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"Supply Chain Collaboration – The Key to Success in a Global Economy
Learn how you can transform traditional supply chains from linear, sequential processes into adaptive
supply chain networks."
Source : SAP
Supply Chain Collaboration: The Key to Success in a Global Economy
Supply Chain Collaboration is also known as :
Supply Chain Collaboration Business Intelligence,
ERP Supply Chain Collaboration,
Supply Chain Collaboration Strategies,
Supply Chain Strategies,
Measurement Supply Chain Collaboration,
Determinants Supply Chain Collaboration,
Supply Chain Collaboration Solution,
Supply Chain Management,
Supply Chain Management Software,
Supply Chain Software.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: THE NEED FOR COLLABORATION
Because of global competition and the rapid adoption of outsourcing,
today's organizations are operating in a "networked"
business environment. The past decade has witnessed a significant
increase in globalization across all industry segments. As a
result, supply chains have become highly complex, are global in
scope, and include multiple touch points that range from the
handling of raw materials to the delivery of finished goods to the
customer. In this new environment, supply chains must exhibit
a high degree of adaptability, responsiveness, and collaboration.
Organizations are now finding it essential to transform traditional
supply chains from linear, sequential processes into adaptive
supply chain networks in which communities of customercentric,
demand-driven companies share knowledge, intelligently
adapt to changing market conditions, and proactively
respond to shorter, less-predictable life cycles.
Adaptive supply chain networks address an organization's most
pressing supply chain problems, such as the following issues:
- Outsourcing, nearshoring, and offshoring have resulted in
supply networks that require multiple geographically dispersed
partners to bring products and services to market.
- Supply chain risk has increased as lead times have become
longer and more variable because of geographically dispersed
partners who are stretching the supply chain to the limits.
- Reductions in the time available to build products, as well as
customer demand for increasing configuration and delivery
flexibility, are creating intense time-to-market pressure.
- Low-cost manufacturing has gained parity with traditional
suppliers, and high fuel prices are causing companies to look
for ways to lower distribution and transportation costs.
- Shrinking capital availability is forcing companies to streamline
manufacturing and supply operations and build efficiencies,
which are critical to the supply network.
- Customers are armed with information about the real value of
products, which is shrinking customer loyalty and requiring
customer service levels too expensive for companies that are
unable to manage supply chain efficiencies.
Adaptive supply chain networks possess the flexibility to continually
sense and respond to the environment in near real time
without compromising operational and financial efficiencies.
These networks seamlessly connect supply, planning, manufacturing,
and distribution operations to critical enterprise applications
and provide visibility across the supply network, thereby
enabling rapid decision making and optimal execution. Adaptive
supply chain networks are the key to supply chain collaboration.
COLLABORATION AT WORK
Collaboration is a competitive weapon that you can use to
improve business performance. It allows you to establish strategic
partnerships with your suppliers and trading partners in order to
set mutually beneficial goals and share business processes and
information. Collaboration helps drive market share, sales,
and product adoption while maximizing your return on assets
(ROA) and return on investment (ROI).
Successful collaboration relies on the development of mutual
trust between you and your partners, as well as the willingness
to share information that can benefit all the members of your
collaborative team. The goal is to treat all suppliers, outsourcing
partners, customers, and service providers as an extension of
This mutual level of trust is enhanced by putting in place a set
of service-level agreements and associated performance measurement
tools that provide everyone with rapid and accurate feedback
on how well your collaborative efforts are being executed.
For example, the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR)
model provides ready-made performance management functionalities
for monitoring internal performance.
Another approach is the concept of balanced scorecard reporting,
which typically looks at performance from financial,
customer, internal business process, and innovation perspectives.
Key performance indicator (KPI) reporting, based on a set of
predefined metrics that align performance with the objectives
of the other members of the supply chain, can help generate
mutual gains and savings.
Note that almost every industry is experimenting with supply
chain collaboration, creatively adapting the concept to fit its
For example, consumer products and retail companies are implementing
safety stock levels across their entire supply chains.
