Julie Fraser, President of Cambashi Inc., recently wrote an intriguing article in Managing Automation magazine. The article focuses on how a great number of companies rely on outdated business systems that don’t effectively support their current business models.
Her opinion, and it’s one that B2B Connex shares, is that over the last 20 years there have been a number of significant changes in the way we communicate with our network of partners and what they expect from us. The problem is that we haven’t changed our approach to deal with these new realities!
The root of the problem is that systems that made sense 10, 15 or 20 years ago relied on a very limited definition of the supply chain: plan-source-make-deliver and possibly return.
Fraser explains that because partner expectations have changed, our new definition of the supply chain must include: material and supplier substitutions, product design and innovation, aftermarket services, pricing etc.
Does your system take these changes into account?
If not, her solution is straightforward and sensible – we have to improve our approach to collaboration between ALL of the units across our network.
She suggests this can be accomplished by changing our communication processes so they foster true synchronization across our partner network.
By promoting real-time collaboration, our supply chain becomes streamlined, efficient and allows for immediate input and action by anyone in our partner network.
Fraser interviewed Geoffrey Moore, a tech expert for the article. He uses social media as an ideal model for the modern supply chain system and talks about four areas we have to address to create true collaboration with our partners.
1) Mobile – So input can be offered at any time throughout the process.
2) Social – The ability to share facts and insights is crucial. B2B Connex is the first company mentioned as a solutions provider in this area.
3) Ad-Hoc – Because in supply chain management, unexpected events occur and have to be dealt with quickly and effectively.
4) Real-Time – This is the fundamental change that flows from all of the above elements.
If B2B Connex offered one addition to the article’s points, it would be that automation is a vital part of improved collaboration. Many of the time-consuming manual tasks that were necessary in the past can now be taken care of without employee intervention. Automating aspects of our supply chain management leads to increased efficiencies, a significant reduction in human error and allows employees to spend more of their time on core business activities.
If you like, you can read Julie Fraser’s article in full.