5 Steps to Accelerate Supply Chain Digital Transformation

Jun 28, 2021 11:30 AM12:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Businesses have begun a digital transformation, especially within the past 16 months. There is a concern across the supply chain and a challenge to overcome the transformation process. The reliance on the supply chain has become crucial since delivering consumer goods on time is essential.

Implementing supply chain management systems to ensure there is no disruption in production and no loss of products is crucial — not only to the business but also to consumers. The need to fully digitize operations in an eCommerce world is booming. At the forefront of this transformation is Fulcrum Digital.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Bilal Tak, Director for Market Development Growth-Supply Chain at Fulcrum Digital, and Sukrit Sondhi, VP of Product Engineering at Fulcrum Digital, to explain the digital transformation of the supply chain. They discuss the benefits a program can offer, a shared vision, and how eCommerce and supply chains are integrated.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Bilal and Sukrit discuss the post-COVID trends and the increase in cargo theft
  • Implementing supplier onboarding and qualification processes
  • Bilal dives into supply chain eCommerce
  • Balancing artificial intelligence and robotic process automation
  • Sukrit talks about the five-step proven approach
  • Specific processes require specific solutions
  • Assessing digital maturity in a relatable way
  • Bilal talks about digital transformation
  • Preparing a roadmap of the different impacts on an organization
  • What to tackle first
  • The importance of a governance model for sustainability
  • Sukrit talks KPI’s
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Event Partners

Fulcrum Digital

Fulcrum Digital is a leading platform and digital solution engineering company, uniquely positioned to deliver on the end-to-end transformation process from technology consulting, enterprise application & platform provision, and full-scale implementation.

Connect with Fulcrum Digital

Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Sukrit Sondhi

VP, Product Engineering at Fulcrum Digital, Inc.

Sukrit Sondhi is the VP of Product Engineering at Fulcrum Digital. In a career spanning over two decades, Sukrit has experience in enterprise architecture, business consulting, and IT operations. He is especially interested in exploring new concepts and practices in supply chain management.

Bilal Tak

Director, Market Development-Supply Chain at Fulcrum Digital, Inc

Bilal Tak is the Director for Market Development Growth-Supply Chain at Fulcrum Digital. It is a leading business platform and digital engineering services company, working with over 1,000 organizations spanning four continents. They are experts in IT services and business platform organizations.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Sukrit Sondhi

VP, Product Engineering at Fulcrum Digital, Inc.

Sukrit Sondhi is the VP of Product Engineering at Fulcrum Digital. In a career spanning over two decades, Sukrit has experience in enterprise architecture, business consulting, and IT operations. He is especially interested in exploring new concepts and practices in supply chain management.

Bilal Tak

Director, Market Development-Supply Chain at Fulcrum Digital, Inc

Bilal Tak is the Director for Market Development Growth-Supply Chain at Fulcrum Digital. It is a leading business platform and digital engineering services company, working with over 1,000 organizations spanning four continents. They are experts in IT services and business platform organizations.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Everybody, Happy Monday, hope everybody had a fantastic weekend. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm co-founder, Managing Director of BWGConnect where a networking and knowledge-sharing group with 1000s of brands who do exactly that, we network and now and share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, whatever it might be, they're shaping the digital space today, we connect with, I don't know, 30 to 40 different organizations on a weekly basis to kind of stay on top of those trends. And when the same topics come up over and over again, that's how we that's how we land on a topic. For an event like this, most of the stuff we're playing is no more than, you know, two to three months out, because in all reality, things are changing so fast, we'd like to stay on top of what's really happening and really relevant at any point in time. So a couple of housekeeping items, as we get started here today, starting three to four minutes after the hour. That's to give everybody enough time to sign from their last meeting. But just so you know, we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go in the hour as well. So if you're looking at your watch, just know, you know, the 56 minute mark, we're going to be wrapping this whole discussion up and allowing you to get on to your next meeting without being late. The last thing is we want this to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time, if you have a question, don't hesitate to drop it in the chat, we've got some content to go through here today. You can always unmute or just raise your hand and we can bring you in. The other thing is if you can't unmute via, you know, get background noise or something, don't hesitate to just email me directly. Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com And that includes an hour after the call tomorrow next week, whatever it might be, if you have a question, just shoot it over to us. And we can get you a question we'll get you an answer back in under a day or so. So that being said, let's go ahead and kick it off. As I noted, we're talking to the 30 or 40 different organizations a week is primarily focused on, you know, the digital side of things right now. And this idea of digital transformation of the supply chain. I don't think anybody shocked that there's a lot of questions around what's going on in this space in the supply chain space as a whole, especially if we look at the past 16 months or so. And so we just have a ton of different questions. So we got some great friends, great partners, the network over at Fulcrum Digital, we asked him to jump on the line today and kind of give us an overview of what they're seeing, they're helping a lot of different organization organizations out within the network on this and just come highly recommended. So we asked him to jump out of line today and just kind of give us an overview. So you know, Bilal, if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and Fulcrum, that would be awesome. We can kick it over to Sukrit next and then we can kind of jump into some of the content here.

