4 Types of Supply Chain Collaboration That Drive Efficiencies
- Cross-organizational collaboration is essential for a highly orchestrated supply chain
- Collaboration on purchase orders, capacity, forecasting and quality management helps increase efficiencies and resilience
- Supply chain collaboration software seamlessly integrates these areas
Supply chain collaboration has been around for years to some degree or another. It sounds good for companies to say they collaborate closely with suppliers and partners, but without the right tools, processes and organizational willpower to drive change, it’s difficult to achieve it in reality.
In the current economic climate, with supply networks stretching across the globe and growing in complexity to meet customer demands, supply chain collaboration needs to be real in order to ensure that material, information and finished goods flow freely from end to end.
Supply chain collaboration software is helping fill this gap by enabling collaboration at the most important linkage points: purchase order, capacity planning, forecasting and quality management.
1. Order management
Between submitting purchase orders and receiving a shipment, a lot can go wrong. Collaboration, through real-time communication and data sharing, enables enterprises to track manufacturing and order progress, granting them the much-needed visibility into orders and any issues with materials and shipments.
Buyers need ways to stay apprised of any potential delays, as well as the ability to work with multiple tiers of suppliers to monitor and resolve issues. By facilitating access to documentation and order data, supply chain collaboration platforms help create a single view for all parties.
2. Capacity planning
Tight collaboration on supplier capacity establishes a shared view of capacity and utilization that enables companies to identify underutilization as well as forecasts that exceed capacity.
Equipping suppliers and contract manufacturers with the ability to share capacity data improves orchestration in the supply chain and, through AI-powered recommendations, allows companies to determine the impact to their business of capacity shortfalls and identify the best course of action.
Forecasts can always be more accurate, and the way to improve them is by collaborating with suppliers to share the right data in real time. The ability to create and share forecast simulations of “what-if” scenarios help companies to anticipate disruptions.
Having data visibility with multiple tiers of suppliers gives enterprises better insights into demand for long-range planning and replenishment. By integrating supplier data to their forecasts, organizations can minimize the impact of market changes and proactively plan for exceptions.
4. Quality management
Quality issues with a supplier can be a hidden pitfall for companies, increasing their costs and creating operational headaches for supply chain managers. Collaboration software empowers teams to work with suppliers to monitor and resolve quality concerns together, before they cause bigger disruptions.
Streamlining quality management through a supply chain collaboration platform enables companies to work with their suppliers to achieve greater efficiencies, better supplier relationships and more consistent operations.
Business resilience through supply chain collaboration
These four areas aren’t the only ones where supply chain collaboration happens, or where it makes sense. Inventory and warehouse management, for example, also gains from real-time visibility and coordination, and internal collaboration between departments is today seen as vital for new product development.
Taking advantage of the four types of collaboration above, though, enables companies to share the right information with their suppliers and obtain the most accurate, up-to-date picture of their supply chain.
By facilitating these types of collaboration through advanced software platforms, enterprises can manage their supply chains more efficiently, strengthen their supply networks and develop the resilience they need to withstand shocks.