The idea is to meet a target service level while creating a minimal
necessary amount of safety stock for all intermediate and finished
products at their respective locations. Based on point of
sale (POS) and other information sources, demand intelligence
and demand shaping are helping these companies achieve a new
level of responsive replenishment all the way to the store level.
Collaboration is helping the pharmaceutical and automotive
industries prevent counterfeit products from entering their
supply chains. These collaborative product-tracking and authentication
initiatives are leveraging technologies such as radio
frequency identification (RFID). Pharmacies, for example, are
using RFID to better manage the shelf life of perishable, coded
Companies in the high-tech space are looking to get actual
production visibility beyond traditional purchase-level response,
to better control quality, cost, and availability to improve key
customer service metrics such as customer request date.
Capital equipment and manufacturing companies are looking
to leverage collaboration technologies to extend lean supply
chain principles across the enterprise (for example, extending
electronic kanban processes to suppliers).
Regardless of the industry, we see common themes appearing.
For example, across all industries, supply chain collaboration
operates at the following levels:
At this level, you and your partners make joint decisions on
strategic issues such as the following examples:
- Production capacities
- Product design
- Production facility and fulfillment network expansion
- Portfolio joint marketing
- Pricing plans
This level involves sharing information with your partners on
topics such as the following:
- Production and transportation plans and capacities
- Bills of material (BOMs)
- Product descriptions
- Prices and promotions
- Product and material availability
- Service levels
- Contract terms, such as supply capacity, inventory, and
At this level, you and your partners engage in an integrated
exchange of key transactional data such as the following
- Purchase orders
- Production/work orders
- Sales orders
- POS information
- Credit notes
- Debit notes
Barriers to Effective Collaboration
Obviously, all three levels of collaborative interaction can bring
numerous benefits to you and your partners. However, establishing
this kind of rapport can be difficult; there are numerous
barriers to effective collaboration that you must either avoid or
Connecting with a wide range of partners, all with different
technical functionalities and IT infrastructures, can be costly,
complicated, and time consuming. Although phone and fax
remain the primary mediums for interaction, other tools and
services are enjoying widespread use, such as electronic data
interchange (EDI) and RosettaNet, a set of standards and services
that provide a common language for e-business transactions and
the foundation for integrating critical processes among partners
within the global supply chain.
These approaches solve many of the connectivity problems
between organizations, but they can be costly and require
substantial commitments of IT resources. Also, at present,
even with EDI, XML, or virtual private network (VPN) solutions
integrated directly into back-end systems, some companies
still only dump the data into data warehouse technologies or
only partially integrate the data into a business process. You
are then able to provide only limited visibility or information,
which is not effective in connecting business processes and
reducing supply chain decision cycle times.
Supplier and Customer Challenges
Often suppliers and customers have different perspectives
on some key supply chain issues. For example, consider the
- How does the supplier handle demand variability?
- Who is liable for inventory and safety stock?
- Are lead times reasonable, and is the supplier receiving an
accurate and stable view of the demand stream?
- How accurate are the customer's forecasts?
Areas of contention can arise around issues such as inventory
carrying costs and price protection, particularly in industries
characterized by short product life cycles due to obsolescence.
Lack of Effective Metrics
Metrics that include performance measurements from all
members of the supply chain are essential. Instead of focusing on
optimizing their own company's operations, members of an
extended, adaptive supply chain need to work collaboratively to
assure mutual gains and savings. This means you have to extend
your "line of sight" across your entire supply chain to measure
the performance of activities and organizations that are not
under your direct control. Without end-to-end visibility across
your supply chain, making performance improvements becomes
Security and Safety
Security across the entire supply chain, ranging from coping
with hackers and other malefactors to planning comprehensive
disaster recovery, is essential.
