Democratization empowers employees to have access to specialized skills and knowledge across all facets of an organization. As transparency and traceability remain top trends, enterprise leaders need to act on this trend to meet these critical organizational goals. Technology that all staff members can utilize will help mitigate risks in decision-making and processes, creating a level of opaqueness that gets passed on to the customer. Democratization may include customers, business partners, corporate executives, salespeople, assembly line or factory workers, and IT professionals. It connects participants across the entire value chain to ensure that there is one source of truth across every aspect of the supply chain.
Why do Supply Chains Need Democratization?
Democratization also provides universal access to technology to improve people’s skills and create and execute their ideas. These types of multi-experience software collect information about users and their behaviors, which leads to transparency on how they use data and decisions get made. Cloud-based software is the solution that allows companies to democratize their tech stack across all supply chain participants.
Transparency also needs to be a corporate attitude based on building consumer trust. Direct-to-consumer or online businesses, now more than ever, need to protect that customer trust, especially as this is their only connection to the end purchaser. Supply chain transparency is critical, especially where complex supply chains make it difficult for consumers or end-users to validate product information. Examples include fake fashion goods, pharmaceuticals, or food quality. Technology is critical to help manage the complexities across the entire network while collecting and analyzing the data across every stage. Traceability and clarity around the workflows can impact an organization substantially if there is any doubt or question around business activities or product claims.
How Cloud-Based SCM Software Supports Democratization
Cloud technologies that are geographically limitless make it very easy for information to be shared across a supply chain and can be done in real-time at any point during the workflow. Ensuring that the software implemented in an organization has a simple UX/UI, is mobile-first, simple to use, and includes robust data analytics and reporting is essential to get value across all experience levels.
How to Implement
Corporate leadership must be responsible for introducing technology to increase transparency and traceability to manage social, legal, and commercial risks. Due to the previous misuse of data, missing or inaccurate information, or disconnected data flows, there is a trust crisis in technology. Leadership teams will need to be transparent with their employees and external shareholders during implementation as part of their change management plan.
The first step is to audit the status of your current tech stack and business. Are there processes that are based on legacy technologies, and are there quick wins for automation? Identify your pain points and analyze how employees spend their time. It is important to remember that this needs to be a step-wise transition and implemented in phases. The outcome will be an organization that breaks down the boundaries of hierarchy and unlocks employees’ freedom to be innovative.
Let’s take a look at a company that embraced technology democratization from its early days. Founded in 2011, Everlane is a technology-enabled fashion retailer committed to sustainability, quality, and transparency. As a tech-first brand, the leadership team at Everlane focused on building an innovative and customer-focused experience both online and offline. Everlane was using Dropbox for their file organization. As a fast-paced e-commerce brand, they regularly added designs and products and collaborated with designers in different parts of the country. Dropbox quickly became a tool that could not scale with the company’s needs. When they implemented a tool to help them collaborate in real-time on the entire process, they lifted the silos that prevented them from moving nimbly and making decisions more efficiently.
Businesses must embrace the next digital revolution wave in supply chain management software to remain relevant with their customers and employees. Democratized access allows organizations to scale more efficiently while also creating a more transparent relationship with internal and external stakeholders.