Supply Chain Managers Require “Building Blocks,” says E2open
December 10, 2013 - SCMR Editorial
“Rethinking the Building Blocks of the Modern Supply Chain,” a recently-published white paper produced by E2open, posits the question: How do you manage demand you can’t predict with supply you don’t control?
According to senior company executives, collaborative execution can help supply chain managers “commit with confidence.”
“With changing markets, volatile demand, and a deep dependence on partners who can only be indirectly managed by contracts and influence, brand owners need constant access to timely, complete information,” says Michael Schmitt, chief marketing officer, E2open.
He added that supply chain managers need the ability to plan and see across the network and work collaboratively with partners to resolve the frequent disruptions that can hinder the achievement of customer service and margin goals.
“Unfortunately, enabling technologies for visibility, management, and decision support in this network environment has not kept pace. As result, supply chain professionals struggle to make decisions based on information that is fragmented across their network of partners,” he says.
Sean Rollings, E2open’s vice President, product marketing, concurs, noting that they want a “single source of truth” so that they can make better decisions faster.
“This requires a convergence of analytics,” he says. “This will take the latency out of the supply chain.”
The whitepaper maintains that better information always equals better decisions; but incomplete, inaccurate, or untimely information can be worse than useless—it can be actively damaging.
The authors note that demand volatility is a perfect case in point. In this environment, success hinges on the ability of the entire trading partner network, not just the brand owner, to reliably and cost-effectively manage demand volatility.
One of the chief conclusions is that supply chain managers should have Cloud connectivity with their trading partners. This provides real-time data put in the context of harmonized business processes and made visible and actionable through concurrent computations.
Schmitt told SCMR in an interview that this connectivity will help supply chain managers in telecom and other high-tech industries build and maintain a solid “control tower.”
Rollings says emerging markets are increasingly becoming a “testing ground” for this strategy.
“We are operating in an ‘omni-channel’ world now,” he adds. “This ‘building blocks’ paper explains how managers are adapting to those challenges.”
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