Most chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) are failing to fully account for their customers in their current digitalization plans, according to a survey from Gartner, Inc. In fact, while 60% are piloting or planning to implement a digital supply chain twin (DSCT), just 27% were also planning to incorporate a DToC as part of their digital strategy.
“Supply chain leaders understand the importance of the customer in their physical supply chains, but most have not yet translated this lesson to the digital realm,” says Beth Coppinger, senior director analyst in Gartner’s Supply Chain Practice. “The opportunity for transformational benefits from a digital twin of the customer far exceeds the potential that most supply chain leaders see today. A digital supply chain twin that includes a digital twin of the customer can account for changing customer behaviors under a variety of conditions and support the growth plans of the organization.”
From Gartner Inc.:
- The survey data indicates a lack of recognition of the transformative potential of a digital twin of the customer (DToC), a nascent technology that can revolutionize demand forecasting accuracy, vastly improve customer experience and serve as a critical input to enhance the use of AI/ML tools.
- The relatively few CSCOs that are actively engaging in DToC pilots today are using the technology to help shift from a cost-centric and reactive posture to one that is instead proactive and growth-oriented.
- Expected outcomes of the DToC include transforming demand forecast accuracy, increasing responsiveness and improving the customer experience, among other benefits.
- While 52% of supply chain leaders polled viewed artificial intelligence (AI) as an “important and disruptive” technology and 40% indicated the same for digital supply chain twins, that figure dwindled to just 27% for a DToC.
“Continuous collaboration between functions is difficult, but that is what is required for improving customer experience,” says Coppinger. “Chief supply chain officers who are focused on orienting their function towards growth (and not just cost) cannot afford to cede sole responsibility of customer experience to their business partners.”