The Digital Supply Chain Challenge

The Digital Supply Chain Challenge

Breaking Through

IMD International, 2020 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Applicable
  • For Experts


Experts Ralf Seifert and Richard Markoff report that supply chain management is undergoing a rapid evolution. Today’s supply chain leaders must engage in more comprehensive and tech-savvy business planning and execution. With the rise of e-commerce and supply chain digitalization (SCD), they have to manage vast amounts of data as well as extract data their companies can use to develop and promote future products. The authors’ collection of telling case studies will engage anyone managing supply chains and the shift to digitalization. Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution: Industry 4.0.


The role and status of the supply chain executive has changed.

Traditionally, supply chain executives managed available capital and day-to-day operating expenses. They kept operations running like clockwork and made sure that their investors and customers were content.

Supply chain management has been changing for years. The prominence of manufacturing on a contract basis gives small businesses more options and changes their economic calculus. In addition, companies often employ outsiders to provide logistics. Supply chain managers’ concerns have, thus, moved away from being hands-on in areas such as storage and transportation, and toward direct business issues. Today, supply chain professionals deal with customer relations and large-scale corporate strategy.

E-commerce’s swift rise marks another change. E-commerce consumers can engage with stores, with online outlets like Amazon and with brands themselves. They can shop on a variety of digital devices and choose the delivery methods they prefer. With supply chain digitalization, companies now expect supply chain leaders to manage consumer relationships, ...

About the Authors

Ralf W. Seifert is a professor of operations management at IMD Business School and director of the Digital Supply Chain Management program. Richard Markoff was L’Oréal’s first global supply chain standards director.

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