Upstream, Downstream, and Internal Collaboration
Supply network collaboration can take place upstream between
your company and your suppliers and outsourcing partners,
downstream between you and your customers, and within the
four walls of your organization, as follows:
Supplier and contract manufacturer collaboration refers to
a collaborative business pro cess between the manufacturer and
its suppliers in a typical buy-sell relationship. With the increase
in globalization and outsourcing, supplier collaboration has
become even more complex. For example, a manufacturer working
with several contract manufacturing suppliers may also be
collaborating with a number of component suppliers. In turn,
some of these component suppliers may be providing goods not
only directly to the manufacturer, but also to some of its contract
manufacturing suppliers. This creates a complex web of
connections that can make it difficult for all parties involved
to share essential data regarding shipments, supplies on hand,
quality, manufacturing capacity, and other factors that impact
productivity. Add to this the fact that you are often dealing with
multiple time zones, cultures, and languages, and you see the
enormity of the challenge.
Customer collaboration includes the business processes that
result when the manufacturer is the seller and distributors,
wholesalers, or retailers are the customers.
Collaboration within your organization is also a key to
suc cess. One often-talked-about but not-necessarily-wellexecuted
interdepartmental discipline is the sales and operations
planning (S&OP) process. The S&OP process comprises a series
of integrated and interdependent business reviews that are structured
and focused to ensure that the tactical plans in all of the
business functions and geographies are aligned and in support of
the company's strategy and financial goals. If your organization
lacks a comprehensive S&OP process and has not included partner
capabilities in the demand and supply plans that feed into
your S&OP process, supply chain collaboration can be crippled.
The Deployment of Collaborative Technologies
As companies start to invest in supply network collaboration,
different deployment options come to the forefront. Many
companies want to keep this type of data behind the firewall and
implement collaborative processes in a traditional manner. However,
there is also interest in deploying the collaborative processes
in a hosted environment. Both approaches have their merits, but
at all times the key to successful collaboration is a solution that
allows you to easily bring on board suppliers, customers, and
other partners, as well as adopt an infrastructure that supports
multiple levels of complexity and communication formats.
A CLOSER LOOK AT SUPPLY CHAIN COLLABORATION
Greater connectivity and collaboration between you and
your trading partners creates numerous benefits for both
your suppliers and your customers, including the following
advantages over a less-collaborative process:
- Lower inventory levels and higher inventory turns
- Lower fulfillment (transportation and warehousing) costs
- Lower out-of-stock levels
- Shorter lead times
- Improved customer service
- Early sensing of demand and gaining of market intelligence
- The ability to shape demand
- Visibility into customer demand and supplier performance
- Earlier and quicker decision making
These added benefits are particular to suppliers:
- Faster order-to-cash cycles
- Insight into their own performance
- Better capacity utilization
- Increased inventory turns
- Increased order fill rates
Supplier collaboration allows even your smallest partners to join
in your strategic and tactical supply chain efforts. This cooperation
helps reduce transactional costs because it replaces fax and
e-mail as primary modes of communication. As a result, most
of the errors that tend to creep into the cumbersome manual
processes are eliminated.
One highly successful approach is to deliver supplier collaboration
functionality and preassembled premium content through
a supplier portal. Content is provided by a suite of Web-enabled
services that allow suppliers direct access to your supply chain
management applications. You can even integrate into the supply
network those smaller suppliers that do not have an EDI
infrastructure, by allowing them Web access to packaged bundles
of role-based services. The supplier portal integrates all the
underlying collaborative elements, including supplier selfservice,
inventory collaboration functionality, and access to
You often see the following processes in your supplier
- Purchase order and release processing
- Supplier-managed inventory
- The kanban process
- Dynamic replenishment
- Invoice/credit/debit processing
Purchase Order Processing
An effective collaborative application provides a comprehensive
platform for managing and automating the purchase order
process, resulting in faster cycle times and reduced errors that
are an inevitable part of manual purchase order processing.
This approach also allows smaller, less sophisticated suppliers
to participate in the purchase order process without an EDI
Release processing is the communication of customer
scheduling-agreement releases to suppliers. Releases reflect
net cus tomer requirements over time and usually contain
a firm order horizon and a forecast horizon.
