Legacy infrastructure holding back digital transformation of consumer goods supply chain

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Struggles with the complexity of legacy systems are preventing consumer goods companies from achieving digital supply chain maturity and realising the benefits of end-to-end visibility and real-time access to data, according to research by EVRYTHNG, the Internet of Things Smart Products Platform.

More than half (56 percent) of consumer product manufacturers surveyed by EVRYTHNG at the Internet of Supply Chain Business Conference identified the challenge of integrating complex legacy systems across their supply chain network as "highly significant." As a result, businesses increasingly struggle to bring together data from across their fragmented supply networks, evidenced by the EVRYTHNG research, which found that "real-time visibility from the factory to the consumer" was the poorest rated of current capabilities (2 out of 5).

Tellingly, the survey found that this real-time product visibility is the biggest driver for consumer goods companies pursuing digital transformation of their supply chain operations. At the same time, global brand owners clearly have some way to go, with only six percent of respondents identifying their digital supply chain efforts as "ecosystem-connected," the highest level of maturity, and more than one-third (39 percent) admitted to being at the lowest stage of maturity.

In spite of the significant obstacles they are clearly facing, EVRYTHNG CEO and co-founder Niall Murphy believes it is encouraging to see consumer goods companies recognizing the value of end-to-end supply chain visibility and real-time data access: "Product manufacturers and brands are now competing on a global basis with digitally-native, insights-led businesses such as Amazon and Apple. Real-time data is everything, with full instrumentation of the supply chain end to end. Achieving this capability is a survival issue," he said.

"Siloed legacy systems are a barrier to achieving the kind of end-to-end visibility that enables companies to understand their supply chain and product lifecycles inside-out and compete at the top table. Smart products and smart packaging with data management in the cloud is the game-changer. From shoes to jackets, champagne bottles to shaving foam canisters, physical products can now be part of interconnected ecosystems enabled by the web through active digital identities in the cloud. Combined with these digital product identities, open standards and the ubiquity of smartphones make vital data available at all times, outside of IT systems and enterprise walls."

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