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Supply Chain Software Technology Works, But Does it Do The Work?
By Aaron Baker, and Senior Director, Supply Chain Development, Damco
From a software technology perspective supply chain visibility is not challenging per se. In its rudimentary form Supply Chain visibility follows a basic procedure of input, process and output. So why is the question ‘where is my stuff?’ still a considered a Critical supply chain industry question? To answer this question properly we need to step back and think about it in the context of an enterprise business challenge instead of a tactical question. Specifically, what enterprise challenges can be answered once you get the right balance of people, process and then technology? "The fragmented or siloed approach to Supply chain Management(SCM) is being reengineered for optimal end-to-end supply chains that minimize or maximize cross functional KPIs" The change in mind-set is to think of the data that fuels supply chain visibility as something that needs to be managed by dedicated people, similar to how products on a store shelf needs to be continuously managed to ensure availability. Imagine if a store shelf was partially stocked and many of the goods were left in the storage room - not even opened from its original shipping carton. You could not reliably offer products to be sold. To get reliable supply chain visibility, companies need to manage the process on a continuous basis. They understand the business benefits of having either in-house or outsourced providers control the process by people with ‘boots on the ground’, where the operations takes place. Managing What Matters in the Supply Chain In many industry verticals we see mature organizations shifting from mitigating supply chain costs to creating enterprise value. The fragmented or siloed approach to supply chain management is being re-engineered for optimal end-to-end supply chains that minimize or maximize cross functional KPIs, thereby balancing profitability while meeting unpredictable customer demands. We have seen the business benefit of supply chain data to be a proven enabler for this transition to many of our customers, in areas such as lead time reduction, on-time-in-full (OTIF), gross margin, sustainability and product availability on the shelf as top priorities. These focus areas are what matters for mature organizations. Many organizations outsource process management to not