By minimizing administrative steps, automating the release
process leads to a reduction in errors and results in real-time,
accurate communication of requirements and the associated
commitments from suppliers.
Through supplier-managed inventory processes, suppliers can
offer their customers a value-added service by performing the
replenishment-planning task for their business partners. Besides
giving the supplier increased visibility into actual demand,
supplier-managed inventory also recognizes that suppliers often
may have more knowledge and control over the logistical processes
involved. By increasing visibility into actual demand as
well as inventory levels, supplier-managed inventory programs
allow suppliers to make better decisions on how to deploy goods
across various customers' locations, which leads to increased
customer service levels, lower transportation costs, reduced
inventory levels, and lower sales costs.
The Kanban Process
Kanban is a signal-based replenishment concept related to lean
or just-in-time (JIT) production that historically uses cards to
signal the need for replenishment of an item. Leveraging collaborative
technologies, the kanban process allows customers
to electronically issue the kanban replenishment signals to suppliers
in real time. The supplier can quickly and accurately
determine requirements and be proactively alerted to exception
situations such as a new or empty storage location.
Dynamic replenishment is a process that enables suppliers to
compare customer forecast or planning data with their own
production plans to better match supply and demand. It also
allows suppliers to compare a customer's firm commitments
or orders with the suppliers' orders.
This approach enhances the visibility of normal material requirements
planning (MRP)-driven execution processes such as purchase
order processing or release processing. It allows suppliers
to flexibly adjust to shifts in customer requirements or supply
shortages. The approach increases order fill rates and reduces
raw materials, finished-goods inventory, and expediting costs.
Automating the invoice/credit/debit processes enables a complete
closed-loop process for all supply side processes (purchase order,
release, supplier-managed inventory, kanban, and dynamic
replenishment). This should include the complete invoicing
process, from creation to payment, and enable suppliers to have
visibility into the status of all invoices, debits, credits, and payments.
In addition, organizations should be able to initiate
self-billing through an automated evaluated-receipt-settlement
Outsourced Manufacturer Collaboration
Managing outsourced manufacturing relationships, or contract
manufacturers, is of increasing importance for many companies,
large and small, in a variety of industries because of its ability to
reduce operating costs, improve new product time to market,
and increase ROI on capital investment. However, to successfully
implement an outsourcing strategy, you must shift your focus
from owning and organizing assets to working collaboratively
This collaboration must extend beyond simply exchanging information
regarding order fulfillment. Collaborative efforts must
reach across the entire supply chain to help streamline essential
processes such as product development and pricing and product
manufacturability, as well as reduce manufacturing costs and
improve responsiveness to customer demand.
A new level of visibility into the work order status is also essential
to ensure seamless visibility across all manufacturing processes,
both internal and outsourced.
When automating these processes, you must support the
information-sharing, collaboration, and monitoring activities
that are needed to effectively manage the relationship with a
contract manufacturer. The most commonly deployed business
processes are as follows:
- Contract manufacturing purchasing is a purchase order'
based process in which the purchase order has an associated
production BOM attached to it. The contract manufacturer
can then access the purchase order and collaborate on both
finished-goods and component levels and update changes to
the customer's enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
This allows you to run internal planning functions using the
latest supply commitments from the contract manufacturer.
- Supply network inventory (SNI) visibility and monitoring
of inventory, supply, and demand information across
multiple tiers is critical to ensure that all parties are sharing
the actual status at all times. As such, the SNI process gives
visibility into component-level planning and stock at both the
component supplier's and contract manufacturer's locations,
and the technology has minimum and maximum stock-limit
tracking, including on-screen color changes and e-mail alerts.
- The work order process is the most sophisticated and granular
way of collaborating and tracking contract manufacturer
activities that represent the production activities at the
contract manufacturer's facility. The work order must communicate
the finished-goods need, allow for changes to the
BOM in a collaborative manner, track production progress,
project finished-goods date and quantity changes on the basis
of the current production status, and capture consumption
of components and materials owned by the customer.
