Shor t Takes
supply chains and requires a fundamental rethink of the
concepts of supply chain management and supply chain
strategy. We call that supply chain reinvention.
Consulting: What are some of the biggest challenges
clients are facing in managing their supply chains
and coping with the technology influx?
Steinberg: Many enterprises, especially the large
multinationals, are really struggling. Some are
restricted by legacy asset base, a lot of them don’t
know where to start with all of this digital innovation.
They know there’s a risk of being marginalized by
the next disruptive innovation. I tell them there’s no
silver bullet here from a digital innovation perspective.
You’ve got to focus on solving the real business
problem and then apply the right combination of
digital technologies, which is likely to encompass AI,
robots, additive manufacturing, mobile, blockchain,
augmented reality, cloud, or other technology.
Consulting: How do companies avoid the “shiny object
syndrome” in making those decisions?
Steinberg: It’s all about focusing on the business
problem. I see a lot of companies doing prototypes and
proof of concepts, and then they don’t scale it quickly,
they just jump from proof of concept to proof of concept
where they don’t really get the value. So focus on the
problems that, once addressed, can drive the most value
and then do the proof of concept, but quickly scale it, and
have a plan to scale. That’s what we’re helping clients do.
Consulting: Are you seeing a lot of engagements
Steinberg: We are. But it really does start with
what’s the purpose of your business; what’s your
supply chain strategy. We created this supply chain
reinvention framework to help our clients navigate
the complexity with confidence. It’s complex, moving
from a linear supply chain to a networked value chain.
There are four layers to it. There’s a supply chain
intelligence layer, which of course is the end-to-end
supply chain visibility. There’s then the strategic
architecture of your supply chain, which needs to be
completely looked at given the convergence of events.
What gets done regionally, locally, globally, what’s
your trade flow. The third layer is around operational
excellence, and then of course around supply chain
resilience. Embedded within it, we’ve built five
strategic solutions we bring to clients. Clients are
getting tired of PowerPoint, tired of big studies that
end up on a bookshelf. We’ve purposefully built our
supply chain practice with asset-backed solutions, so
we bring something to the table. And that seems to be
resonating all over the globe with our clients.
Consulting: Is this technological wave something
companies can just wait out?
Steinberg: No, you cannot sit this one out. Just look
at the largest hotelier in the world, they don’t own a
hotel—Airbnb. Look at the largest taxi service in the
world; they don’t own any cars—Uber. This requires
partnerships, being connected. This interconnected
society we’re in requires everyone to be connected and
working with partnerships. EY included, consultancies
included. Any consultancy that says they have
everything and anything a client could need—
one-stop shop, all in-house—they’re not being honest with
their clients. It’s moving too fast, there are too many
different technologies out there.
I WOULD SAY THE
FUTURE BELONGS TO THE
CONNECTED IN THIS WORLD,
POWERED BY IOT AND FUELED
BY THE DATA IN A FULLY INTERCONNECTED SOCIETY.