How Document Digitization Reshapes Supply Chains

by | Published on Jan 24, 2024 | Document Conversion / Scanning Services

Supply chains play a crucial role in the seamless flow of goods and services across the globe. The integration of digital technologies in the supply chain is bringing about a transformation in how businesses operate and collaborate within their supply networks. With the support of document digitization services, the once labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks of handling physical documents are giving way to a digital revolution in supply chain management. From enhanced visibility and real-time decision-making to improved collaboration and sustainability, digitizing the supply chain allows businesses to gain a comprehensive view of their operations and make informed decisions.

What is Supply Chain Digitization?
The supply chain comprises a series of interconnected processes that facilitate the creation and delivery of products or services to final customers. It typically includes sourcing, product development, manufacturing, logistics, and distribution, till the product reaches the end user.

Supply chain management involves the strategic planning and oversight of every aspect. Digitizing the supply chain refers to moving from traditional, paper-based processes and manual workflows into digital formats, allowing for the online management of various aspects of the supply chain.

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Benefits of Digitizing the Supply Chain
Supply chain digital transformation is proven to mitigate supply chain risk and optimize supply chain cost, according to Gartner. A study titled The Impact of Digital Transformation on Supply Chain Capabilities and Supply Chain Competitive Performance published in MDPI (June, 2023) noted the significant role of digital transformation in enhancing supply chain capabilities. Effective coordination, collaboration, and communication among different entities within a supply chain-referred to as supply chain competitive performance-enables organizations to achieve better performance, enhance customer satisfaction, and maintain competitiveness in the fast-paced business environment

Supply Chain Document Digitization – A Data-driven Management Approach

Digitizing a supply chain involves the transformation of traditional, paper-based processes and manual workflows into digital formats, allowing for the online management of various aspects of the supply chain. Digitalization enables an information and data-driven approach in the supply chain management.

The COVID-19 pandemic called attention to the importance of supply chain digitalization. By moving various aspects of the supply chain online, digitization increases efficiency, saves money, and improves agility, improving the overall performance and resilience of a business. This shift involves leveraging information technology and digital tools to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and improve overall visibility and communication within the supply chain ecosystem.

Here’s how document digitization enables different aspects of a supply chain to move online:

Document Digitization

Lowers procurement and process costs, and improves accuracy and customer satisfaction
According to Center for Global Enterprise (CGE) research, a digital supply chain can lower procurement costs by 20%, reduce supply chain process costs by 50%, and increase revenue by 10%. A digital supply chain is customer-centric. It can provide the organization with the real-time visibility that is needed to deliver a superior customer experience.

Makes the supply chain more adaptive and efficient
Digitization offers greater transparency, making the supply chain more forward-looking, adaptive and effective.

Aligns seamlessly with the capabilities of the Internet of Things
A well-functioning and up-to-date supply chain now relies on the incorporation of IoT technologies to optimize processes, enhance efficiency, and enable better decision-making. Digital documents, combined with IoT-generated data, can be analyzed using advanced analytics tools to derive actionable insights, supporting data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement in the supply chain.

Promotes data-driven planning through data visualization
The traditional paper-based approach limits visibility into the status of physical documents and their movement within the supply chain. Digital tracking and monitoring enable enhanced visibility into the status and location of documents at every stage of the supply chain, improving transparency and traceability.

Improves collaboration
It can be challenging to share and collaborate on physical documents, especially in a global supply chain. With digitization, documents can be easily shared and collaborated on in real time, fostering improved communication and coordination among supply chain partners and stakeholders.

Helps build strong, more trusting relationships with the suppliers
Businesses need to pay their suppliers on time or even early in order to build and maintain the relationships with them. Digitization makes it much easier to pay on time, every time, driving strong, more trusting relationships, less supplier turnover, and few resources wasted on procurement.

Helps in data retention and security
Through the digitization of the supply chain, comprehensive data on every interaction, encompassing invoice timelines, approval statuses, and prior payments, can be efficiently archived for future reference. This helps eliminate wasted time and money searching for proof of payment. The data can also provide unparalleled insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your company and its supplier relationships, when analyzed properly.

Drives sustainability
Eliminating paper invoices helps organizations not only save on the paper itself, but also decrease their carbon footprint by moving more corporate systems online, including supply chain management. Digital communication and information exchange is an essential element of increasing sustainability throughout a supply chain. Research by Open Text, a global leader in Information Management, found that the increasing focus on supply chains is key to the successful environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts in many organizations (

Digitize Seamlessly — Leverage Outsourced Solutions

Digital transformation directly impacts supply chain capabilities and enhances supply chain competitive performance. Open Text research found that besides reducing paper usage by 50%, digitizing documents delivers many mainstream business benefits such as reduction in overall errors (51%), decrease in manual efforts (49%), and improved forecasting (48%), optimized transportation and improved order-to-settlement processes. As organizations navigate the digital frontier, collaboration with a business process outsourcing company can ensure seamless conversion of physical documents into digital formats, supporting higher levels of productivity and operational excellence in supply chain management.

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