Daily Archives: April 4, 2009

The Death of the (Linear) Supply Chain

Globalization, outsourcing, and technology are pervasive and dramatically transforming the traditional notion of a supply chain from a traditional linear model to a highly dynamic demand-supply network. As a result, visibility is greatly diminished in your average supply chain. And, as this recent Industry Week article points out, that’s a problem.

Loss of visibility results in, among other things,

  • a loss of insight into inventory,
  • a loss of insight into product location,
  • a loss of insight into quality,
  • a loss of insight into regulatory compliance,
  • a loss of insight into trade opportunities,and
  • a loss of insight into unexpected delays.

However, visibility, which requires real-time information across a complex global network of suppliers, contract manufacturers, distributors, retailers, 3PLs, brokers, and even customers, is not as easily obtained as it once was. Traditional on-premise SCM solutions and ERP systems were built for the linear supply chain and, for the most part, are not up to the task of managing a modern supply network.

But all is not lost — many of the new on-demand B2B 3.0 SaaS solutions were built to support complex many-to-many networks and to (easily) plug into to your existing platform. Seek them out and you shall profit. However, as the article points out, to maximize your investment, make sure they support:

  1. B2B 3.0 Integration
  2. Business Process Management and Workflow
  3. Exception and Event Management
  4. Business Intelligence
  5. Your Operations