Customer collaboration is gaining traction in many industries
that are pushing to become more demand driven. Customer
collaboration embraces the ability to sense demand signals and
automatically replenish the customer's inventory on the basis of
actual demand. This is most commonly seen in consumer products
and other industries that operate downstream distribution
structures that extend to retailers.
This approach supports the following benefits:
- Enables the shift from a manufacturer "push" to a balanced,
demand-driven "push-pull" supply chain
- Combines forecast and demand-driven supply chain strategies
- Ensures intelligent short-term demand management for
baseline and promotion processes and automates the response
to changing demand
- Helps manufacturing companies fulfill store-level-based
replenishment requirements such as cross-docking
Unlike traditional forecast-driven replenishment, with a customer
collaboration strategy, replenishment processes become
more responsive and are triggered primarily by actual customer
demand information. POS and electronic product code (EPC)
data also adds to visibility across the entire supply chain and
enhances the process. It allows manufacturers and retailers to
manage and execute joint promotions that can take into account
This also provides the visibility needed to effectively receive or
calculate out-of-stock information automatically and use the
resulting information for sales forecasting and promotion planning.
You can then share forecasts, POS and inventory data, and
other vital information with business partners.
Exception reporting also needs to be part of this business process.
By resolving missing data and exception situations, you can execute
forecasting, replenishment, and fulfillment planning more
Responsive customer replenishment processes allow you to
respond more rapidly and efficiently to short-term demand fluctuations
in the baseline and promotion business processes. Thus,
you realize increased sales and fewer lost sales from stock-outs.
Other forms of customer collaboration functionalities include
more traditional vendor-managed inventory (VMI) functionalities,
including replenishment logic based on minimum and
maximum stock balance limits. By using your customer's consumption
data, running a forecast, and conducting replenishment
order planning, you can fully manage the inventories at
the customer's site.
Forecast collaboration ' also known as collaborative planning,
forecasting, and replenishment (CPFR) ' is a process supported
by the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Standards (VICS)
Association, which in part manages the pure forecast collaboration
pieces between a supplier and a customer. CPFR is also supported
effectively in a customer collaboration strategy. A forecast
can be both received from a customer and generated by the supplier
on the basis of historical data. Providing this information on
a jointly accessible Web site allows the partners to collaborate to
reach a consensus, or agreed-upon, forecast, which in turn can
be used to drive VMI replenishments, be fed into a demandplanning
tool, and be sent back to the customer.
Overall, this CPFR approach improves your processing speed
and leads to better distribution-planning schedules. Real-time
and automated communications mean reduced data entry and
customer order errors. One of the major benefits is improved
collaboration between the supplier and customer.
When it comes to store replenishment collaboration, many
retailers are already sharing POS data with their suppliers. Some
are now taking the next step by asking their manufacturers to
take part in the store replenishment process. This approach
goes beyond conventional VMI and continuous replenishment
programs that concentrate on retail inventory.
Store replenishment collaboration involves both the retailer
and manufacturer in a collaborative arrangement that includes
sharing information on retail events and store POS forecasts.
Both parties also work together to use information such as
demand forecasts, store clustering, presentation and safety stock
targets, assortment optimization, order sizing, and lead times
and distribution methods.
The benefits are worth the transition. Because store replenishment
collaboration is the closest link the manufacturer has to
the end consumer, it directly impacts shelf availability. Both the
retailer and the manufacturer benefit from better visibility into
customer takeaway, improved replenishment accuracy, and
improved in-stocks, overstock reduction, and promotion. The
collaboration provides a direct window into consumer response
to new products, existing shelf distribution, and the effectiveness
of promotions. The manufacturer and other suppliers can
leverage this new influx of information to optimize their supply
Sales and Operations Planning
Sales and operations planning (S&OP) is a widely used collaborative
process that allows the organization to introduce critical
supply chain information into the decision-making process.
