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Unlocking end-to-end digital fulfillment

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Agile supply chains deliver a seamless experience

Customers now expect more from their purchasing experience. Exceeding these expectations could require an agile supply value chain—one made possible through digital supply networks.

BEFORE the advent of digital technologies, fulfillment was largely an exercise in “sell and replenish” for companies. Now, Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, and robotics have given rise to digital supply networks (DSNs), which are transforming static, linear supply chains into an interconnected ecosystem of nodes that dynamically shape the planning, production, and distribution of products.1 At the same time, customers are expecting more from how they make purchases and engage with their value chain partners: more individualized products, more transparency in price and process, and personalized services delivered at a faster pace.2 Meeting and exceeding these new customer expectations may require an agile supplier value chain, one that can only be attained through a complex network of DSN nodes working in concert. For organizations and customers alike, DSNs are ushering in a new era of digital fulfillment.

However, as every response in a DSN is connected to countless other end points, digital fulfillment takes more than a single team or functional process simply “going digital” (see the sidebar, “The technologies behind digital fulfillment”). For every digital solution to fully reach its potential, it typically requires integration across the entire user experience. As such, fulfillment is evolving from a series of siloed functions into a synchronized activity, one that is seamless and transparent, and adjusts in real time, dependent on every facet of the organization getting it right (see figure 1).

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