The road to digital and decarbonized supply chain management

By Christian Wendt

Logistics is undergoing a process of profound change. The industry must reinvent itself to satisfy the varied demands placed on it by customers, by new legislation, and by society as a whole. Protect the climate, streamline processes, boost supply chain resilience: How do you reconcile this threefold mandate without getting overwhelmed, and how do you implement the necessary changes to achieve a harmonious result?

Completely rethink and restructure your supply chain

Businesses need to thoroughly rethink and restructure their supply chains if they hope to meet current and future challenges. The first step is to redefine strategy and network. This means making procurement, inbound logistics, and outbound logistics sustainable—in every respect. And this in turn makes it essential to integrate various disciplines.

Redesign supply processes

Several factors need to be considered when redesigning supply processes. You need to optimize transports and inventories while electrifying transports and cutting scope 3 emissions. The last point is certainly the most difficult, since scope 3 emissions are those that occur outside of your company. But this is also typically where the greatest potential savings are to be found.

Embrace digital technology

Digital technology is essential to achieving these objectives. It accelerates processes, creates visibility, and makes it possible to plan in unimagined depths while delivering the flexibility needed to respond to change as successfully as possible. This includes electronic procurement, digital collaboration with suppliers, simulation-based planning, and warehouses with down-to-the-minute scheduling tools. It goes without saying that sales, procurement, logistics, and production all need to be on the same page in their digital strategy.

Start as early as possible

For best results, start as early in the chain as possible, before logistics even comes into play, with the product design. Software tools like the Supply Chain Suite let you evaluate existing processes and simulate alternative scenarios, optimizing your entire material flow with an eye on cost, service, and sustainability outcomes.

Permanently transform the supply chain

Digital transformation yields a sustainable supply chain. If you want to systematically electrify your transports, for example, use various planning and evaluation tools to set objectives and pinpoint the steps you need to achieve them. The digital twin lets you craft a detailed virtual plan of action without any effect on your real-world logistics network. It lets you scrutinize your production and transport processes to discover possible risks—and potential optimizations—at the earliest possible moment so that you can avert the risks and seize on the optimizations.

Optimize planning with a diverse toolbox

Modern digital technology offers a powerful toolbox to prepare your business for any uncertainties and deal with current circumstances as successfully as possible. It lets you test the feasibility of warehouse and material handling concepts, check throughput scenarios with just a few clicks, optimize your consumption of energy and resources, and resolve bottlenecks with unprecedented speed. You benefit from highly robust performance in the face of variable load scenarios and shifting order structures.

Make greener decisions

Are you interested in making greener decisions at the operational level? Tools such as Digital Rate Card Management can help you by cutting through the tangle of standardized agreements you have in place with your providers and delivering clarity. Use stored rate tables to analyze transports before placing an order, and compare freight rates in seconds. You can even run direct comparisons of emissions, lead times, and cost to find the best solution for every transport scenario.

Interested in achieving the perfect balance of digital transformation and decarbonization in your supply chain? The experts at Siemens Digital Logistics are standing by to help you!

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at