Bilal Tak 2:56

So they were Thank you. Thank you Aaron, and welcome, everybody, good morning and Happy Monday. So um, so my name is Bilal Tak, I'm Director for market development and growth across supply chain products and services at Fulcrum. So, Fulcrum is a company you know, we have been we have been servicing the industry from across I think since 1999. And we are an IT services and a business platform organization you know, we we have been servicing the supply chain industry or companies surrounding that through you know, ERP systems like supply chain management systems, or supplier qualification platforms, or with the use of next-gen technologies in any like in RPA is machine learning. IoT is and sorts of things we haven't implementing such tools and technologies across supply chain so that in our clients, the industry as a whole gets better every day. But if you talk about Fulcrum as a whole, you know, we have been working with close to 1000 organizations so far and across you know, multiple industry domains like you know, we have healthcare insurance, banking, finance, eCommerce, retail manufacturing and so what so not close to 2000 employee company based out of New Jersey has headquarters and offices spread across four continents right now. But that's in a nutshell what we do as an IT services and in our supply chain management, software provider company.

Aaron Conant 4:22

Awesome. Sukrit kick it over you brief intro on yourself would be awesome. And then we can kind of jump into some of the content.

Sukrit Sondhi 4:29

Everyone Happy Monday. This is Sukrit and I'm working as a VP of product entering at Fulcrum Digital and of late I've been finding myself working more and more in the supply chain domain to working on some products, a lot of consulting engagements on supply chain. So that's why we thought you know, talk about the budget in today's session and also in the past, got a lot of background in enterprise actor which directly feeds into the digital transformation journey that we have nations embarking on. So, back to you Aaron. Yeah, love it.

Aaron Conant 5:10

So let's go ahead and kick it off into some of this content here. And just a reminder, for those who have joined, drop any questions along the way into the chat, email them into me, or just kind of unmute and feel free to jump in. But below if you want to kind of walk us through some of the content here, that would be awesome

Bilal Tak 5:29

100% you got it and so today, you know, we're focusing on a broader topic. But we're also going to drill down into some specifics for for small and medium sized growing a large enterprises across supply chain industry as a whole. So we're going to talk about a little bit about the post COVID trends, what's happening to the industry, you know, after this pandemic, effects, the challenges and how we can overcome that, you know, and then we're going to talk about the transformation process in between, like, what are the five steps approach, we have consolidated as consultants, because we have been working in this industry for quite a while. So we have come across a lot of challenges a lot of clients. So we know now, five steps, you know, any company who wants to, you know, overcome these post COVID era, you know, challenges, what needs to be done, if you haven't done that already. Right, we'll talk about that, then we have some examples, some case studies as well, if we have enough time, we're going to go through those as well, that you know, what the problem was, what we suggested, and then what was the outcome of that, you know, solution, or the suggestions we made across technology, solutioning, and on, you know, all those kinds of things to talk about, you know, as a whole, all these things, starting from challenges, trends, the solution, and of course, you know, what shouldn't be the approach if you haven't started that process yet in your organization. So that's, that will be, you know, the first overall project that we're going to focus on. But, um, so, in terms of like, the trends, we have been seeing so far, you know, one of the things which has come out, you know, really, you know, surprising is the is the crime, the taps, you know, they have gone 5,000% up since just one year, if you compare the data from 2019, and 2020, the uptake is across 5,000%, the cargo thefts, you know, all those kind of things. So, I think this is the turning point for us in supply chain industry, if we have to make sure because the the consumers that have also become really smart, no, they, they, they now want a timely delivery, you know, they're also focused on you know, environmental friendly products, now, they want to know what time what date what everything in terms of when the product should be delivered, right? That That means that the, the, the reliance on supply chain on your supplier base has become extremely, extremely important. Now, this is a larger topic, but one of the topics that we are focusing on at Fulcrum is the supplier relationship management, because you as a company can produce products good, but you need to supply them or you need to also procure them both ways, right? Because eCommerce is not like, it's just like is going in any direction, you need to have technologies for that. You need to have real time tracking for that. And we'll talk about those things as we go forward. But this qualification does risk management of suppliers has become a huge issue right now. So I think one of the things we have been seeing is that companies now have been implementing a supplier onboarding and qualification processes. Like before you work with someone you know you earlier, you might want to think Okay, you know what, I want to deliver a product, my first priority is the time but now because things have changed the past seven increasing, you want to make sure you are going to the right process. So get into the background checks, getting through the qualification about their accidents, EMR safety, OSHA, and any bankruptcy they have filed and all those kinds of things comes under the radar of supplier relationship management or the vendor management as a whole third party you know, management so that's one thing that we have been seeing is that we must have these processes to make sure right third party vendors are on boarded because it's it's you know, it's a two way street when they have to supply and deliver to make sure that you know our supply chain is non disruptive, then you will have safer product delivery, no disruption in production and also no loss of products. So that's one thing you know, a we have been saying you know, in the one of the trends that you know, the the crime the the tests to make sure we have processes, which are aligned, you know, around these goals of you know, making sure your production is continued in there is no disruption, and things like that, but that's one thing. We have been seeing it as far as That's a concern. And second trend that I'm seeing is that the eCommerce.