With globalization and outsourcing, much of the information
impacting an organization's decision-making process is generated
externally to the enterprise. Given these trends, organizations
are finding that a comprehensive S&OP process is even more
important. The S&OP decision-making process ensures that your
business is continually managed to meet agreed-upon strategies,
goals, and commitments, despite constant changes in your
The S&OP process comprises a series of integrated and interdependent
business reviews, structured and focused to ensure that
the tactical plans in all of the business functions and geographies
are aligned and in support of the company's strategy. You are
protected against unwelcome surprises: the process identifies
and allows you to plan what you can do now to handle contingencies
that may not appear on your radar screen for up to a year
and a half.
S&OP allows you to introduce collaborative information into
the decision-making process. When used as part of your collaborative
efforts, it enables better communications between crossfunctional
groups and your trading partners.
A good S&OP process allows you to achieve an optimal balance
between demand and supply, reduce shortages, and improve cash
flow. You reduce lead times as well as finished-goods inventory
and transportation costs. You are better able to collaborate with
all members of your extended supply chain and to serve your
The Role of Sensory Technology
When properly implemented, sensory technology such as RFID
enables you to deliver a level of visibility into the supply chain
that was previously unavailable. It provides the automated functionalities
to feed real-time data into your supply chain systems.
For example, you can track and trace EPCs across the supply network,
receive alerts when problems arise, and share EPC-related
data with your trading partners. You can also attach RFID tags
to pallets, cases, or single product units to remotely sense movement
of goods through the supply chain. Having immediate
information about the location and status of goods can help
improve decision making at tactical and execution levels.
Sensory technology is being widely adopted by a number of industries.
For example, pharmaceutical companies are developing
fine-tuned tracking abilities to prevent counterfeit drugs from
entering the supply chain. Retailers are increasingly relying upon
granular tracking data to reconcile the shipment and receipt of
goods. By sharing this data with suppliers, these companies can
better manage inventory at retail sites. As the cost of itemtracking
technologies such as RFID comes down, other industries
are expected to adopt similar initiatives. The visibility provided
by sensory technology allows companies to quickly and
intelligently respond to changing market conditions. To be effective,
sensory technology initiatives require the participation of
mul tiple trading partners that automatically exchange information,
such as about the flow of goods through the supply
A comprehensive sensory system based on open standards
usually includes all the reporting mechanisms and KPIs needed
to support your own and your partners' supply chain networks.
Collaborative supply chain sensory technology applications
include the following functionalities:
- Goods issue and receipt via automatic shipping and receiving
processing, based on bar-code and RFID reads
- Generation of advanced shipping notices (ASNs), with
associated EPC information
- Writing and coding of tag identification on the basis of the
- Tracking of packing and loading of units, cases, and pallets
- Handling of unit-level tracking, with alerts to flag out-of-stock
items, incorrect shipping quantities, or other situations
- Pallet-, case-, and item-level tagging
- Analysis of key supply chain and inventory metrics
IN A COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENT
A collaborative supply chain environment that encompasses all
members of the value chain ' from the organization to its most
distant trading partners and suppliers ' requires continuous and
careful monitoring and evaluation.
Effective supply chain metrics and collaboration go hand in
hand. Capturing and evaluating meaningful performance
measures can help you align activities across your entire supply
chain, target profitable market segments, and obtain a competitive
advantage. However, your organization may have a limited
set of metrics in place that do not extend beyond your own
operations to include other members of the collaborative supply
chain. This lack of visibility makes it difficult to integrate, synchronize,
and optimize interenterprise processes.
Needed is a fully coordinated, closed-loop supply chain management
solution that monitors events, sends alerts, and evaluates
performance across your entire network. You and your partners
can synchronize, manage, and evaluate activities across your
supply chain network through the functionalities provided by
supply chain event management, supply chain performance
management, and S&OP.
Supply Chain Event Management
Once you can capture supply chain events, the next step is to
model relevant milestones at every point in your supply chain
process, such as the receipt and processing of inbound goods or
distribution and proof-of-delivery activities.
