• How do we integrate disconnected business processes and systems?
• How can we control actions and performance across a network of distributed partners?
• How can we push supply and demand changes through the supply chain quickly?
The flow of material through an enterprise crosses many functional areas. Lack of information, lack of trust, internal competition, etc. have resulted in barriers between functional areas that impede the flow of material and information through the supply chain. The barriers tend to manifest themselves in time and inventory, both of which are expensive commodities. The breakdown of these barriers represents a major opportunity for most organizations to improve their competitiveness.
• better use and sharing of information to reduce uncertainty about future demand, encouraging more responsive manufacturing
• extended visibility of demand to improve partners’ planning process, allowing better allocation of financial resources for cost reduction
• ability to respond quickly to market dynamics, react faster to shifting customer needs and demands, and to cope with the inevitable day-to-day disruptions in the supply chain.
In a broad sense, collaboration is where individuals, enterprise functional groups or enterprises work together to achieve a common goal. Collaboration is fundamentally a relationship between people. It should facilitate and enable the forming of a relationship, and be flexible and configurable enough to support the relationships as they evolve over time.
• The closeness of a relationship, from complete ownership to arms-length
• The degree of mutual dependence of the business of one partner on the other; for example, what proportion of his business does mine represent
• The relative sophistication of each partner in his approach to supply chain management
• The material flow characteristics, such as linear or cyclical demand, seasonal patterns, fast or slow moving products, etc.
• The complexity and size of the range of products supplied, and the flexibility and responsiveness of the network; constrained vs. unconstrained for example
• An ability and commitment to perform
• The necessary technical and management capabilities
• Involvement of senior key people on both sides.
The following are some general attributes of collaboration that need to be addressed in a collaborative solution:
• Longevity: The collaborative solution should support the ability to quickly establish, modify, and conclude applications of collaboration
• Levels of trust: The collaborative solution must support the ability to phase-in visibility, as well as access to and control of data as the relationship evolves
• Partitioning of responsibility, shared responsibility: The system needs to be configurable to model and support the actual partitioning of access privileges and responsibilities
• Awareness/Alerts: There needs to be a way to alert people that problems have occurred, and a notification/communication method• Security: The solution needs to provide appropriate security and an audit trail to protect confidentiality requirements
• Aggregations/Views of Data: Multiple users of the same information are often spread across different functional areas and across different organizations. The different users will want the information presented differently to facilitate their particular planning process, e.g. aggregations on product/location/time period, different units, etc.
• Business Rules: The solution needs to provide an easy way for people to deploy business rules to address their unique requirements.