Blog: 3 Insights to Help Your Supply Chain Craft a Digital Transformation Strategy

September 3, 2020 Ivy Davis

In more ways than one, 2020 has been a disruption. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted countless lives and businesses, but alongside all of the hardships lies the opportunity to develop and implement a successful digital transformation strategy for your company.

With employees working remotely and businesses operating at an unusual pace, it is more critical than ever to take some time to explore how a successful digital transformation can create operational efficiencies. To help illustrate the benefits of thoughtful digital transformation strategies, DiCentral recently spoke to Raj Sultanian, a Partner with Tiny Turnip, LLC, a licensed Major League Baseball apparel manufacturer.

Sultanian is responsible for various business operations, strategy, finance, legal, and compliance tasks.  Before joining Tiny Turnip, he held multiple senior roles in the private equity and financial services industry, where he was instrumental in developing and implementing several successful digital transformation strategies.

In a recent webinar DiCentral hosted, Sultanian shared some key insights into the necessary steps towards a successful digital transformation. 

1. Identifying Inefficiencies Leads to Growth

A growth-oriented mindset lies at the center of successful digital transformation. Digitization, in general, is occupying a larger and larger percentage of business leaders’ mindshare, as evidenced by the fact that “worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable the digital transformation (DX) of business practices, products, and organizations is forecast to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023.” Digitization is no longer optional, and putting off your company’s digital transformation initiatives will make it harder to increase revenue and scale growth. 

This is something that Tiny Turnip has experienced firsthand. As orders increased, Tiny Turnip worked to create efficiencies to manage growth without increasing spend.

“Let’s say our current team could handle 200 orders a month,” Sultanian explained. “If we wanted that number to be 2000, would that mean a 10x increase in the number of employees we had?” Sultanian and the Tiny Turnip discovered that the answer was no. “After we looked a bit deeper into our processes, we realized that it was possible to double sales without doubling the size of our team, and the key to that was technology.”

Instead of spending hours manually entering orders, Tiny Turnip was able to create an integration that allowed them to take their inventory, export it into a machine-readable format, and upload it anywhere they needed to with just a single click. According to Sultanian, “This allowed us to launch around 20,000 SKUs for our customers, which is something that would’ve taken weeks to accomplish if it had been done manually.”

By developing and implementing an automation strategy into its business processes, Tiny Turnip was able to transform its time-consuming manual process into a successful digital transformation initiative that effectively increased orders by 7x.

2. Set Realistic Goals for Your Automated Processes 

When Tiny Turnip was exploring digital transformation tools and strategies, they started by asking one question: “what’s our goal?” For Tiny Turnip, that goal was to grow and scale their retail presence. Connecting inventory management systems to automation is smart, but if there isn’t a driving goal behind that integration, it won’t likely reach its full potential. 

By leveraging DiCentral’s hybrid integration platform, Tiny Turnip was able to automate the process of integrating orders into QuickBooks Online and automate invoice transmissions. This helped to accelerate the order-to-cash process and improve cash flow. 

If you’re not sure what kind of goals your automation strategy or digital transformation tool should have, there are a few things you can do to help you get started:

  1. Talk to your retail customers. Are you satisfactorily achieving order timelines and accuracy? Can you provide order and shipping visibility that they can relay to their consumer base?
  2. Talk to your end consumer. What do they want from their shopping experience? What do they want to see improved? What are you currently doing that your customers want to see more of? 
  3. Evaluate the competition. Pay attention to how they’re engaging and serving their customers. Remember that your customers are probably shopping there, so be on the lookout for anything the competition is doing better (or worse) than you and let that information drive the digital transformation goals you set.

3. Pay Attention to the Changing Priorities of Your Consumers

In the same way that successful digital transformation relies on identifying internal inefficiencies and implementing the right tools, it also requires a consumer-centric focus. To ensure the continuation of operations during periods of disruption, make sure you’re plugged into consumer priorities.

For Tiny Turnip, that meant doubling down on customer service. Thanks to the automation strategy and digital transformation tools it took advantage of, the company enabled its primary retail customer to relay order and shipping tracking to their end-consumers. In a period of uncertainty, consumers want service they can rely on. Having identified the inefficiencies in their process, the Tiny Turnip team was equipped to respond accordingly and develop a digital solution that provided customers with the service they needed

And to reiterate the statistics outlined above, addressing consumer needs paid off!

Successful digital transformation is a multifaceted, ongoing, and iterative process. Modern supply chains are operating in an unprecedented environment, which has accelerated the need to follow digitization and automation. Thoroughly assess your internal operations, identify what digital tools are needed to accommodate consumer and employee needs, attach goals to the implementation of those tools and integrations, and make sure those goals are informed by consumer priorities. 

To hear more about the digital transformation strategies Raj Saltanian and Tiny Turnip implemented, including a deeper dive into how they leveraged integrations to unlock data across the enterprise, sign up to access the recorded webinar.

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