A collaborative system monitors activities based on RFID, barcode,
and other tracking functionalities and provides alerts when
delays happen or events take place out of sequence or simply fail
to occur. In many cases, the application can assess the impact of a
delay through its links with other planning and execution systems.
When a problem occurs, the application allows you and
your partners to work collaboratively to resolve it.
Supply Chain Performance Management
Performance management functionalities allow you and your
supply chain partners to define, measure, analyze, share, and
improve KPIs such as costs, efficiency, and asset usage. In a collaborative
supply chain environment, these functionalities allow
you and your partners to quickly identify and react to delays, as
well as identify and investigate areas of potential waste.
Supply chain performance management constantly tracks key
performance measurements and automatically generates an
alert when performance deviates from standards.
The technologies that support the performance management
functionality include operational and analytic software. Operational
software generates the data, production plans, stock,
and delivery dates that are used to calculate KPIs. Extractors
transfer data from this operational software to analytic software
at predetermined intervals.
On a strategic level, this type of advanced supply chain performance
management creates a window into the performance
of your entire supply chain. In a collaborative environment, it
provides you with the visibility you need into your own and your
partners' performance. Performance management gives you the
necessary feedback to create true, closed-loop supply chain management,
which is key to driving continuous improvement,
delivering superior performance, and ensuring that your supply
chain continues to be efficient and competitive.
THE COLLABORATIVE SUPPLY NETWORK AND SAP
SAP provides all the functionalities and tools you need to create
and maintain a truly adaptive and collaborative supply network.
The SAP® Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM) application is
the only complete supply chain management application that
allows you to adapt your supply chain processes to an everchanging
competitive environment. SAP SCM transforms your
supply chain from sequential processes into an adaptive supply
SAP SCM offers you not only planning and execution software
to manage enterprise operations, but also visibility and collaboration
technology to extend those operations beyond corporate
boundaries. The application enables networkwide visibility,
collaboration, and analytics across the extended supply chain.
The result is measurable improvements through cost reductions,
service-level increases, and productivity gains, ultimately leading
to stronger profit margins.
Using collaboration functions that improve visibility into supply
and demand, you can work with partners to reduce inventory
buffers, increase the velocity of raw materials and finished goods
through the pipeline, improve customer service, and increase
Essentially you are working with a demand-driven supply network
' a system of technologies and processes that sense and
react to real-time demand signals across a supply network
of customers, suppliers, and employees. Collaboration allows
you to share this demand intelligence with the members of your
extended supply network for both strategic and tactical purposes.
Networkwide visibility across the entire supply chain lets planners
and key decision makers perform strategic as well as dayto-
day business planning. You can monitor and analyze the
performance of the extended supply chain using predefined KPIs.
In addition, you can test situations to determine how the supply
chain network can address changes in the market, the business,
or customer demand.
SAP Supply Network Collaboration
The SAP Supply Network Collaboration application is a Webbased
solution within SAP SCM that is designed to help you
enhance visibility, collaborate more effectively with suppliers,
and increase the overall speed, accuracy, and adaptiveness of
your supply network. With SAP Supply Network Collaboration,
you and your supply network partners share inventory and
transactional information easily and seamlessly.
SAP Supply Network Collaboration connects you and your
business partners on a shared, easy-to-use platform. It serves as a
single point of entry for your company and your business partners.
The Web interface allows both large enterprises and smaller
companies with less sophisticated IT environments to use the
application. You and your partners may wish to work with just
the application's supplier-managed inventory process, just the
release processing, or a combination of both processes. Whatever
your choice, SAP Supply Network Collaboration helps provide
visibility into all your supply network processes.
For companies in the customer's role, SAP Supply Network
Collaboration provides the following benefits:
- You can more easily delegate the responsibility for your inventory
to a business partner and thus profit from the business
partner's greater planning expertise.
- You obtain an overview of all your suppliers' routine activities
at a glance on your customer-specific overview, whenever you
- You can rely on notifications automatically issued by the
software system to inform you about critical situations in real
time, so regular monitoring is not required.