As I said earlier, the consumers becoming really smart, they want to know the exact time that they end, they also want to make sure you know if it is eco friendly or not, eCommerce is something which is also booming in any way possible you can think of. So now, if you have a system, or a platform that is doing, you know, supply chain management, you got to have an angle of eCommerce connected with it. And which is also, we should also share the data on a real time basis. Because companies are now connected in terms of data. So we we talk about, then, you know, big data analytics, machine learning integrations, and all those kinds of things. But at this point, it's, you know, Sukrit, if you have an experience that you've seen so far, in terms of, you know, including the next gen technologies, I know, we, we had some projects where we were kind of thinking about those and implemented in some cases, and the companies, you had a huge transformation in terms of overall scenario, production effectiveness, and also the output. So we want to talk about that a little bit.

Sukrit Sondhi 11:10

In terms of the trends, what we are seeing that the supplier network, which was a concept that was put into place by many organizations, now is becoming almost quintessential, because we saw with the COVID, that, you know, you might be having commodities, like toilet paper, not available in your local Walmart, or Walgreens, there are huge quantities of toilet paper sitting in the businesses nearby. And why did that happen? Because it was the supplier network, they could not interact with each other, they not redirect access in one place to another one. So what it means is that you need agility, you need interoperability. And also, a big trend we're seeing is that organizations are going away from these the you know, only cost only focus, and trying to think let's make a bigger, more close to home type of supplier network. Or in some cases, they're thinking we need to have multiple channels. So you can switch from one to the other seamlessly. One could be kusakabe. And it is a global network. What is another one is more local for, you know, safety and resilience. So that big trend that we are seeing these organizations are building the resilience and interoperability into their technologies.

Aaron Conant 12:33

Yeah, no, I think, you know, Bilal, I think you were you're mentioned this, as well as something that that I hear a lot from different organizations is, you know, there's the traditional supply chain and the supply of it, but especially around this digital transformation piece. Now, how do I get it to the consumer, right, and a lot of people had a digital strategy that they were executing through Amazon. And as we saw Amazon, shut off essential, non essential items, and then had warehousing capacity issues, and we're cutting POS or third party marketplace, the deliverability I've just had a lot of organizations across the board start saying, Wait, how do I get my product to the end consumer, and sometimes that's actual consumer, sometimes that is on the b2b front. And now there's this whole new, you know, endeavor to, to actually then supply either, you know, get the supply to the consumer or to other distributors that you might have, and that's kind of I think up ended the applecart a little bit because those that connectivity hasn't necessarily been there. I've seen the same the same thing.

Bilal Tak 13:47

Absolutely. You're right and that's why the whole thing you know, we've been talking about eCommerce right that that's that's a solution in some cases right? Because the connectivity is a huge gap for like for large enterprises maybe not as small growing medium sized companies. This has been a huge challenge so that's why we talked in the beginning that eCommerce part you know you have eCommerce you know as as you understand Okay, simple eCommerce right but I'm going to talk about supply chain eCommerce that's a different ballgame right it has to be fully integrated with all of your you know, inventory management, purchase management, warehouse management, all those kinds of things has to be they have to be connected in a way that you have real time data in terms of what is happening across your supply chain, because the problem is that the goods or products or whatever you're producing or manufacturing, they have been out for delivery, but you have no real time information, when is that the product is getting delivered. So the huge gap in then it leads to a lot of issues in terms of planning, scheduling, and all those kind of things. So eCommerce I think we have been focusing in terms of technology resources, and also the you know, the thought leadership, you know, what should we do in income eCommerce that could solve the post COVID you know, trends and areas, since some to some extent, we have been able to achieve it, but it's an ongoing process. I'm sure it's gonna, you know, continue taking many shapes, as you know, months and years come by. And that's why and one of the implications of these trends, as you see on the screen is the companies have to reach now from, you know, a domestic level or the global level to regional level to go to the areas in where you will not before. So how do you achieve that, you know, and as countries or regions, or people are getting more digitally acquainted in terms of how to use their phones, or how to order online, like Amazon changed everything right? Now, even I used to go out and shop for some things. And those things have completely gone like Whole Foods, you order online, and everything is at your door, and things like that have a huge implication in terms of how to reach the customer. But Sukrit, you can also chime in here for a while a little bit, we can talk about the automation part, because I know you have huge experience in that. And then we can talk about the supplier reading again for a little bit. But what do you think about automation for eCommerce?

Sukrit Sondhi 16:09

That is a very interesting topic. Because we are seeing things like artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, other technologies are coming and automating the batch chain. But they're the challenge is working, having the humans work along with these automation technologies to deliver a cohesive output. So one thing is that you are the automated, especially like AI, it will not always tell you how the decisions were reached. And the humans will be left guessing, okay, maybe the AI decision is better than mine. Or maybe it is not, it's not a very simple thing to, you know, have both these technologies and the technology as well as the human experience working in tandem. And that is what is really becoming a differentiating factor, because everybody is trying to leverage AI and RPA, etc. But once you do it effectively don't create a bigger problem for themselves down the line in terms of an illegal liability than the other ones who can balance the human and the automated but

Bilal Tak 17:14

right, and Adam, this is what I was, we were talking about the day that the hybrid approach is coming up now, you know, automation 100% automation isn't working, you know, small tools and technologies, even like OCR, now they're trying to automate your job, but not 100% like 80%, because they want that human in the loop to make sure you know, liabilities are reduced. And there's a human controller with the technology, you know, yeah, it's interesting. Now, I

Aaron Conant 17:39

love it, because everybody loves the the self driving car, right until somebody, you know, spray paints the 35 mile per hour sign into an 85 mile per hour sign at the curve. And the eye at you know, the AI picks it up as 85. And you speed over the cliff. You know, you need that, that human interaction.

