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Enabling connected, autonomous and self-orchestrating supply chains

In the past year or so, disruption led to supply chains unchaining their linear operations.  Extreme weather conditions, global health crises, trade disputes and the Suez Canal blockage have resulted in supply shortages and unexpected fluctuations in consumer demand across product portfolios and channels.

There has also been a significant shift in consumer behaviour and expectations, forcing enterprises to raise the bar on supply chain agility, efficiency and resilience, especially across consumer-facing and B2B segments.

Consumers today conduct online research on a product, its origin and quality, demand product personalisation and buy products across multiple channels. Along with transparency around order status and delivery, they also expect near-instant order fulfilment and are at the same time concerned about supply chain sustainability.

In the face of this continuing volatility, rapid evolution of digital technologies is impacting every aspect of an enterprise — from creating digitally connected products and services to gathering real-time data across the supply chain using advanced analytics and algorithms to better simulate and predict multiple supply chain scenarios and foster data-driven decision making.

Enterprises on their part are looking to transform their supply chains to balance efficiency with resilience in order to succeed in the increasingly digital marketplace. Supply chains are becoming more ‘connected’ and integrated with multiple value chain partners in the ecosystem. They’re becoming not just automated but also autonomous — equipped to act with limited human intervention — and eventually able to self-orchestrate.

PwC’s global thought paper, Connected and autonomous supply chain ecosystems 2025 shows that some companies stand out as ‘Digital Supply Chain Champions’. These organisations, aligned with the vision of connected, autonomous and self-orchestrating supply chains, have embarked on a digital transformation journey by implementing a wide range of advanced technologies, developing AI-driven digital capabilities and upskilling their employees. Their investments in this connected and autonomous supply chain transformation have enabled them to outperform their peers, with 8% higher revenue growth and 7% lower costs.

As enterprises embark on their digital supply chain transformation journey, we have assisted a few of them across capability areas to raise the bar on agility and resilience and manage supply chain risks to build trust and deliver sustained outcomes:

Supply chain transparency and visibility

Our Supply Chain Resilience solution, which develops a digital twin for the supply chain with simulation-at-scale capability to assess supply chain risks, enabled a leading pharma player to improve the resilience of its inbound supply chain.

Closed-loop and integrated planning

This involves synchronising planning with real-time execution, integrating supply chain partners and continuous optimisation. Our Integrated Supply Chain Planning Transformation solution enabled a leading auto component player to build a connected supply chain ecosystem with its suppliers and customers while optimising working capital and logistics cost by 8–10% and improving on-time delivery.

Smart logistics flow

Our Logistics Transformation solution enabled a leading consumer durables player to improve visibility of product flow and optimise logistics costs by 5–7%. The solution also improved service levels, governance and controls, and reduced the carbon footprint of the supply chain significantly, ensuring sustained outcomes.

Network strategy

Many global and India-headquartered organisations are now reimagining their supply chain network strategy of the future. With India having become an attractive alternative for global supply chains looking to build resilience, such organisations can take advantage of the substantial fiscal benefits, Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes and other Make in India related initiatives.

Digital procurement transformation

This involves transforming strategic and operational procurement processes using an appropriate operating model and integrating digital capabilities. Our experience shows that organisations committed to this journey leverage strategic value drivers to optimise material spends, improve service levels and make faster decisions while maintaining compliance and control.

Our supply chain solution for a leading consumer goods player across indirect categories enabled by market-leading solutions has delivered cost efficiencies of 12–15% with significant improvements in productivity and service levels, simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of the supply chain. Besides, our Procurement Analytics solution also has the ability to assess the impact of taxes on the cost of material and services and compliance gaps to enable organisations to unlock substantial value.

The value delivered through the appropriate deployment of our solutions has been further enhanced by an analysis of the tax consequences both from the perspectives of direct and indirect taxes. Optimisation of working capital and logistics costs resulted in a favourable bottom-line impact. This required a comprehensive check of the existing profit split in the value chain and re-allocation of the same based on changes in the functional profile of participating related entities. This was achieved by way of our approach to value chain analyses from a transfer pricing perspective.

Procurement solutions that have made the procurement function a value driver have required possible modification to the arm’s-length compensation. Free-trade agreements at this juncture have occupied an important space in the overall analysis and their evaluation has helped in not only keeping the value of the delivered outcomes intact but also further enhancing it, wherever possible.

Similarly, digital-led solutions have necessitated evaluation of value accretion to the current intellectual property basket, thereby re-emphasising the need for transfer pricing analysis. The full potential for our integrated planning solution has been achieved by plugging any potential GST-related tax credit leakages. These levers emphasise the need to integrate tax considerations at the outset in order to make optimal supply-chain related decisions.

These solutions then are applicable across the areas of strategy, sustainability and resilience, integrated planning transformation, procurement transformation, logistics transformation and control tower. Further integrated with a tax impact analysis and aligned with our global strategy, The New Equation, the solutions enable organisations to optimise costs and working capital, improve revenues while ensuring resilience, transparency and compliance to build trust and deliver sustained outcomes for a better crisis-agnostic tomorrow.

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Ajay Nair

Ajay Nair

Leader, Supply Chain Transformation, PwC India