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March 31. 2023
Supply Chain Digest Flagship Newsletter


This Week in SCDigest

bullet Are Investments in Supply Chain Technologies not Delivering to Expectations? bullet SCDigest On-Target e-Magazine
bullet Supply Chain Graphic & by the Numbers for the Week bullet New Stock Index

New Chain Cartoon Caption Contest!

bullet Trivia      bullet Feedback
bullet New Expert Column bullet On Demand Videocasts


This Week's Sponsor



New Faculty!

Updated Content for 2023!

Session 5 - Keys to WMS Implementation Success


April 13, 2023


Expert Faculty: Dan Gilmore (Softeon) and Todd Kovi
(Radix Consulting Alliance)


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first thought


Supply Chain Graphic
of the Week


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Show Us Your Supply Chain Wit! See Full Size Cartoon/Enter

Expert Insight

How can a WMS be used for your Micro-Fulfillment Center?


Its Purpose Consists of Bringing the Logistics arm of Your Operation Closer to the Customer and end Consumer


Victoria Cardenas
Strategic Account Executive


Read Now


The Importance of Pre-Shipment Inspections for Supply Chain Diversification



Pre-shipment Inspections can Mean the Difference Between Success and Failure in Today's Competitive Global Market


Viktor Haggstrom
Marketing Content Specialist


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 This Week's SCDigest OnTarget Newsletter

Cartoon, Top SCDigest Stories of the Week

How many miles per gallon does a Class 8 truck achieve?
Answer Found at the
Bottom of the Page


Are Investments in Supply Chain Technologies not Delivering to Expectations?

How often do investments in supply chain technology really deliver the expected results?

That seems to me to be a rather important question, but one for which we have little or no answers. I have some educated guesses, but no lack any facts to point you to.




Perhaps those answering about needing more time were just indicating that it almost always takes longer to get to steady state and positive returns than is laid out in the original plan.

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Feedback here

Of course, it is also almost an impossible question to answer, for a variety of reasons. Let's start with the breadth of what we might consider supply chain technology, everything from mobile robots in distribution centers to demand planning software to deliver drones to digital twins and dozens more.

It seems hard to me to think about the percentage of deployment successes across such a panoply of technologies.

Also challenging: how should "delivering the expected results" really be measured? Is it based purely on whether the ROI calculation used to get the investment approved was reached? Or does it include the more qualitative dimensions, maybe general perceptions of the success or not of a new technology. There can be project drivers that are tough to measure, such as increasing supply chain agility.

So these and other challenges are probably why there is little data on this issue - the success factor. Still, the question is an intriguing one for me and I suspect many of you. I would like to know.

Which is by way of introduction to a recent study by the consultants at PwC, thematically around supply chain digitization, but which included asking 300-plus executives how they saw returns from supply chain technology investments at their companies.

The results are interesting. Just 17% said such investments have delivered the expected results - a very disappointing number. The other 83% cited various factors they believe are most important in why supply chain technology didn't deliver for them as planned, as shown below in a chart from the report.



See Full Size Image


But that 17% number isn't quite right. Another 21% said their investments need some additional time for the implementation to play out.

Which begs a couple of obvious questions. Starting with this: were respondents answering based on just the most recent supply chain technology initiative? The answer about needing more time would seem to imply that to be the case.

Except, even smaller companies may have multiple technology projects going on, maybe warehouse robots and a Transportation Management System (TMS). A large firm may have many initiatives in parallel.

So I am not sure. Perhaps those answering about needing more time were just indicating that it almost always takes longer to get to steady state and positive returns than is laid out in the original plan.

I don't know what the real number is, but I will agree that too high a percentage of supply chain technology projects disappoint.

And just why is that, really?

Critically to me, two of the cited factors are two sides of the same coin: a failure of change management. 10% of respondents cited "Changes to process and ways of working not well defined," while 6% specifically cited the change management factor.

The combined percentage of 16% around change management is probably too low. The never-ending question: we all know the criticality of change management, yet company after company fails to invest sufficiently to deliver project success. Why?

A variety other factors are cited in the chart, such as the 7% who said their companies lacked a framework for tracking the benefits from the investment, and the 9% who said the technology lacks the capabilities really needed to achieve the expected results.

I have a lot more to say on all this, but am going to end it this week right here. Back soon with many more thoughts on supply chain technology ROI. Would welcome your insights as well.

What is your reaction to these thoughts on supply chain tech ROI? Let us know your thought at the Feedback section below.


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On Demand Videocast:

Understanding Distributed Order Management

Highlights from the New "Little Book of Distributed Order Management"

In this outstanding Videocast, we'll discuss DOM, based on the new Little Book of Distributed Order Management, written by our two Videocast presenters.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Satish Kumar, VP Client Services, Softeon

Now Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

The Grain Drain: Large-Scale Grain Port Terminal Optimization

The Constraints and Challenges of Planning and Implementing Port Operations

This videocast will provide a walkthrough of two ways to formulate a MIP, present an example port, and discuss port operations.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Dr. Evan Shellshear, Head of Analytics, Biarri.

Now Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

A Blueprint for WMS Implementation Success

If You Want a Successful WMS Project, You will Find the Blueprint in this Excellent Broadcast

This videocast lays out the keys to ensuring your WMS implementation goes smoothly, involves minimal pain, and accelerates time to value.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Todd Kovi of Radix Consulting and Dinesh Dongre of Softeon.

Now Available On Demand


Feedback will return next week.

How many miles per gallon does a Class 8 truck achieve?

A: 7.24 mpg on average, according to The North American Council for Freight Efficiency

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