Bilal Tak 17:59

You're right. Right. Awesome. Love it. So the five step approach, I think we that's what I kind of open up with that, you know, the trends you have, you know, what you seeing after like pandemic, what's happening, and then there are some some challenges, you've been seeing that you have to have some solution for that. One is qualification, reading compliance, and doing that data renewal every year to make sure you're not just doing one time, you want to make sure your supplier base your third parties, suppliers in is absolutely safe to work with, but that you reduce those risks overall. And then of course, you need to have some kind of integrations and automations. And while they're here, but overall, you know, if you want to look at a summary, there's five step proven approach. I know. So Sukrit has spent a lot of time in this area. So I will let him talk about this because I can talk but I think he's the the owner of this whole area. So Sukrit Why don't you talk about this five step approach, in a nutshell, what it does, and how companies can utilize this process.

Sukrit Sondhi 19:00

So well, so just going at these five steps at a high level first, where DOD is that you need to of course be having all your business goals and strategies kind of lined up. So if you're not really clear on where you're headed, then even entering into the digital transformation initiative will not necessarily yield any great results. So it's shown as a little bit of grayed out, because that's kind of a prerequisite of particular preparation. If you don't have that ready, you should have that of course. And then you need to identify your transformation drivers and objectives. Because digital transformation is all about technology able then. So we're looking at what others are doing better, or what would be doing better based on technologies that are out there. Not driven by simply by your business objectives or goals. So if you're commissioned drivers, let's say that simply increasing your Revenue and decreasing costs and all, whichever organization or is it some more specific, giving a better customer experience where you know, your competitors getting an advantage to do things are very important to have more than just to do just that, we are not leveraging technology as much. And then the next step after that is to assess your current digital maturity. Now, this is a step that many organizations they do in a rather informal manner, which may not be thoroughly bad. But keeping it entirely is probably going to cause a lot of problems down the line. Because we want to go after highest ROI and the low hanging fruit, and making sure that you're not pumping a lot of revenue to something like an intranet initiative, or, you know, technically, this is not going to really yield the right benefits for you. So, they're looking at where your shortcomings are, how you, you know, map up to other businesses in the industry in general. And then preparing that kind of gap analysis is very important in the second step. The third after that is, essentially, if you have done the first step, and you will test your current digital maturity, you have your objectives in hand, then you have an idea of the goal where you really want to reach. So at that stage, it becomes a lot about incorporating all your constraints, your existing initiatives, your strategic plan, and policies, and making sure they are in cohesion with the the final outcomes that you're desiring. And that essentially goes into the roadmap. We'll talk a little bit more about how we can prioritize as we go along with the next step after that, the fourth step is having some kind of metrics to measure the progress and outcomes. And here, I'm just looking at it at a high level, it sounds like common sense. Yes, we should, of course, have certain metrics. But the challenging part is that how do we have metrics, which are relatable to the industry, which are relatable to not just our organization, but also other organizations. So that is something very critical in order to make sure we are progressing in the right direction and not with that. And finally, the governance model, and that is a lot to do with the sustainability as well. So we need to not just have a great start to the digital transformation and you know, make some quick short term progress. Would we need to constantly course correct and make sure that we are the team then goes to? So we can talk a little bit more about some of these specific items where, boy,

Aaron Conant 22:56

I do I want to talk a little bit about that, but just had a couple of questions come around, like, where do you start is one. But I think before we get to where it is start, it's who's there for the right people to have in the room? Right, but who heads up? You know, this digital supply chain transformation piece? You know, it's, you know, people are trying to toss the hot potato in some cases, other times people are trying to grab it and run with it, but may not be right. You know, so who do you see like, are the relevant people to have in the room and who actually, you know, who actually runs with it, who's the project manager, who's the owner, I should say, probably not the project manager, who's the owner of this supply chain transformation.

Sukrit Sondhi 23:47

You know, it ultimately hinges upon that. So the owner within an organization would typically be roles, such as CIO, CTO, and digital transformation officers videos. And that is kind of the quick and easy answer. But many organizations, they are not structured this way. So they may be having, let's say, head of enterprise architecture, in some cases, they may be having no such role. Maybe a CIO, perhaps, but no other technology centric roles. So there, it becomes a little more confusing how to assign this role. So first of all, I would say, if you have something like a CIO or CTO role, we should try and either make that person the sponsor, or we could have a similar role, which is closely aligned with that person and make that person the digital transformation officer. Just looking at it from where it fits into the organization. structure, and the processes are going to fall under technology. It's going to fall under the CIO office and it's going to be Closely related to enterprise architecture, you possess the Enterprise Architecture like the army, and the ratio transformation is going to be a taskforce.

