Advanced automation can substantially transform how supply chain functions operate. But like any significant process change, it’s not always obvious how to adopt automation into the organization. Each supply chain is unique, and so is its automation journey. Yours may have a lot of simple processes that easily lend themselves to automation, for example, while another must tackle more complexity right off the bat.

With the right time, commitment, and support in place, you can progress along a maturity path that ultimately leads to autonomous supply chain decision-making—with numerous benefits to be enjoyed along the way. These key best practices help set your organization on the right foot.

  1. Take Care with Change Management. Any shift in how things get done requires change management, but the term automation comes with some extra baggage that must be addressed to ensure successful adoption. Six out of 10 workers globally are worried that automation is putting jobs at risk, and 39% think their job will be obsolete within five years, according to the firm PwC. It’s critical that employees understand that the goal isn’t necessarily to create a lights-out, people-free supply chain planning process. Rather, it’s about identifying areas where automation can drive significant value for the organization, augmenting human decision making to stay ahead of the accelerating pace of business. Senior leadership should convey this message and make it clear the organization is committed to greater automation, and align goals and incentives with increasing its use.
  2. Build Trust. Users develop trust in automation when it produces reliable, helpful results. Identify best-fit early use cases, and verify the outputs of automation of these processes through more traditional means to overcome skepticism. Evangelizing those wins across the organization increases confidence in the data, which in turn strengthens the case for increasing use to inform business strategies and responses. Consulting firm OliverWyman suggests making trust-building a responsibility of those who are also leading the charge on increasing use of AI and automation.
  3. Leverage a Digital Supply Chain Twin to establish an environment where you can see what might happen as a result of a given decision, such as how it ripples across the supply chain ecosystem, before actually enacting that activity in the real world. It’s essential to keep it continually updated with data from the real-world supply chain, so outputs are accurate and relevant. Supply chain managers can use the digital twin to run scenario analysis such as post-mortems and pre-season planning to model potential outcomes. 
  4. Adopt an Automation-friendly Supply Chain Platform. It’s important for the platform to incorporate automation, as well as enable your organization to mature through the awareness, augmentation, automation, and autonomous stages of automation maturity, so you can move at the pace that makes the most sense for you. John Galt Solutions’ Atlas Planning Platform contains all the building blocks you need to begin leveraging automation throughout your supply chain planning processes, and incorporates built-in best practices to make the process flow more smoothly. Our expert professional services team and our Pathways to Evolve digital transformation guides are in place to help you course  your best path forward, so you can level up your automation maturity in the way that makes the most sense for your needs. 

According to Gartner, leveraging automation means “supply chains can tap into the massive and growing amounts of data that exists in global supply chains that can only be understood and acted upon with the assistance of technology.” It’s important to get started and leverage automation to drive decisions at the pace of change. Ensuring a solid foundation is key to making sure your initiatives go the distance. Check out this white paper to learn more about automating your supply chain.