TEC’s 2012 SCM Buyer’s Guide has been developed to emphasize the SCM challenges and business pains organizations face in extending their insight into and level of control over their partner networks—that severely constrict the effectiveness of their supply chains—as well as strategies for helping them better manage their supply chains.
Managing supply chain complexity
Best practices for achieving insight into the supply chain
- Complexity within the supply chain stems primarily from handling a multiplicity of partners. And while these various partners can be integrated within the supply chain to produce a cohesive chain, a large volume of communication has the potential to compromise the integrity of supply chain processes.
Managing collaboration through workflow
- As businesses strive to establish a fluid network, several factors must be considered for organizations to gain visibility into their supply chains. Data management is required to ensure businesses can establish the mobility of relevant data—and rapidly identify impending issues and manage by exception.
Within a supply chain, issues are rarely resolved by a single party, but are rather resolved through collaboration among multiple partners. The way a company connects with its partners to promote this collaboration and the benefits drawn from workflow tools are conducive to identifying the choke points within the supply chain.
This section on how SCM software can help businesses address these three main challenges is followed by a report on global trade management (GTM). GTM is a specific type of SCM solution that facilitates collaboration between trading partners worldwide, helping organizations manage the complexity of and gain visibility into their supply chains.
Table of Contents
2012 Supply Chain Management (SCM) Buyer’s Guide: Adapting to Challenging Times and Circumstances
SCM Product Comparisons
TEC Special Report
Global Trade Management: Dealing with the Complexity of a Global Network
GTM Product Comparison
TEC Resources for Supply Chain Management
- How Software Can Help Better Manage Supply Chains
- Managing Supply Chain Complexity
- Best Practices for Achieving Insight into the Supply Chain
- Managing Collaboration through Workflow
Microsoft Dynamics AX Customer Success Story by Ignify: Microsoft Dynamics AX Helps Online Bidding Company Improve Efficiency and Launch New Business Units
TEC Partners Resource Directory
Download the full copy
Sage Customer Success Story: Sage ERP X3 Is the Global ERP Solution for Satellite Industries
Sage ERP White Paper: Collaboration Drives Growth for Discrete Manufacturers
Epicor Customer Success Story: The WHITING Group of Canada Uses Epicor to Help Manage Its Multiple Business Units
Thought Leadership by Epicor: Five Mistakes Distributors Make When Selecting an Enterprise Software Solution
Thought Leadership by Pronto Software: Total Cost of Goods Shipped: A Guide to Better Sourcing Decisions
Kinaxis Customer Success Story: Nikon: Focusing on a “Picture Perfect” Sales and Operations Planning Process
of the TEC 2012 Supply Chain Management Buyer’s Guide for large enterprises and SMBs.
Managing Supply Chain Complexity
Factors Affecting Supply Chain Complexity
As global enterprises attempt to survive the economic downturn, they are faced with an unprecedented level of uncertainty in the industry. With the lean approach of maintaining low inventory levels and a shift in the responsibility to suppliers for on-time item delivery, businesses have come to be very dependent on their supplier base.
In times of a good economy, companies can readily grow their revenues. But when the economy declines, at the global level, the number of variables that can affect their supply chains grows exponentially. Is my supplier solvent enough to sustain its own growing receivables? Will this new policy stop me from exporting to this market? Is my factory at risk for social unrest? These questions barely scrape the surface in volatile times, with ever- changing daily considerations. Businesses should therefore broaden their understanding of the challenges associated with managing their supply chains.
While there are a number of factors that may weaken an organization’s supply chain, the most unexpected is the supply chain of its partners. Too often businesses consider their suppliers to be entities that manage themselves in a centralized and cohesive manner, with transparency and visibility throughout their organizations. This erroneous assumption oftentimes stems from the supplier presenting a seemingly unified front, and may be exacerbated by a false sense of security that lies behind a written contract.
Organizations should consider a number of factors prior to brokering a new partnership including: the supplier’s strategic position; background (technological, business structure, financial health, competitive landscape, social and political environment); and operations (i.e., manufacturing, logistics, etc.). This may help them to identify whether to engage in either a unique or distributed option for a given outsourcing strategy.
The bottom line is that with each additional partner, the level of complexity of the organization’s supply chain increases—exponentially. So how can SCM software address this complexity?
SCM solutions offer functionality for evaluating potential suppliers through generic request for proposal (RFP) templates, which contain answers to standardized questions on supplier activities that can have time-savings implications for making supplier-related decisions. Unfortunately, analysis of more complex questions, for example, those relating to the supplier’s financial health and environment, still requires more attention and can be addressed effectively only through manual processes and the individual business acumen of the evaluator. However, consulting firms exist that specialize in providing a comprehensive analysis of suppliers for those organizations that cannot afford to expend any resources to this task.
While SCM software has a way to go before it has a firm handle on multidimensional and hard-to-frame considerations (financial health or macroeconomic environment of the supplier) at the brokering level, it does offer power analytics that capture significant data on supply chain activities—e.g., assortment trending for organizations in the retail industry; logistics by capturing transit time for a given shipment route that allows for identifying potential threats or bottlenecks. However, this data is only as good as the response it elicits— businesses need to take the appropriate actions to ensure timely and effective management of their supply chains.
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of the TEC 2011 CRM Buyer’s Guide for large enterprises and SMBs.
supply chain guide