Aaron Conant 25:11

Awesome, love it and you help craft that story then. Because I know where the CIO sit, but they've got a million things going on. Right. And there's 100 different things on their play. And you know, it is usually understaffed, right, and if they've got 100 different projects, and they have to do a rationalization on what they're going to work on and what they're not. And then there has to be a justification to the CIO, if he's going to make a decision as big as this. So are you stepping in and you know, I have organizations out on that side, as well as crafting the story of a this is where it looks like this is transformation and the impact it's going to have, because there's going to have to be a selling point,

Sukrit Sondhi 25:58

internally, I believe, agree, definitely, you know, that challenges there. The transformation initiatives are very often important of the utmost importance, but not really that urgent, when you can always put something that is, you know, been running well, or at least is running, you can continue with that for a few more days, and you can put something off. And if it is becoming super urgent, then it's probably not a transformation initiative. It's more like a band aid. So, so here, the key is going after the important but not urgent. And, Bilal, what do you think? Yeah,

Bilal Tak 26:39

that was about it. And yeah, you're right, thank you Sukrit that in Aaron's a very good point, and I think we I in my previous life, I've dealt with these kind of thing. So the problem is that no one knows who's supposed to do this job. Because a, they got their own things, as you said. And second is that I don't want to take this task, because if I focus on this, who's gonna do my plate of work, right? So So the problem is that this problem is huge across any company, you name it, that are some mature organization, we're not talking about those, right, we're talking about the rest of the world, which is as it is, that there comes companies like us, we have in house consultants who have been, you know, working in this business for the past 20 years or so. And we have our own in house r&d Innovation Lab as well. Now I say innovation labs, a very interesting topic, because then you talk about supply chain, each company has this, you know, generic process, and then they have their own specific process for specific processes, you need specific solutions. So either you have your own teams, or you don't, if you don't, then the companies like us, that always help you find that you know, right approach, and the entire process and assessment done for you, you look at it, you take your time, let us know what you feel right, let us know what you feel wrong, and then modify such assessments for you. And then of course, the solutioning part comes towards the end of the day. So definitely that piece we have been trying to fulfill for the past so many years, and it has worked phenomenally well. But but absolutely right, this is a burning topic, you know, in my job. So how do I do it? So of course, companies, you know, have a consulting, you know, model that we started just selling, you know, started as simple as that a supply chain is very complex in our industry. So you need to assess, and observe and understand, you know, clients or cloud companies objectives, their maturity standards, and accordingly, you know, give them the whole roadmap of the next six months, or one year or two years, how they can digitally transform, and be secure, and more, you know, more effectiveness, more efficiencies and things like that. Awesome. Love it. Love it, too. Yeah, I

Aaron Conant 28:43

don't know if there's additional slides, but if there are awesome or if there's anything and just reminder, as we got to the halfway point here, if you have questions along the way, keep emailing them to me, Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com you can drop them into the chat. And we're also gonna have an opportunity to jump out to people and kind of get feedback as we get a little bit further through here and get through some of these additional slides. But along the way, if you have any questions, don't don't hesitate to drop them in to the chat or email them to me.

Bilal Tak  29:11

Awesome. So I'll get back to you below. Sukrit, serving as your board.

Sukrit Sondhi 29:19

boots on the step one, the only other thing I would like to add is that this transformation drivers and objectives, they are typically, you know, coming directly from the pain points and the strategic initiatives, the strategic plans of the organization. So we have the difference between a prerequisite and the current needs challenges, although they're very well known, becomes very easy to identify the transformation drivers and objectives. The only remaining component is the outward facing path. And that is you know, what's going on in the industry. And actually that is an easier path because you know, you look everywhere you know on the internet online. There's a ton of content, what's going on in the industry, the most challenging part is just, you know, how we are doing right now, compared to where we should be. So coming to the next step, which is about assessing the digital maturity, this can be done many different ways. But essentially, you want to look at it at a way, which is relatable to the rest of the industry that you're in, or to the rest of the organization, as well, which are your competitors. So they're the styles into the matrix related point where later that, you know, measure your progress and outcomes. And the way of assessing the current maturity is essentially going to be how we are doing versus, you know, on a standard model, how the other organizations are doing. So just to give an example of that, we are looking at our current process, which is highly automated. And we are not really having any manual touch points, let's say so, maybe like a warehouse and shipping type of environment. And we may feel that we are doing really well. But when we look at it, from the customer experience point of view, are we sending the right updates for the customer to the orders where it is at what stage is it. And if that simply that one step might be missed, then the whole additional maturity, from an external point of view is not very high, even though there will be tons of automation test. So some small, you know, caveats like that can really be like a game changer as well as it can become a low hanging fruit. As we go ahead. Bilal, are you thoughts you'd like to share on that one?

Bilal Tak 31:49

I think you're right, the whole point to talk I in my mind, this, this, this code was going I can't remember who told me this. But the quote was that in terms of digital transformation, the guy told me that you can delay but you cannot deny, like, if you're not doing into these directions, today, go Good Good for you, you might save some cost and might be able to work. But ultimately, you won't be able to deny it. And then and that time is going to cost you a lot of more dollars, versus if you do right now and assess your maturity. So that was so I wanted to say that. But thanks for asking and bringing me in as I'm glad I said that. So really, you know, assess, you need to ask questions yourself, in terms of all these things is trends and these implications, what your maturity level is, where can you go, you know, I think companies or organizations who continuously innovate, find themselves on a path of success. So that if you keep asking your questions, what needs to be done today can become more effective, more efficient user experience, client experiences getting better, I think, then that's the path want to be on, of course, that our business goals need to align them. But as far as supply chain, digital transformation is concerned, a q&a has to be done. And then of course, you need to, I don't deny, I think you know, you need to accept it. And of course, get consulting approaches, if you don't have in house teams, or if you have in house teams start from that. That's the best point to do. And this is what this slide talks about the roadmap, where to start, and how to, you know, follow up after that. So Sukrit a little bit, we can spend time on this very interesting slide. I love this one.

