Adapting to a Digital Supply Chain

Adapting to a Digital Supply Chain

This piece was originally published in the December 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Privacy is a significant concern in the digital supply chain, according to a panel that included (from left) Michael Steep, David Burns, Debora Fronczak, and Brian Tessier.

In a lively discussion about the future supply chain, Michael Steep, executive director of Stanford Engineering Center for Disruptive Technology and Digital Cities, moderated a panel of experts from NEMA Member companies who are trailblazers in adopting the digital supply chain. They included David Burns, senior vice president and chief information officer, manufacturing and supply chain, GE; Debora Fronczak, vice president, 3M Engineering; and Brian Tessier, vice president of innovation, global supply chain transformation, Schneider Electric.

Noting that people don’t understand how much private data is in the supply chain, the panel emphasized the need to change corporate culture before companies can begin to manage the data.

According to Mr. Tessier, solving privacy issues is a secondary process. “The bigger challenge is to drive the cultural change rather than the technology,” he said.

Ms. Fronczak agreed, adding the need for standards in creating a culture in which people can innovate. “We balance speed of adoption with probability of success,” she said.

Mr. Burns sees the pace of change getting faster in the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) worlds. “We need to become more nimble across the board,” he said, noting that “we live in uncertain times in regulated environments.”

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