Digital supply chain officers are busy adopting the latest digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital twin of the customer (DToC).
But many supply executives seemingly are ignoring the most important partner in the process, the customer, says research firm Gartner Inc.
Gartner recently surveyed 380 supply chain executives about their use of budding technology, including only newly emerging applications such as digital twin of the customer that, once implemented, improves forecasting accuracy for the customer purchase experience. Digital twin of the customer applications also enhance the use of AI and machine learning (ML) tools, Gartner says.
But the survey found that while 60% of respondents are piloting or plan to implement a digital supply chain twin (DSCT), just 27% were also planning to incorporate a DToC as part of their digital strategy.
Digital twin of the customer (DToC)
DToC can serve as a virtual mirror representation of a customer that simulates and learns to emulate and anticipate behavior, Gartner says. But the few supply chain officers that are actively engaging in DToC pilots today are using the technology to help shift from a cost-centric and reactive posture to one that is instead proactive and growth-oriented.
“Supply chain leaders understand the importance of the customer in their physical supply chains,” says Beth Coppinger, senior research director and analyst at Gartner. “But most have not yet translated this lesson to the digital realm. The opportunity for transformational benefits from a digital twin of the customer far exceeds the potential that most supply chain leaders see today. A digital supply chain twin that includes a digital twin of the customer can account for changing customer behaviors under a variety of conditions and support the growth plans of the organization.”
There is a lack of awareness of the transformational benefits of a DToC as compared to other emerging technologies, Gartner says. While 52% of supply chain leaders polled viewed AI as an “important and disruptive” technology and 40% indicated the same for digital supply chain twins, that figure dwindled to just 27% for a DToC, according to the survey.
Beyond perceptions, supply chain leaders pointed to a lack of digitalization skills, concerns about customer trust and data privacy regulations as the top barriers for adopting a DToC.
“Chief supply chain officers who are focused on orienting their function towards growth (and not just cost) cannot afford to cede sole responsibility of customer experience to their business partners,” Coppinger says.
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