Sukrit Sondhi 33:26

Yes, it's somewhat complex looks like and I know the title says prepare a roadmap. But what we're looking at here is not a roadmap, but you're looking at all the different, you know, business functions within the supply chain organization that need a roadmap. Because look at the roadmap, it might have simply like four or five main initiatives for the current year, let's say or we have more depending upon the organization. But if you look at what are the different touch points, where it will impact that could be each initiative could be impacting many different parts of the organization. So one common mistake we've done is that, yes, you envision things at a high level, and prepare a roadmap, which is all good. But the impact analysis has not been done that okay, which departments and functions that impact which processes it impact. And that comes back to bite you later when you see that there are certain gaps in the processes or we've been doing some migration, but we don't know how to retrain our staff or we need to hire or release some stuff. And that has not been thought out. So here what we're looking at is a one way of actually looking at any supply chain organization where we've represented all different departments and business functions within the organization. And we typically use that to inform our roadmap that okay for each and every one, what is the end date or end goal and is there a roadmap for all of them with too In consonance, with the high level roadmap, so, so really quick, is

Aaron Conant 35:09

there a is there's a lot there to tackle right on any one of these, is there guidance around which one of these to tackle first or is it tackle everything at once?

Sukrit Sondhi  35:22

There are several common ways to do it, I would say there's no right or totally wrong way to do it. One of the common ways to do it is to go after something quick and easy, the low hanging fruit. And when you do that, is typically target things. Even if you know, you make a small mistake, nothing will get hurt. It's kind of low risk or, and sometimes low reward approach, but it's quick and easy. And you might be targeting functions which are more stable, like financing. And not going directly after your production process, production comes to a halt. And for any kind of mistake, blunder really. And you don't want to take that risk upfront, especially when you are dealing with new technologies. And the whole rest of the program will also be kind of a little get a bad name, and you will not even be able to continue. So that shallow end, as we call it, is a quick and easy type of approach. And then the deep end is you go after things where you have most impact. So that kind of approach we recommend for organizations where they really they know what they want, they have good level of commitment throughout the organization from management, on to the operational level, and they have enough, you know, deep pockets and enough in a contingency plan and maturity in their processes, that they can sustain that kind of initiative, then there's no reason why they should go after something, you know, small, just to prove a point that, yeah, we can do it. And, of course, many other ways. But those are some of the common ways. Where if you go after production, or you're planning, that's the deep end. And if you go off to something like finance and accounting and those areas, which are really part of your integrated supply chain, so there's the shallow end. Awesome.

Aaron Conant 37:25

So quick question that comes in over email is, what percentage of companies have embarked on this journey? I think people are trying to get a gauge for where they're at as a whole, which then, you know, kind of gets the question around? How do you do the analysis as a whole to compare where you're at? Or where you shouldn't be? So, you know, I think the first question is, like, How many? How many organizations have started down this path? That kind of percentage wise, would you guess? And I'll say, doing it, right, not just doing anything, but maybe maybe those are two different percentages, and then, you know, how many people have,

Sukrit Sondhi 38:02

you know, successfully put it in place? So, very interesting question, how many have started on this journey? There is, at least, you know, based on whatever input and our research, we have done, pre-COVID, we knew that there were about 40 to 50%, of the machine organization, which had such initiatives on their radar. But, and they had maybe taken some steps, some baby steps, just getting their feet wet, but they really didn't consider themselves as having an attorney. And both COVID current stage where we are, we have seen some research, which is around 67%, or 68%, of sales CTOs and VP of operations that shows with your supply chain. So they are starting upon such initiatives. That cannot be that they've embarked on a major initiative like in all in one go, but they're selected some elements. And they started upon a transformation journey. The differentiating factor here is they have prioritized areas of you know, technology, which they're aware of earlier, but they never you know, consider them or intermediate. Now coming to the part of the question, how many of them are doing it right? I really don't have good answer. Time will tell you know, we have some surveys and other research coming out in the near future which probably will give us a better idea unless Bilal you are aware of them.

Bilal Tak 39:47

I smile because you know, time will tell definitely that's that's the right answer because but one thing is that it's again the analogy of you know, delay, deny, you know, people were delaying before before you know, pre COVID post call, even now. Everything has to be add to be digital, you know, we're not just talking about supply chain. Think about just receiving papers in your office, think about e signatures, everything technology is transforming now, because you don't want disruption to this, you know, uptake from 40 to 60% is someone right? Because now, if you were not thinking, you want to be prepared enough for such pandemics or such, you know, disasters, because you want to have business continuity. So that's very important. And that's where, you know, whole this idea about roadmap, assessments come in, that you see what you have, and you know, have a roadmap, at least as the first step you can do is assessment. Just look around, if you don't have that, do that. And then you will automatically know, as Sukrit said, you know, baby steps, and then you will know what needs to be done next, it'll come to you. That's what I say.

