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The Need for Supply Chain Synchronization

Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive, arguably the world's most influential industrial designer, has said “If something is not good enough, stop doing it.”

Of course he was referring to the design process, but I think it’s also excellent advice for managing today’s fragmented and complex global supply chains.

The Goal: Supply Chain Synchronization

Imagine a tightly coupled supply chain where inventory and sales data travelled instantly to all partners, allowing material to be quickly pulled from suppliers and manufacturers through distribution to the final customer. Orders arrived on time and in correct quantities to your customer when they want and where they want it, resulting in happy loyal customers that keep coming back.

This happy scenario is the result of implementing an effective supply chain synchronization strategy that gives you real-time, end-to-end visibility over your entire supply chain and all of your partners. But chances are, you are not able to realize this vision because you’re relying on outdated roles and responsibilities, processes or outdated systems that you have been telling yourself are “good enough”.

Are your outdated systems really “good enough”?

Supply chain management has advanced to extend across the supply chains of multiple companies, making it necessary to tightly synchronize supply chain data, as well as methods and workflows. Many of the systems currently being used worked just fine for 10-20 years however today's’ supply chains are global and more complex. It’s time for supply chain managers to ask themselves if their outdated systems built around spreadsheets and DOS based technologies really are “good enough”?

It is probable that your answer to this question is “no”. This is not an easy truth to admit, because replacing those systems with cloud-based services and mobile applications means taking on what I call “additional cognitive overhead” - the time and energy that is required to evaluate and implement new technologies. And allocating those resources is easier said than done. But if your answer is no, “stop doing it”.

Once you’ve embraced this, you’ll likely come up with the question “Will the ROI justify the time and expense?”. The short answer is “yes”, and we can turn to analyst firm Gartner for the long answer.   

Benefits of Real Time Supply Chain Visibility

Gartner produced a webinar Supply Chain Visibility as Foundational Capability that outlines the importance and business impact of End-to-End visibility for supply chain leaders. The resulting benefits include:

  • Higher order fulfillments and improved service levels
  • Higher profitability and increased revenue growth
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Increased competitiveness
  • Reduced risk

Gartner has posted a recording of this webinar to its web site, just follow the link above to view or download it for free.

Achieving real-time visibility over your entire supply chain is not a “nice-to-have”, it’s become critical in order to improve your organization’s supply chain operations and boost its bottom line.

The first step is to begin evaluating the growing array of solutions and strategies that will serve as the foundation for your new supply chain synchronization strategy. I’ll examine your three options in my next post:

  1. Implementing a solution in-house
  2. Working with a cloud-based provider
  3. Turn to your logistics providers for help

If you have a question you’d like me to address, please post it to the comments section below, and I’ll link my answer to your comment and incorporate it into my next post.

 Make an impact with Strategies for Supply Chain Synchronization White Paper

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