- Your company's stock is constantly replenished without effort
for procurement. You can reduce the risk of material shortage
on one hand and excessive holding costs on the other.
- Your production runs smoothly, with minimal risk of bottlenecks
or production downtimes caused by material shortages.
- Your costs are reduced through the reduction of manual activities
- Standard approaches to easily bring partners on board enable
quick adoption and rapid ROI.
- On a partner-by-partner basis, SAP Supply Network Collaboration
can be leveraged as a strategic supplier application or
a supplier portal that quickly multiplies the number of integrated
online transactions throughout the supply base.
For companies in the supplier's role, SAP Supply Network
Collaboration provides the following benefits:
- You can take over replenishment for your customers more
easily, because the application assists you in monitoring all
products you are responsible for, at whatever location, at a
glance, on the supplier-specific overview. No sophisticated
software environment is needed.
- You have visibility into your customers' inventory levels
and demands, thus helping you enhance your planning and
scheduling of shipments.
- Automatic alerts and notifications help you notice critical
situations in advance and give you sufficient time to proactively
The SAP NetWeaver® Platform
The SAP NetWeaver® platform empowers the collaborative functionalities
of SAP SCM. It allows you to flexibly and rapidly deploy,
execute, monitor, and refine the software that enables your
business processes and strategies. With SAP NetWeaver, you can
deploy innovative business processes across the organization
while making use of your existing software and systems.
The SAP NetWeaver platform allows your applications and
business partners' systems to work together consistently to
perform business processes, exchanging information and executing
transactions smoothly and operating as if they were a single
system. SAP NetWeaver provides end-to-end process integration
by enabling application-to-application processes and businessto-
business processes, performing business process management
and business task management and enabling platform
With SAP NetWeaver, you can seamlessly connect your own
business processes with those of your partners by using messagebased
and standards-based methods for process integration. You
can offer various communication channels as well as process
coordination and monitoring. Also, SAP NetWeaver allows you
to connect RFID technology directly to software that needs to
sense and control automated signals in real time.
Using SAP NetWeaver, you can provide business information
management through enterprise reporting, query, and analysis;
business planning and analytical services; enterprise data warehousing;
enterprise knowledge management; and enterprise
search. These IT activities are enabled by components of SAP
NetWeaver, such as the SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence
component, the SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (SAP
NetWeaver XI) component, and the knowledge management
functionality of the SAP NetWeaver Portal component.
Your Supply Network Solution
With its powerful supply chain performance and event
management functionalities, SAP SCM, powered by SAP
NetWeaver, allows you to work closely with your partners to
coordinate, manage, and evaluate activities across the extended
supply network. You can perform the following tasks:
- Respond faster to deviations from plans
- Resolve problems quickly and ensure timely delivery
- Reduce lead and cycle times
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Measure return on supply chain investments
- Improve visibility across the entire supply chain
To learn more about how SAP can help your organization
improve supply chain performance, call your SAP representative
today or visit us on the Web at www.sap.com/scm.
- Executive Summary: The Need for Collaboration
- Collaboration at Work
- Barriers to Effective Collaboration
- Heterogeneous Infrastructures
- Supplier and Customer Challenges
- Lack of Effective Metrics
- Security and Safety
- Upstream, Downstream, and Internal Collaboration
- The Deployment of Collaborative Technologies
- A Closer Look at Supply Chain Collaboration
- Supplier Collaboration
- Purchase Order Processing
- Release Processing
- Supplier-Managed Inventory
- The Kanban Process
- Dynamic Replenishment
- Invoicing Processes
- Outsourced Manufacturer Collaboration
- Customer Collaboration
- Sales and Operations Planning
- The Role of Sensory Technology
- Performance Measurement in a Collaborative Environment
- Supply Chain Event Management
- Supply Chain Performance Management
- The Collaborative Supply Network and SAP
- SAP Supply Network Collaboration
- The SAP NetWeaver Platform
- Your Supply Network Solution
- Powered by SAP NetWeaver