The goal of any business owner is to grow: grow their client base, their operations, and, subsequently, their profit margins. Leaders of the world’s most successful companies seek both insight into their organization’s supply chain operations and foresight into future trends in EDI and B2B Integration. Before you can improve your supply chain processes, you need a clear picture of how well you’re collaborating with other members of your supply chain.
The first step is to assess howyou collaborate and communicate with your trading partners. Ask yourself,
Am I getting the most out of my strategic partners in the supply chain?
Am I using the right technology in the most effective way possible?
Who can help me improve my current supply chain process?
Self-assessment gives leaders an idea of where they are now and how they can get to where they want to be- at the top of their market.
Follow the Amazon Effect
Consider Amazon.com. The world’s largest online retail exchange company knows that any lag in the delivery process can directly weaken Amazon’s bottom line by preventing repeat purchases and driving customers into the hands of the competition.
Amazon avoids these pitfalls by measuring key variables such as delivery times, SKU margins, and cost of invoicing. This keeps them in the know about the state of their organization- at all times- so they can avoid hiccups in the supply chain and maintain their reputation as the online shopping site where customers can find almost anything in the world and have it delivered with unprecedented speed.
Whether you’re the manager of an automotive company, the owner of a medical supply distributor, or the operations coordinator of a CPG manufacturer, your organization is capable of leveraging the technology collaboration strategies of some of the world’s most successful organizations for tremendous growth. By reverse engineering the operations of some of these organizations, we have identified specific focus areas for you to examine:
1. Evaluate Your B2B Integration Roadmap
Does your organization have a technology roadmap?
What should that road map look like?
How do you address the needs of your various business operations and departments?
According to a study by the University of Tennessee, 88% of organizations using B2Bi managed services saw a reduction in overall supply chain operational costs after investing in more advanced electronic collaboration and reporting capabilities. By analyzing your own organization, you can appreciate similar gains.
2. Explore New Vendor and Partner Relationships
Have I recently investigated ongoing relationships and technology vendor needs?
Are there any gaps in my organization’s processes that can be better managed by a third-party vendor? Can I prioritize the gaps I want to take action on now?
Am I missing out on opportunities to simplify my processes and expand capabilities? How can I identify these opportunities to take action?
A third party service provider can also improve your ability to measure and predict key performance indicators for your organization. For example, third-party logistics provider, Capacity LLC, uses cloud-based inventory tracking systems to provide real-time inventory visibility to make it simple for their clients to see what goes on and stay in control.
More than 40% of companies surveyed in the same University of Tennessee study on technology integration experienced improved efficiency in onboarding new trading partners when using B2Bi Managed Services. 69% said that they were able to more efficiently respond to changes in their customer’s requirements when using B2Bi Managed Services. The right partners can take your organization to the next level.
3. Future Business Trends in Your Industry
Am I integrated with my supply chain so I have speed-to-market advantages over my competition? In what areas can I improve?
Is my organization keeping metrics on supply-chain functions? Can I quantify and monitor these metrics?
Would moving to the cloud enhance my business operations and my ability to integrate with vendors? In what capacity?
Technology moves fast. By understanding collaborative technology trends, companies grant themselves the opportunity to adapt rather than react. Knowing future trends means measuring and predicting what might happen next in your industry and how those trends impact your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) technology as a whole.
For example, Neiman Marcus dropped its problem rate by over 10 points, improved its customer fulfillment process efficiency and increased sales by implementing an omni-channel strategy that provides visibility across various silos of inventory.
For a precise self-evaluation of your collaborative technology capabilities, take our collaborative technology scorecard, developed by our team in conjunction with the University of Tennessee.
About the Author
Founding member and executive at Dicentral, a global B2B integration company with over 20 years of solving complex supply chain integration problems. I am passionate about helping people in the retail, automotive and healthcare industries achieve revenue growth through a better understanding of the world of connected commerce. Frequently published, sought after speaker and host of “The Connected Show”, a video blog that connects our viewers to the people and news that influence today’s integrated supply chains.More Content by Peter Edlund