In this blog, I’ve talked at various times about collaboration, risk and technology, but not together in the same thought.
Like many aspects of Lean thinking in the supply chain, technology can be an enabler of an improved process. So it’s no surprise then that technology, when used to help collaborate with supply chain partners, can significantly reduce risk.
A white paper by Ariba, a software vendor created to enable companies to facilitate and improve the procurement process through the Internet, entitled “Mitigate Supply Chain Risk with Collaboration and Visibility to Achieve the Perfect Order,” makes the case that “in today’s global economy, no company works alone. Intricate supply networks require interaction with hundreds—or even thousands—of outsourced resources, partners, suppliers and customers around the world. That’s why innovative manufacturers are embracing new collaboration and automation technologies to help overcome inefficient, error-prone, manual processes. By enabling collaboration without boundaries, industry leaders are providing greater visibility into direct materials to deliver the perfect order.”
They point out that, according to a recent survey of supply chain executives, mitigating risk is their single biggest day-to-day challenge and one of the highest priorities when collaborating with trading partners.
The survey also showed that almost all respondents found value in collaboration and that it’s a top priority for most chief procurement officers. The collaboration can take many forms, including sharing information, automating processes, and using business networks or hubs.
As most surveyed feel that manual processes were a major concern (and source of waste), the majority of those surveyed recognize that a new generation of technology is critical for automating processes, enhancing collaboration and mitigating supply chain risk.
Ultimately, those who have used technology for visibility and collaboration attain significant benefits such as improved order accuracy and faster, more automated transaction cycles—all signs of a Leaner, more efficient supply chain.