companies plan to accelerate their companies’ digital transformation efforts — and with good reason.
“Digital leaders achieve earnings growth that is 1.8 times higher than digital laggards — and more than double the growth in total enterprise value. In the short term, digital technologies and ways of working offer productivity improvements and better customer experiences. In the medium term, digital opens up new growth opportunities and business model innovation,” according to the consulting firm. “Successful transformations also set companies up for sustained success; they won’t have to digitally transform again as they master continuous innovation.”
Several technologies have emerged to help life sciences companies excel in an increasingly digital economy. Here is what five of these technologies mean for the life sciences supply chain:
The promise of digital transformation in the supply chain is a more complete understanding of every element of the supply chain, helping companies to improve planning, decision-making, and responding to issues. When data is digitised and connected to other data points across the enterprise by the IoT, and analysed by AI algorithms, the data becomes more visible, usable, and valuable.
Integrating digital technologies in the supply chain can bring substantial opportunities when the right digital tools are applied and in the right way. Yet large-scale change is hard, so as manufacturers look for ways to boost the business impact of digital tools in the supply chain, they can start their digitisation efforts with a "small automation" approach, focusing on quickly implementing flexible, adaptable technologies that fill existing gaps created by their enterprise systems.
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