Supply Chain Direction: Collaboration is Key

Back in April, EyeForTransport, the organizers of the Supply Chain Directions Summit 2006: Strategies & Tactics to Optimize Inventory and Supply Chain Visibility, released a report entitled Supply Chain Directions 2006: How Fortune 500 shippers overcome their supply chain challenges.

This report analyzed the results of a survey of almost 400 logistics professionals who were primarily executives from Fortune 500 manufacturers and retailers in charge of their companies’ logistics and supply chains and sought to identify the biggest supply chain issues and the methods that these companies were planning to employ to overcome those issues. The largest supply chain issue identified as relevant, by a whopping 62% of respondents, was a lack of collaboration. Furthermore, a whopping 59% of respondents identified enhanced collaboration schemes as the most likely method for decreasing their supply chain woes, 10% more then the runner-up option of optimizing warehouse management.

So how can you improve collaboration? One approach is to deploy new technology. In particular, Transportation Management Systems (TM) and Supply Chain Management Software (SCM) with built in collaboration capabilities can go a long way towards meeting these goals. In fact, these were the two leading systems identified by respondents as the most likely technologies to enhance their supply chain performance (at 56% and 44%, respectively).

Regardless of what direction, or directions, you choose, I’d recommend you check out the speaker list for EyeForTransport’s Supply Chain Directions Summit 2006 (November 28-29, 2006 in San Francisco, CA, USA) which reads like a who’s who list in the logistics and SCM trenches with speakers like Scott D. Burnette, the Director of National Transportation for Coca Cola North America, Ashley Hall, the 3PL Sourcing Manager for Intel, David Pieper, Supply Chain Strategy Principle, and Mike Passon, Director, Global Logistics, Program Management at Hewlett Packard, Arun Kumar, Director, Americas Logistics and Worldwide Compliance at Dell, Walter Gimenez, the Logistics Director at Nike, and 28 other confirmed speakers.

It appears to me that despite only being in its second year, the Supply Chain Directions Summit could be on its way to becoming recognized as one of the premier annual SCM events around the globe. (For a larger list of events coming up, see this blog’s companion site, Sourcing Innovation.) The only advice I would give EyeForTransport is to consider doing what SAP did for SAPPHIRE, and fly in some leading bloggers to cover the event. This will help boost the event’s profile and visibility this year, as bloggers notify their ever growing reader lists in advance on their plan to be there, and next year, as those who do not attend read about what they missed. After all, I’m sure Jason Busch’s coverage of Ariba Live on Spend Matters probably provided more visibility for Ariba with almost 2,000 dedicated readers every day than a fistful of traditional publications. It’s a thought.