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Discrete Manufacturing

The Story of Olympus’ Digital Transformation Journey

Gain insights from the digital transformation journey of
an optical and digital precision technology manufacturer.

The Takeaways:

1. Olympus has shifted to become a global company with functional and divisional leadership structures. This shift was complex as Olympus had more than 25 manufacturing plants, 40 ERP systems, 90 entities around the globe, and thousands of suppliers managed regionally.

2. The shift required the company to redefine its supply chain, deciding it must fulfill three roles: orchestrator, risk manager, and enabler. Fulfilling these roles required integration, transparency, having the right data and systems, and reacting faster to changes, leading Olympus to embark on a supply chain transformation journey.

3. The company took several initiatives to set itself up for transformation success. First, they integrated manufacturing, procurement, planning, and distribution functions to report to a single executive officer. Second, they moved the regional functions to one global function. Third, they implemented centers of excellence (CoEs) to enable the company to build the right capabilities, technologies, and processes.

4. Some key learnings from Olympus’ digital transformation journey were the importance of change management, balancing external expertise with internal capabilities, and constant communication. They also shared the transformation’s progress through town halls, office hours, and monthly newsletters.

5. The pandemic emphasized the importance of a resilient and adaptable supply chain and reducing costs. It also paved the way for the supply chain organization to gain the leadership team’s commitment to the transformation, with an understanding of how it would enable the company to be better prepared for disruptions.

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Digital Transformation Journey
Nico Nuerbchen

Sr. VP, Global Supply Chain Mgmt. at Olympus

Stephan de Barse

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