Aaron Conant 40:50

No, yeah, I love it. Because you have maturity in there. Right. And that is, the reality is, I think, starting, you know, 15 months ago, I shouldn't say that maybe, you know, people are getting, you know, just still in shock a little bit from the pandemic and trying to figure out how long it was going to last and what the impact was going to be. But about a year ago, they started realizing, hey, we might be in here for the long haul. Let's just start doing something. And they embark on journeys. And then you know, they're, you know, I don't know, 10 steps into a 500 step journey, realizing, hey, they, I now know enough to know, I don't know it all. Right, and I need to, I need to connect with other people that can help me walk along this journey as a whole. So I think you're right, yeah, only time will tell it's kind of juggle the same time you didn't even know I was like, yeah, this probably is probably accurate. So

Bilal Tak  41:43

no, but we already started to see the efficiencies for an example, a lot of companies that I worked with these two small piece and the entire supply chain, maybe not even worth considering enough for huge companies, but its supply on morning for an example, they would just get papers, PDF forms, they will look at ABC companies, a third party like supplier, they want to work with the name, address, financial information litigation, and they will just send it over and get it approved. And it'll take like a week or so or two days, three days. Now we have clients who have implemented a fully integrated system, it is called supply, they qualify, you integrate with your supply chain system. And the entire process is smooth. People go online, register their company, they tell what the business they want to do. And then what we have, we have services at the backend where they do background checks, credit score, risk level litigation, bankruptcy is filed criminal cases pending. And then we also have a service from Department of Transportation, for shippers and truckers and haulers, we make sure their safety rating is good, they're not too many accidents and on tickets and whatnot, then becomes a one piece of you know, automation, which was not there before because people are not in the offices anymore, someone is coming back, but I'm talking about what happened, you know, when the pandemic hit us right in the middle. So that has changed. And now what it did was efficiency has been high. If I was you know, a process manager or a, you know, vendor supplier management officer or manager, I was doing that before, and they was going to the finance team, also to audit, all those things we've automated into workflow is a seamless process. Now people who were doing this job before, as a add on to their daily job for nine to five, they can do focus on that, and we have automated this piece. So just a small example, you know, you know, post and pre COVID

Aaron Conant 43:30

No, I love it from the standpoint of you know, a lot of times you will are talking about how big is this project? How long does it take? You know, how much of the organization we're going to have to be involved in, kind of like you're walking through as you don't, you know, how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time, right? It's, hey, there's small, incremental steps you can do to kind of gain momentum even like Sukrit, like you're saying is a you know, grab some of these things off to the side and just start working on them. You know, you anyways, it's, it's, it's fascinating. I love it. Baby steps. Yeah. Yeah. I think where it's going next. I just I think when you put this slide up briefly ago, people said, Uh, no, it's like, Can we go to the KPIs?

Sukrit Sondhi 44:14

Yeah, the KPIs are always interesting. So here is something which we found to be very successful at bringing clarity to a lot of different business processes and outcomes is having a line of sight from the top to the bottom of the KPIs. And the way we represented it, I'll tell you the key operational metrics at the bottom, they are going to be very organization specific. So, nowhere are we trying to say that your organization has to follow some very standard model which is not going to fit you well. You can have them you know, very much organization centric and also, there are certain groups metrics which we will be able to get from the operational metrics. celebration will be as simple as you know, how many orders did I fulfill in a day or something like that. And then you can look at trends, the variances, that are we trending in a positive direction, negative, etc. So that is also fairly organization specific. But then the layer, which is the second from the top, that's the core KPIs. That's where the industry standard metrics come into the picture. And this is very interesting, because it gives you a way to, to relate or compare your organization across the rest of the industry. And how that happens is we take the organization's specific metrics, and map them to the score KPIs, which is an industry standard. And once you've done that, the nuances and intricacies which are part of the organization, they're not ignored, but they are factored in. And then we can compare two very different organizations also, and let alone You know, apples and oranges comparison, we could take one business, which is selling clothing, and then another one, which is selling food. And we can compare those two, and how well they are handling the supply chain by using something like the score KPIs. And then finally, at the topmost level, we have the balanced scorecard, or we could be having some other model as well, the default one that we use, which map everything into a strategic view. So if you're the top management, shareholders, a board of directors and you have some organizational strategies in place, you can correlate to that to improve our order fulfillment rate by two percentage points. does it translate into anything in terms of market trade? does it translate into anything in terms of profitability, and that happens by having the core KPIs related to the strategic KPIs? So this is one topic and I could talk about. But in the interest of time, I'll hand it over to Bilal, as you know, anything he wants to add?

Bilal Tak 47:16

I think at this point, and on this point, specifically, I think you've covered it right? Well, we can spend an entire day just on talking about KPIs and how we can do for one specific company. But But I think in the interest of time, let's finish step five as well, and then we can go to the q&a is and then take it from there.

Sukrit Sondhi 47:33

Right. Finally, we have the governance model, and that is very important for sustainability of the initiative. Like one of the questions that came was how much percentage of these initiatives succeed. So, arguably, the majority will kind of petered out at some point in time, it could be simply because of changes in the management and maybe some new person came in at the top with a new set of plans or they simply rebranded the existing initiative, but how the governance model in place ensure that at least you know, you are transferring from one initiative to another or from one way of doing it to another in a manner which continues all the benefits. Plus, if you have achieved certain major gains and advances in the business because of the initiative, I would argue that the success story may not have a student alternative things that you know, in the beginning of the initiative,

Sukrit Sondhi  48:39

now, that here we can add you know, some of the common areas common ways that organizations start off on these journeys. So, having the charter are the objectives of that Digital Transformation Program, having a digital transformation officer or similar role identified and getting the right management support, they are of course, prerequisites. And they that can be something which can be done pretty quickly. So, the next stage, which is the third state assessment, that can be taken up next. So, depending upon how much time we have, we could go into some of the case studies or we could, you know, take some more questions if you have,

Aaron Conant 49:31

well, how is your people on why they How do they go about doing kind of a self assessment, right, and the digital maturity of their organization as a whole, you know, compared to others, but also the supply chain industry in general, you know, as a whole, I think that's where, you know, the bureau are trying to figure that out. It might be hiring. Am I a little ahead Am I right with the pack, I would love to hear your thoughts there. As we probably got, you know, three minutes or so left. And just a reminder, if anybody has last minute questions, you can email them to me Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com, or you can just chat them in.

Sukrit Sondhi  50:14

So, dancer questionnaire and like, we spoke about school KPIs, but the score model is having more than just KPI, it has process definitions for the entire supply chain, set of processes in our supply chain business. And what we can be doing is looking at how those processes relate to our business. Some in case, you don't relate at all, we can just ignore them. And then we will get for each of those areas which are applicable. Let's jump back to this one. Let's say for me shipping and receiving and you know, picking and clearing these some of these items are the most important, so select them. And then I can on the score model, I can map certain digital technologies to these. Now that is not like a, I would say, like a step, which is you can just go out and you know, read somewhere, or you can do it in one shot quite easily anybody can do it, it does require some level of expertise and knowledge of how these technologies are progressing. Because what is best practice, draft using RFID might have been best practice, you know, a year ago. Now, it's still a good practice. But there are certain new technologies out in the market to kind of evolve in target. and due to that, once you've reached your core model, from that you need to map to technologies and this need to be up to date with what's going on. Awesome. Love it.

Aaron Conant 51:45

I can see we're getting right to time here. I probably got like just over a minute left. You know, is there an awesome? You know, in a quick reminder, everybody, you know, thanks for the great questions. We'd love to have a follow up conversation with anybody but also encourage anybody have a follow up conversation with the team at poker digital, the great brands, partners, supporters have a lot of different brands in the network. There There are leaders in this space as a whole. So where's the file conversation? Are there any like, you know, key takeaways that you would have for people on the line today, we can go through this, you know, this case study real quick as well. And kind of wrap into keep some key takeaways there. That would be that'd be awesome.

Sukrit Sondhi  52:30

Yeah, sorry. That was the it was about the key takeaways, right? Yeah, key takeaways would be awesome. So the main thing here is to see like, what are the different benefits the program could offer versus a promotion program could offer? what you have going internally, there may be many technology initiatives going on? Are they cohesive? Are they being led with a common vision? Are they integrated in the sense that there are no separate enterprise architecture and no separate business planning initiatives? If the answer is yes, then you can probably compose them into a digital transformation initiative. And if no, then you probably are badly needed for Digital Transformation Program.

Aaron Conant 53:20

Bilal, you know, are you kidding, guys? I love that like canonization the key, love it Bilal Tak if you don't already,

Bilal Tak 53:27

I think the key takeaway is that every company is unique. They got their own journey, they got their own objective. So I think just focus on yourself as a first step. And do an assessment. I think that's that assessment like is in any you know, form or shape of your liking, assessment is the first step to do that. And if you have internal resources, leverage them left, right and center. But if you don't have internal resources, you know, look out and speak out, you'll definitely find between your colleagues, industry seminars, events, webinars, companies like yours. These are the ways you know, you'd find out what's happening in industry because as Sukrit said technologies relevant last year, I keep thinking but from radio to phones to now everything to 5g is just like, every year, the new phone new technology coming in, right? But things are changing really fast. This is a reason you know, we have in house r&d, Innovation Lab across all industries, not just supply chain, we must have an expert people across just one technology 234 so that we can continuously evolve and better serve the client. So do the assessments, use internal resources if you can, and then that will give you an idea or expectation of what's going to happen next five or six years. And if that's positive, I wish you all the best. If not, then consulting is the right approach. I love it. Awesome.

Aaron Conant 54:46

Well Sukrit, Bilal. Thanks for your time today. Thanks for being great friends, partners, supporters to the network. And once again, if anybody needs more information, you want to go through any of those case studies more than happy to connect you over to the Fulcrum Digital Team 100% worth you Half Hour conversation and what they see going on in this space, they come highly recommended for multiple organizations and the network as a whole. So where do you encourage anybody, everybody to have a follow up conversation? Once again, thanks Sukrit, Bilal, thanks. Well, thanks, everybody was able to dial in look forward to having you on a future event. Everybody, take care, Stay safe, and we'll be in touch already. Thanks, everybody. Thanks, everyone. Bye

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